In the first webinar of a series on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), which was organized by the partnership of CAPPO (California Association of Public Procurement Officials) and the CollegeBuys program, Dr. Judith Estrada focused on the importance of DEI in higher education. Dr. Estrada is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for the Office of DEI & Interim Campus Diversity Officer at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
In her opening remarks, Dr. Estrada summarized the benefits of DEI in higher education: student success – creating spaces where students can learn and grow, an engaged workforce, higher productivity, and improved organizational representation. We learned that DEI’s application in higher education helps build a supportive and inclusive culture where everyone is represented, which is essential to solving critical educational problems, i.e. better student outcomes.
As the conversation between moderator Dr. Theresa Robinson Harris (University of San Diego) and Dr. Estrada progressed, we transitioned to how DEI applies to every department of an institution – including procurement and purchasing – and how we can each implement these principles ourselves. Dr. Estrada shared, “DEI should be at the core mission of every institution, particularly for public colleges and universities, where there is an institutionalized commitment to uplifting the well-being of the state and surrounding communities.” Her presentation included specific examples to help with supplier diversity:
- Access To Information: Minority owned businesses need access to information, and higher education institutions need to develop a strategy on how it’s going to meet where those communities are at currently.
- Creating Policies: There needs to be a policy in place that secures a set percentage designated for minority owned business. This will help set a standard in investing in a socially responsible way and guaranteeing opportunity for underserved communities.
- Provide Training & Workshops: Higher education institutions should provide workshops that help guide minority owned businesses to be successful in bidding and winning contracts with their institution. Many minority owned businesses have never done any work with higher education institutions so they may be unfamiliar with public rules and processes, or how to submit a competitive proposal.
- Portal for Vendors: It might be helpful to create a portal for vendors or minority-owned businesses to receive direct notification when there are opportunities for business.
- Developing Equity Councils: Establishing a council that is committed to bringing together all key leaders of organizations leaders, the business community and other partners to work collaboratively on empowering minority owned business. Not only will there be access for consistent engagement but also collaboration between minority owned businesses.
- Assessment: Institutions should be conducting evaluations and assessments particularly on its engagement and business with minority owned companies. For example, how many minority-owned businesses are within our jurisdiction or region? How many contracts did we provide to these companies? How many applications did we receive from minority owned companies?
- Transparency: Transparency is important when empowering DEI so institutions should consider publicly releasing a yearly report on minority owned business.
We appreciate Dr. Estrada’s dedication to sharing this important message and spending time with our community discussing it. To learn more about the presentation, the slides can be accessed here.
CAPPO & CollegeBuys invite you to join us at our next DEI session on August 10th, at 9am! You can register now on CAPPO’s website. In the second session of the DEI webinar series, we will learn about various contracting methods available through the State of California such as CMAS contracts, statewide contracts, food contracts, Master Agreements, Cooperative Agreements, Software Licensing Program contracts, and pharmaceutical contracts. The session will close with a focus on the Statewide Supplier Diversity Program. Remember, our California Community College purchasing colleagues are able to use the promo code “FCCCpartner” at checkout if they are not members of CAPPO, in order to register for free.