AACRAO’s Caucuses underwent some recent leadership changes after their once-a-year convening at our Annual Meeting.
The Black Caucus
AACRAO’s Black Caucus supports professional development, networking, and the discussion of issues affecting black students and professionals throughout college and university communities. The Caucus engages in identifying solutions to issues surrounding access as well as examining ways to enhance and increase the representation of both black students and professionals within colleges and universities.
Formerly headed by Roslyn Perry, Bianca Thompson-Owen is now Black Caucus chair. If Bianca is a familiar name, that’s because she was temporary chair of the Women’s Caucus the past several months, helping lead the Caucus and provide a support network during a pandemic that was particularly difficult for women in higher education.
We had a chance to interview Ms. Thompson-Owen regarding her new position as chair of the Black Caucus, goals for 2021, and thoughts on advocacy.
“We are focusing on 3 points: Black Excellence, in which we will be pulling out and working with our members to develop this brand of scholarship and excellence to contribute to AACRAO. Another area that we will be working on is professionally developing our members to be taking on leadership roles. Whether it would be leadership roles within AACRAO, or whether it be leadership roles within their professional organizations, or just to professionalize themselves.
Something that we want to do and focus on is cross-collaboration across caucuses. There are a lot of issues that are going on now within the Asian and Pacific Islander community. What a phenomenal way to bridge the gap between two communities that are hurting. To start that collaboration and start those powerhouse sessions together, to start that healing process, they need support now more than ever.
This year we’re going to be focusing a lot more on advocacy as well. We’re going to continue to march forward with this advocacy standpoint. Moving the needle on social justice change does not happen within one year. It is a continuous process that we need to continue to move on and move forward with. So this year we will continue to push that needle towards social justice change. In doing that we hope to build that collaboration across caucuses.”
Bianca is currently at Rutgers School of Health Professionals as Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management & Student Success.
The Women’s Caucus
Founded in 2018, AACRAO’s Women’s Caucus supports professional development, networking, community building, and the discussion of issues specific to all women, including cisgender and transgender women, femmes, and nonbinary people throughout college and university communities.
Laura Remillard, the Associate Director of Graduate Admissions at Stanford University, is now chair of AACRAO’s Women’s Caucus. Laura has long been involved with the Women's Caucus and helped with developing programs like webinars that supported other women in higher education.
Laura has been a part of the AACRAO Women’s Caucus since before its inception, having been involved in the early conversations that led to establishing an AACRAO Women’s Caucus. Over the years there have been ups and downs in caucus recruitment, particularly in 2020, but after meeting with Bianca Thompson-Own last year, now head of the AACRAO Black Caucus, Ms. Remillard feels that the women’s caucus has been revitalized and is excited to “...bring new life into the caucus”.
Looking forward Ms. Remillard is passionate about creating a safe space for women to connect and discuss their accomplishments, challenges, and needs. Inequity in the workforce, especially relevant in light of the pandemic, is of particular importance to Ms. Remillard.
When asked about any particularly engaging webinars or initiatives Ms. Remillard suggested members explore the #Iamremarkable initiative from Google. This initiative seeks to empower women and other communities in celebrating their accomplishments. The Women’s Caucus is hosting a webinar on the topic on May 18 at 2 p.m. ET. Register today.
Both Caucuses, along with our four other ones, are open to all. Join today and find your support network.