SIGNATURE INITIATIVE

Recovery with Equity

Defining strategies, policies, and practices to help California’s post-secondary institutions emerge from the pandemic stronger and better poised to serve all students. The Recovery with Equity Taskforce presents eleven actionable recommendations.
Higher education will play an important role in our state’s economic recovery from the pandemic—and in driving prosperity for California’s future.

Student success in higher education is critical to the health of our state and regional economies. Since the global pandemic struck, Californians and postsecondary institutions alike have been grappling with extraordinary challenges. And long before, it was clear that many California students faced significant structural barriers to earning a college degree. 

A stronger, more equitable future

In partnership with students and education leaders across the state, the Recovery with Equity Taskforce has recast today’s challenges as an opportunity to help California’s economy recover with a post-secondary ecosystem that is more equitable, resilient, coordinated, and aligned with the economic needs of the state.

Learn more about this vision—and the action and coordination it requires—in this blog post by Dr. Lande Ajose, Taskforce Chair and Senior Policy Advisor for Higher Education, Office of the Governor.

parallax background

The Taskforce believes California needs a recovery that courageously addresses inequities in post-secondary education that have created and exacerbated wealth gaps. California will thrive when we eliminate income inequality and disparities of credential and degree attainment by race and geography. 

What research uncovered

Recovery with Equity recommendations were informed by extensive research on post-secondary and workforce outcomes and experiences in California. The research included review of key findings from existing reports, original analyses of publicly available data, and interviews and focus groups with 196 stakeholders across California. Together, these findings emphasize the work needed to ensure that the opportunity for success and economic mobility is equitable and available to all.

Recommendations 

Grounded in the conviction that equity in higher education is essential to a stronger California for All, the Recovery with Equity Taskforce identified four guiding principles, each supported by a set of actionable recommendations for policy and practice. 

Fostering Inclusive Institutions

Institutional cultures and approaches to teaching and learning that work for all learners, especially those left behind.

1. Improve Faculty, Staff, and Administrator Diversity

2. Cultivate Inclusive, Engaging, and Equity-Oriented Learning Environments

3. Retain Students through Inclusive Supports

Streamlining Pathways to Degrees

Integrated statewide system for admission and transfer to provide clear, easy-to-navigate pathways to degrees.

4. Establish an Integrated Admissions Platform

5. Streamline and Unify the College Admission Process

6. Develop a Common Course Numbering System

Facilitating Student Transitions

High-touch, high-tech guidance and improved academic preparation for college access and success.

7. Provide High-Tech, High-Touch Advising

8. Support College Preparation and Early Credit

Simplifying Supports for Student Stability

Resources and structures packaged and simplified to help students meet basic, digital, and financial aid needs.

9. Integrate Platform of State Services for Students

10. Subsidize Internet Access for Eligible Students

11. Improve College Affordability

 

About the Taskforce

The Recovery with Equity Taskforce that developed these recommendations comprised California and national experts in higher education equity and innovation. It was established by Governor Gavin Newsom’s Senior Policy Advisor for Higher Education, Dr. Lande Ajose, in consultation with the Governor’s Council for Post-Secondary Education.

Lande Ajose

Lande Ajose
Taskforce Chair

Engagement and input invited

The Taskforce’s recommendations represent a call to Californians to take strong action that will require coordination and collaboration across segments, sectors, and within each region of our state. Your participation is valued and encouraged. Please contact us to share your feedback, questions, and ideas.


  • Michael Drake
    “California’s public higher education system has long served as an engine for economic vitality, innovation, and social mobility across the state. As we work together to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, we must ensure that we continue to expand access to our universities while improving affordability and excellence.”
    – Michael V. Drake, President, University of California
  • Joseph Castro
    “Consistent with our quest to continue improving educational outcomes at the California State University, and expanding access to a top-quality university education for students throughout California, I welcome the Taskforce’s recommendations, and commit to redoubling our efforts to ensure all students thrive despite the challenges faced during the pandemic. The Taskforce’s forward-thinking recommendations will ensure that the CSU prepares future generations of diverse leaders of all backgrounds who will lead and contribute to the Golden State’s recovery as well as its robust growth, benefitting all communities, in the years to come.”
    - Joseph I. Castro, Chancellor, California State University
  • Eloy Ortiz Oakley
    "This roadmap will put our education ecosystem on a trajectory to recover with the commitment and resolve needed to close opportunity gaps for students of color and educate the workforce that will fuel economic growth that lifts up all communities. The Governor's goals and Taskforce's recommendations complement the California Community Colleges Vision for Success, the system's strategic blueprint that puts student equity and achievement at the core of all our work. "
    — Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Chancellor, California Community Colleges
  • Kristen Soares
    “Post-pandemic recovery will be critical for all of California’s higher education sectors, and we must strengthen our collaborations for our students and communities. The private, nonprofit sector of California’s higher education system serves a public purpose and is dedicated to ensuring inclusive, streamlined pathways for student success.”
    — Kristen Soares, President, Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities
  • Tony Thurmond
    “California’s recovery must maintain a laser focus on closing equity and opportunity gaps experienced by communities who were already at an historic disadvantage and were hardest hit by the pandemic. That means all of our institutions and systems of education must be proactive and prioritize strategies—and reimagine structures—that level the playing field for all students. Collaboration between our K–12 and higher education systems will be essential to eliminating barriers and fostering the talent and success of all learners. The recommendations in this roadmap are not only ambitious, but actionable.”
    — Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Linda Darling Hammond
    “California benefits when all students can reach their full potential. The thoughtful recommendations in Recovery with Equity: A Roadmap for Higher Education After the Pandemic are aimed at the critical priorities of increasing student success while closing equity gaps and disparities in degree attainment. In building back from the pandemic, we should expand pathways and supports that accelerate success in K–12 and reduce barriers to postsecondary access and completion, including Linked Learning pathways and dual credit options that smooth transitions to our systems of higher education, and systems alignment that will create streamlined paths to students’ goals and will yield long term benefits to our state.”
    — Linda Darling-Hammond, President, California State Board of Education
  • "We are all stronger when equity gaps are closed and all Californians can develop their talents and fulfill their potential. California is home to the most high-quality, diverse workforce in the nation thanks, in part, to our systems of higher education. This roadmap charts a course for California, as we work to better position our state and workforce for the changing realities and demands of the future. I encourage all leaders in California's business community to review these recommendations, as we work together to build a stronger and more resilient state economy.”
    — Dee Dee Myers, Senior Advisor to the Governor and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)