In 2009, CCA identified the completion crisis as a systematic failure of our higher-education system—pairing a strategic approach with a rallying cry in the name of millions of Black and Latinx students overlooked for too long. More than 10 years later, as our nation finally acknowledges racial inequities, educators are being recognized for the role they can—and must—play in ensuring economic and racial justice.

CCA’s “With Equity & Justice for All” virtual event used this moment as a catalyst to advance our shared mission. As you can see below, we shared a new data partnership with the National Student Clearinghouse, discussed the latest in Coreq Education, and highlighted the innovative work of our Alliance members. But most of our time was focused on conversations around Purpose, Momentum, Structure, and Support—the four pillars of our efforts to create more student-centered colleges that bolster graduation rates and combat longstanding inequities.

Our peers from CAEL, the National Governors Association, Strong Start to Finish, and many more teed up these discussions, then handed the microphone to attendants for questions and commentary on everything from policy to culture to strategies.

As an organization full of impatient reformers, we’ve never taken this work lightly. But the current threats posed to our students have literally put our cause in the headlines, and we must join together to champion solutions.

Please see below for recordings and other resources for the sessions during CCA’s 2020 Virtual Event, “With Equity & Justice for All.”


Monday 10/26

Introduction to New Strategy Framework


Equity is Everything: Opening Session with Estela Bensimon & Yolanda Watson Spiva

Achieving equity in higher education requires an honest and critical review of existing policies and practices to eliminate structural barriers. Dr. Bensimon leads a presentation entitled “De-Centering Whiteness in How We Think About and Design Reforms.” Drs. Bensimon and Watson Spiva discuss the elements essential for creating the conditions required to enact strategic interventions that respond to and ultimately eliminate institutional and system gaps.


Increasing Retention Rates by 900%?!: Rethinking What’s Possible with Larry Abele

Dr. Larry Abele, one of the nation’s foremost experts on student retention, shares with Dr. Yolanda Watson Spiva the strategies he has implemented and the lessons he has learned throughout his career that have yielded enviable retention results.

Tuesday 10/27

Promoting Equity through Purpose

Hear how institutions can better align their outreach with students’ goals and aspirations, all while creating more equitable outcomes.
Transcript (passcode: Equity&Justice2020)

Alliance Highlight: Purpose in New Hampshire

The Community College System of New Hampshire is working to refresh, reiterate and evolve its student success strategies in light of the challenges posed by COVID-19.


Tools for Change, Session 1 | Aligning Regional Impact to Meet the New Reality

California shares its unique approach to fostering connections and coordinating research across the Inland Empire, to advance completion and equity goals as a regional intermediary.

Wednesday 10/28

Advancing Equity through Momentum

Discuss how institutions can design multiple strategies such as corequisite support and credit for competency to increase momentum by opening more avenues for students, and particularly students of color and low-income students, to earn credits immediately.
Transcript (passcode: Equity&Justice2020)


Better Data, Better Decisions: The Postsecondary Data Partnership

Since its start, CCA has worked with alliance members and partners to use data to reflect an ever-changing reality when it comes to student success. Learn more about the next innovation in data that will be critical in creating policy and action to support our most vulnerable students.
Transcript (passcode: Equity&Justice2020)

Alliance Highlight: Momentum in Massachusetts

Massachusetts colleagues share how the Department of Higher Education has made racial equity their top policy and performance priority and discuss efforts to  dismantle barriers to success and work toward ensuring a just educational experience.

Tools for Change, Session 2 | How Change Happens: Stories, Trust, and Data-Driven Processes

Find out how the M7 Higher Education Regional Alliance of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is using numbers and storytelling to bolster trust and increase collaboration across the region.

Thursday 10/29

Building Equity through Structure

The pathways movement has too frequently left behind the most vulnerable students and the institutions that serve them. Experts dig into the importance of clear structures with guardrails that respect the complexity of students’ lives and cultural backgrounds.
Transcript (passcode: Equity&Justice2020)

Alliance Highlight: Structure in Indiana

Learn how to leverage the power of proactive advising with conversations that increase student success.


Tools for Change, Session 3 | Policy, Collaboration, and Implementation

Find out how Nevada leaders leveraged data to craft policies that drive student success, while scaling broader implementation of strategies across the state.

Friday 10/30

Achieving Equity through Support

Explore how higher education institutions and systems are taking a proactive, holistic approach to eliminating institutional performance gaps, through intentional advising & coaching, by ensuring students have equitable access to resources and support at their institution and within their community.
Transcript (passcode: Equity&Justice2020)

Alliance Highlight: Support in CUNY

Learn about the context in which the City University of New York found itself in the spring of 2020 in the wake of the pandemic and several initiatives they launched to support student success.


Related Reading


  • Introducing CCA’s New Strategy Pillars
    “As a learning organization, we have turned the mirror on ourselves and asked some important questions: Have the Game Changers truly changed the game? Who is in the game and which students remain on the bench?”
    -Dhanfu Elston, Ph.D.
    Chief of Staff & Senior Vice President for Strategy, Complete College America


  • Promoting Equity Through Purpose
    “If we don’t intentionally work with students to define their purpose, we’ll see reductions in student enrollment that exacerbate inequities…”
    -Nikolas Huot, M.A
    Strategy Director, Complete College America


  • Advancing Equity Through Momentum
    “Working towards justice means changing our institutions so that students experience college in ways that accept them where they are and push them to excel through graduation.”
    -Brandon Protas, Ed.D.
    Strategy Director, Complete College America


  • Building Equity Through Structure
    “Simply removing obstacles doesn’t guarantee equitable outcomes. To eliminate institutional performance gaps, schools must create new structures or dramatically modify existing structures.”
    -Nikolas Huot, M.A.
    Strategy Director, Complete College America


  • Achieving Equity Through Support
    “As higher education leaders, we cannot continue to have conversations about student success or equitable outcomes without considering what students are experiencing beyond campus.”
    -Melanie Harris, M.Ed.
    Strategy Director, Complete College America


  • Better Data, Better Decisions: The Postsecondary Data Partnership
    “You cannot manage what you do not measure. Whether you are a leader at an institution, state or accrediting body, the PDP will assemble, roll-up, drill-down and benchmark data to meet your needs.”
    -Charles Ansell, M.S.
    Vice President for Research, Policy and Advocacy, Complete College America