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Week 4: Becoming An Equity-Minded Advisor

Dr. Melissa Yeung presents a model for equity-minded advising that can be applied to an advisor’s toolkit. This explores topics from an academic perspective to help provide a framework to understand how students of color navigate their education experiences and allows advisors to improve professional practice to provide a more positive experience for students.

When we center student voices and take their stories seriously, we empower ourselves to examine how our own practices may have contributed those experiences.  When we recognize that racism and racial microaggression is a norm for many students, it provides context for which students interact with campus resources such as advisors. We also begin to recognize that not all student experiences are equal, and that race and ethnicity have an influence over how students experience campus life.

Now that we have a glimpse of what equity-minded advising looks like, what else can be done? Continue to educate yourself on racial inequities in higher education. Continue to revise your own advising practices as you come across more information and knowledge. If you are in a supervisory or administrative position, consider how you can empower your own advisors to take further steps in becoming more equity-minded, suggest changes to policy manuals to improve the language used for students.

Our discussion in the past weeks are a much abbreviated version of equity-mindedness, I encourage you, as a practitioner, to review the resources on equity-mindedness below and think about how you can include the suggested practices in your professional practice.



Beers, M. (2020). Building an equity-minded campus culture. In T. B. McNair, E. M. Bensimon, & L. Malcom‐Piqueux (Eds.), From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Expanding practitioner knowlege for racial justice in higher education. file:///Users/claudiawittek/Desktop/culture_001.pdf

Bensimon, E. M. (2018). Reclaiming Racial Justice in Equity. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 50(3–4), 95–98.

Bensimon, E. M., Dowd, A. C., & Witham, K. (2016). Five Principles for Enacting Equity by Design. Diversity & Democracy, 19(1).

Co-Operation, O. for E., & Development. (n.d.). Ten Steps to Equity in Education.

Education, C. for U. (2015). Equity Minded Indicators. 5202.

Felix, E. R., Bensimon, E. M., Hanson, D., Gray, J., & Klingsmith, L. (2015). Developing Agency for Equity-Minded Change. New Directions for Community Colleges, Winter 201(172).

Malcom‐Piqueux, L. (2017). Taking Equity-Minded Action to Close Equity Gaps. Peer Review, 19(2).

McNair, T. B., Bensimon, E. M., & Malcom‐Piqueux, L. (2020). From Equity Talk to Equity Walk. From Equity Talk to Equity Walk, 1–18.

McNair, T. B., Ford, E. N., & Smith, J. G. (2020). Building the Racial Equity Ecosystem for Sustainable Change. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 52(2), 63–67.

Pendakur, V. (2020). Designing for Racial Equity in Student Affairs: Embedding Equity Frames Into Your Student Success Programs. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 52(2), 84–88.

Ramaley, J. (2014). Educating for a Changing World: The Importance of an Equity Mindset. Metropolitan Universities, 25(3), 5–15.

Watson, L. (2019). Equity Mindedness in Academic Advising.


Segregation in K-12 education:

Grant, G. (2009). Hope and despair in the American city: Why there are no bad schools in Raleigh. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Orfield, M. (2002). American metropolitics: The new suburban reality. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.

Rothstein, R. (2017). The color of law: A forgotten history of how our government segregated America. Liveright Publishing.

Ryan, J. E., & Ryan, J. E. (2010). Five miles away, a world apart: One city, two schools, and the story of educational opportunity in modern America. Oxford University Press.

Tough, P. (2008). Whatever it takes: Geoffrey Canada’s quest to change Harlem and America. Boston, MA: Mariner Books.


Dr. Melissa Yeung

About the author: Dr. Melissa Yeung, is currently the Clinical Education and Admissions Coordinator in the School of Physical Therapy at Bowling Green State University. Previously, she served as Pre-Health advisor at the University of Houston and Student Services Coordinator for the Department of Physical Therapy at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Yeung’s research centers on racial equity within the graduate and professional school admissions process. Her work focuses on the experiences of students of color as they aspire to graduate study, and how they navigate the graduate and professional school application process. Additionally, she explores how academic resources provided to students at the undergraduate level has an impact on their success in the graduate and professional school admissions process. Building on existing framework for equity-minded institutions, Dr. Yeung is also committed to the provision of a specific framework to help undergraduate advisors develop into equity-minded advising professionals. Dr. Yeung has professional experiences working with graduate students from STEM and health professions backgrounds, international students and student athletes. As Student Services Coordinator at Virginia Commonwealth University, Dr. Yeung was also heavily involved in various pipeline programs that encourage early interest in the field of physical therapy.

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