The New England Equity and Engagement Consortium (N3EC) is a broad group of faculty and staff from 2- and 4-year public and private higher education institutions working together with community organizations and students to advance anti-racist community-engaged teaching research, and practices across New England.
We collaborate to ensure accountability and that our institutional policies, practices, and structures support ethically-grounded community engagement.
In doing so, we endeavor to strengthen the broader national field of equitable and just civic and community engagement work.
N3EC is comprised of project-based working groups that advance initiatives aligned with our mission. The N3EC Steering Committee meets monthly to support working group efforts, share best practices in anti-racist community-engaged work, and explore ways to build this work for the future.
Examples of our mission in practice:
- Curriculum development
- Professional development workshops
- Collaborative research projects
- External grant-funded initiatives
- Edited volumes
To serve all members of our society, colleges and universities must put equity at the center of their work, not just as a desired outcome but as an integral part of the process of education — or, how we do what we do. To serve their public purposes, higher education institutions must commit deeply to civic and community engagement across the institution. The N3EC aims to develop and create opportunities to share policies and practices that facilitate this work.
The projects we support are driven by this mission, and we take a multi-pronged approach to addressing our aims through a variety of interventions. For example, we have focused on changing faculty reward systems to support community-engaged research, recognizing that our faculty reward systems — including promotion, tenure, long-term contracts for non-tenure-track faculty, and post-tenure review — shape who we attract, support, and retain as faculty. We have also developed principles for anti-racist community-engaged teaching, with the goal of ensuring that community-engaged practices at our colleges and universities do not uphold white supremacy or the colonial practices behind “service-learning” models. Through symposia, articles, and books aimed to both disseminate our work and cultivate a broader community of practitioners locally, regionally, and nationally, the N3EC works to ensure that our higher education institutions more fully realize their promise as a public good.
History of the N3EC
In 2018, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) announced that racial equity would be its highest priority for Massachusetts public higher education and began to shape its Equity Agenda to carry that priority into all its work with public institutions. Grant opportunities for the public campuses were structured around the Equity Agenda, and in 2019 community-engaged faculty and staff from three Massachusetts state universities (Salem State, Fitchburg State, and Worcester State) formed the Equity and Engagement Consortium (EEC) to propose and implement the first of what became three grant-funded, large scale, inter-institutional projects over four years. The purpose of the EEC is to continue advancing anti-racist community-engaged research and teaching within and across Massachusetts institutions of higher education. Now renamed the New England Equity and Engagement Consortium (N3EC), consortium founders along with new partners continue collaborating to support this work at individual campuses and statewide levels. N3EC has also enjoyed productive collaboration with Campus Compact at the national level.