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June 6, 2021

Dear NCORE Participants,

 On behalf of the University of Oklahoma, I am thrilled to welcome you to the 33rd annual National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education. NCORE, hosted by OU’s Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies, plays an important part in supporting our university’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice in higher education. NCORE provides opportunities for scholars, practitioners, and leaders working on critical issues of racial equity, indigenous sovereignty, and their intersection with higher education to gather from across our nation, territories, and the world as they learn and share with each other.   

This past year has been understandably exhausting for many of us. On top of weathering a global pandemic, we have witnessed an ongoing prevalence of injustice, racism, and systemic inequality across the nation. While we have made progress toward building a more welcoming and inclusive society, we know there is still much more work to be done.   

Going forward, we have an opportunity to stand together for the sake of our communities and each other as we continue striving toward a future that is inclusive and welcoming for all. We must prioritize this work to enact change and acknowledge where our responsibilities lie in addressing injustice in all sectors of our society as a beacon of hope and understanding. NCORE is an excellent place for you and your colleagues to learn, network, find collaborative partners, and bring important education back to your institutions to benefit your campuses and other organizations. 

Whether you have attended NCORE in the past or if you’re attending for the first time, my hope is that this conference strengthens your professional connections and reaffirms your commitment to fostering a culture of belonging where diversity, equity, and inclusion are a priority. May you continue the important work to make higher education truly inclusive for students, staff, and administrators at your institutions for years to come.

Joseph Harroz, Jr.
The University of Oklahoma

Dear NCORE Participants,

For over thirty years, the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) has worked to build a vibrant community committed to understanding and addressing issues of social justice, racial and sovereign equity. The conference also provides guidance and support for higher education institutions in their efforts to create more diverse, accessible, inclusive and equitable campuses. Our work together has become one of the most important, comprehensive, ongoing, authentic dialogues on race and inclusion in America.

Due to ongoing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, we won’t provide a face-to-face conference, but we welcome you to our 2nd virtual NCORE. This will be a highly engaging and quality virtual experience. We have planned virtual pre-conferences, concurrent sessions, poster sessions, informal conversations with community leaders, and renowned keynote speakers. We shall also have a virtual exhibit area for interested vendors and sponsors. 

The Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies (SWCHRS) is a social justice department established in 1961 at the University of Oklahoma to address emerging racial issues in Oklahoma ranging from school desegregation to police/community relations. The SWCHRS has a proud and storied history of engaging communities in Oklahoma, the surrounding region, the nation, and now the world to address important human and social justice issues. As NCORE was being birthed on the campus of the University of Oklahoma in 1988, the SWCHRS leadership quickly recognized that these issues were not unique to our campus and thus begin the outreach, for now, over three decades to other Institutions of Higher Education. Through the SWCHRS, common needs were identified amongst the higher education community including tools for professional learning, assessment, leadership development, and technical assistance as well as research on promises practices and sound pedagogy, to address diversity and equity issues on their campuses. 

As we peruse the national landscape, it is clear the vital social justice work fostered and supported by our conference is still urgently needed. We will continue the challenge of addressing systemic racism that exists in all of our institutions and to work collaboratively to bring about the deep policy, practice, and systems changes that are so urgently needed. By joining us this year, you have become part of this growing legacy. Your collective energy is a catalyst to transform U.S. Institutions of Higher Education systems and all the institutions in our country. 

As social forces drive communities and citizens apart, we must increase our focus, passion, and energy on the movement we are building to bring people across the brilliant and vibrant diversity of our social differences together. We must be creative and work together, to face the challenges around us, and to ensure systemic racism is uprooted.

So, welcome to this, NCORE 2021. We hope you get inspired and empowered to continue in this transformative work of social justice. 


Belinda, Biscoe, Ph.D., Senior Associate Vice President for Outreach/College of Continuing Education

Jane Irungu, Ph.D., Associate Provost of Inclusive Excellence, Office of the Provost & Executive Director,
Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies, Outreach/College of Continuing Education

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