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Equity Exploratory Committee Charge 
Natalie Beach, Board Chair 
December 10, 2019
The Alliance’s new vision statement is “The Orbis Cascade Alliance, an exemplary academic library consortium, is a vital partner in advancing transformative learning and research and creating equity in higher education.” (https://www.orbiscascade.org/2019-2024-strategic-plan/ (accessed 17 August 2019))

As part of its commitment to building and sustaining this vision, the Alliance will create an exploratory committee charged to foster a shared understanding among Council, Alliance staff, and member institutions of the national conversation about equity in higher education, and to promote clarity regarding opportunities for the Alliance in that conversation. The working assumption of this charge is that equity in higher education is framed within diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). 


The Equity Exploratory Committee is comprised of eight members appointed by the Orbis Cascade Alliance Board from a slate of interested volunteers: a chair, chair-elect, and six members-at-large. The membership should include three Orbis Cascade Alliance Council members, three staff members from different member institutions, and two members of the Orbis Cascade Alliance staff (one of whom is the Executive Director.) The Executive Director will serve as an ex officio member of the group with all the rights and obligations of the group, including the right to discuss, debate, make decisions, and vote. Intentional membership development will ensure representation from different types of libraries, different specializations, and different generations. All members will serve two-year terms, with initial staggered terms for the chair and chair-elect. The Committee will meet at least twice per year synchronously; additional conference calls and/or e-meetings will be conducted as needed. 

Purpose of the Committee 

  • Promote a shared understanding among Council, Alliance staff, and our collaborative workforce of key terms, concepts and goals related to the Alliance vision for equity in higher education; 

  • Identify ways in which the Alliance currently partners, and in the future can deepen partnerships, to advance equity in higher education; 

  • Identify resources, tasks, venues, mechanisms, etc. to more fully realize the Alliance vision statement related to equity; 

  • Maintain awareness of relevant trends and developments related to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in higher education, and recommend Alliance alignment with emerging practices as appropriate; and
  • Recommend actions to the Board and Council that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Initial actions of the Committee include 1) assessing the knowledge base of committee members and requesting professional consultation to strengthen and amplify that knowledge base; 2) conducting research to provide foundational data and information for the development of recommended strategies, activities, and metrics. More specifically: 

  • Conduct an environmental scan to see how other academic consortia, including academic library consortia, are supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion; and 

  • Identify Alliance work already in progress that supports the vision statement and its emphasis on equity in higher education, including how Alliance programs, practices, and policies support library users across the consortium and how the Alliance is building a holistic environment that nurtures and reflects the diversity of our staff and the communities they serve. 

Ongoing tasks of the Committee include assessing member needs and offering strategy and activity recommendations to the Board and Council. Based on Council feedback, the Committee will coordinate the implementation of measurable activities to benefit the membership, assess the effectiveness of the activities, and offer suggestions for future improvements. 

Key Performance Indicators 

  • Working definitions of key concepts are developed with professional consultation enabling Alliance staff, leadership, and Council to arrive at a shared understanding of terminology relevant to diversity, equity, and inclusion by end of July 2020. 

  • The diversity, equity and inclusion work of other academic library consortia peers is shared with Alliance members by November 2020, with annual updates following through FY 2023. 

  • Alliance work currently in progress that supports the vision statement and equity in higher education is made visible internally and externally by November 2020, with annual updates through FY 2023. 

An additional Key Performance Indicator is suggested in recognition of the fact that a wide range of diversity, equity, and inclusion metrics are used in academic scholarship and by governments and NGOs. 

  • Recognized metrics relevant to tracking consortial efforts to address inequity, diversity, and inclusion are identified and shared with Alliance staff, leadership, and Council in November 2020; clear action plans to track select metrics are developed and shared with Alliance staff, leadership and Council in March 2021; activity under the action plans begins in July 2021 and continues through FY 2023, with annual updates. 

Prepared by Sarah Watstein (SU) and Greg Mullins (Evergreen)