Dear AALHE community,

As you are aware, we were originally going to be in New Orleans next week for our annual conference. New Orleans, like many places, is vibrant and has a rich culture and history that not everyone will know. We may remember the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the pictures, videos, and stories of a badly damaged city. We may not remember or perhaps never learned about the Native peoples who lived in the area before Europeans arrived and before the land was colonized and renamed. As we saw with colonization and what natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina vividly bring to light, human-made systems disproportionately impact different groups. 

We have recently seen the egregious failure of a system intended to protect all in the heartbreaking video of the unnecessary death of George Floyd.  We have also seen evidence of systems intended to benefit some, but not all, people—and often at the great expense of others.  The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color is an indictment of the disparities in our society.  The deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others are the results of systemic racism and privilege. 

AALHE stands firmly opposed to all instances of racism and racial violence.  Our organizational values statement explicitly states that we value Social Justice, operationalized as “building intentional assessment systems that affirm all learners and assuring that these systems value the wisdom and ways of knowing of individuals and communities, especially those that have been historically devalued.”  AALHE also values Critical Reflection, including “welcoming diverse perspectives and honest, open dialogue.”  Simply put, doing the hard work of building systems that truly affirm and value all requires us to welcome and ensure the inclusion of diverse perspectives.  AALHE commits to supporting a diverse membership, as well as to work in tandem with others to increase the diversity of the assessment profession.  We must also embrace honest, potentially uncomfortable, reflection, as an organization, as a profession, and as a community of educators. 

Even more, we are ready to acknowledge that building affirming systems means working to dismantle those that maintain structures of White privilege.  We invite everyone to join the AALHE Board in this journey of critical reflection on how to more equitably serve our members and, ultimately, our students.  Please help us to support the building of equitable systems in higher education by continuing a dialogue with AALHE. Please use whatever mode of conversation works best for you including, but certainly not limited to, emails, Slack channels, and our upcoming conference where both keynote addresses will focus on diversity and equity in assessment. 

We look forward to hearing from you. 

The AALHE Board of Directors
Email: [email protected]