The Center for Urban Education:

Achieving racial equity by partnering with educational systems to change policies and practices 


Since its founding in 1999, the USC Rossier Center for Urban Education (CUE) has worked to bring equity-mindedness to institutions of higher education through socially conscious research, tools and learning institutes. CUE empowers practitioners to act as agents of change, enabling them to be critically race conscious as they respond to changing demographics in our educational systems.


CUE helps faculty, administrators and other college and university staff better under-stand the harmful effects of invisible forms of racism on their campuses. CUE’s primary projects include:


  • Throughout the year, CUE convenes institutes for practitioners on equity in faculty hiring, student success, pedagogical practices, leadership and policy development. CUE has convened institutes for researchers on critical action research, critical quantitative research methods and critical policy analysis, as well as change labs focused on racial equity in STEM. Attracting participants from across the country, the institutes are helping countless education professionals become more equity-minded, creating ongoing ripples of positive effects on campuses nationwide.


  • CUE pioneered the Equity Scorecard, a five-phase institutional transformation intervention to achieve racial equity in access, retention and degree attainment. Both a process and a data tool, the Equity Scorecard combines a theoretical framework with practical strategies meant to initiate institutional change that will lead to equitable outcomes for minoritized students. The process engages leaders, faculty and staff to examine campus data, practices and policies through the lens of the Scorecard to better understand and correct entrenched racial equity issues.


  • CUE partners with state education systems to embed equity in policy design and implementation, fostering better outcomes for racially minoritized students.


The Center for Urban Education developed the framework for equity-minded practice and policy that has been adopted by foundations, associations and institutions of higher education nationally. CUE has helped hundreds of practitioners and institutions become equity-minded by teaching them to effectively question their own assumptions, recognize racial stereotypes that harm student success and continually reassess their practices to create change.

CUE created the Percentage Point Gap formula to calculate racial equity goals — a formula that has been adopted by California’s Community College Chancellor. CUE’s Equity Scorecard, meanwhile, has been used by over 100 educational institutions, including 43 in California, as well as the Wisconsin and Pennsylvania state university systems, the US Coast Guard Academy, and many others. To date, over 60 California institutions of higher education have participated in CUE’s ongoing equity-mindedness institutes.