The mission of the Institute on Race and Ethnicity (IRE) is to seek racial and
ethnic justice in Arkansas by remembering and understanding the past,
informing and engaging the present, and shaping and deﬁning the future.
To make Arkansas the best state in the country for promoting and
celebrating racial and ethnic diversity.
Our Vision in Three Words:
INQUIRE REVEAL EMPOWER
Inquire - ask the tough questions which may make some uncomfortable
but are necessary for understanding the root causes of racial inequities.
Reveal - expose the truth and bring attention to the problem of racism
in a historical and contemporary context.
Empower - use solid research and data to inform decision making and
formulate public policy that will achieve more equitable outcomes.
The Institute on Race and Ethnicity is about changing the thinking and culture of UALR, Little Rock
and the state of Arkansas to one that embraces racial equality. This is reﬂected in the Institute’s new
vision statement, guiding principles, theory of change, and each of its six strategic goals.
Beginning in 2003, the UALR Institute of Government began conducting the annual Racial Attitudes
in Pulaski County Survey which laid the foundation for the university to take a leadership role in
confronting the race problem in central Arkansas. We will continue to engage UALR faculty, staﬀ, and
students in leveraging opportunities and resources to be successful in achieving the Institute on Race
and Ethnicity’s vision.
The Institute on Race and Ethnicity came into existence in July 2011 after several years of
conceptual planning by Chancellor Joel E. Anderson and members of the Chancellor’s Committee
on Race and Ethnicity.
For the foreseeable future, the Institute will involve itself with work that stacks up to three
fundamental tenets: meaningful, manageable, and measurable.
Meaningful - the Institute will engage in activities that have explicit purpose and whose
objectives closely align with its mission and demonstrates added value.
Manageable - the Institute will undertake work that maximizes its limited human and financial
resources to develop and execute efficient processes that produce outcomes at a consistent level
Measurable - the Institute will continually assess its effectiveness in realizing its mission and
vision through critical internal and external evaluation.
The strategic directions give a general overview of our priorities. The Institute’s internal work plan
includes speciﬁc tasks and activities that support our objectives in the six goal areas.
Additionally, the Institute will continue to build a case for long-term funding support, including the
creation of an endowment to sustain its operations to further the most important work in Arkansas.
The Institute of Race and Ethnicity ascribes to
the following core values to instruct and guide
• We maintain that there is no scientiﬁc evidence
proving one particular race of people is either
inferior or superior to another.
• We recognize that race at its core is a social
construct and therefore should never be used
alone to deﬁne a person’s or group’s total being
• Racism stems from ignorance and fear and has
existed since the earliest of civilizations.
• Racism narrowly deﬁned is when members of a
dominant group deem themselves superior to
other races and who have the means by which
to exercise oppressive power.
• America’s constitutional and governance
ideals were built upon a pluralistic democracy,
guaranteeing its citizens the rights to equal
opportunity and protection under the law.
• Given the country’s legacy of racial
discrimination and the resulting tensions that
still linger between blacks and whites especially
in the South, the Institute gives heightened
attention to race relations between these two
groups, but it is also committed to the growing
Latino population and other communities of
color in Arkansas.
• The Institute believes that the courageous
eﬀorts of Daisy Bates, attorney Christopher
Mercer, and the Little Rock Nine to end school
segregation in Arkansas was a deﬁning
moment for the Civil Rights Movement in the
state and the nation.
• The University of Arkansas Little Rock is
committed to modeling behaviors and
practices that honor racial diversity and
promote racial equity.
• UALR must prepare students to be able to
compete, communicate and think critically
about topics related to ethnicity and race in an
increasingly global and interconnected world.
• The enslavement of Africans in America has had
long-lasting negative eﬀects on blacks’ social,
economic, and political power as an ethnic group.
• The Institute believes that evidence-based
research can be a resource for problem solving
related to issues of race and racism.
• The Institute rejects the notion that America
has entered into a post-racial era with the
election of an African American president,
and to the contrary, continues to see racial
oppression as the greatest threat to the nation’s
health and well-being.
• The Institute accepts that it cannot tackle
racism in Arkansas alone, nor do we have all
the answers; thus, we commit to continued
learning about ourselves and our work.
• The Institute was created to lead change in
Arkansas by being a catalyst for racial justice
by facilitating dialogue and forging
• The Institute’s work is integral to UALR
accomplishing its goal to be One of the Top
Metropolitan Community-Engaged, Research
Universities among the Southern Regional
Education Board (SREB) by 2020.
Developed by Michael R. Twyman, Ph.D.
THEORY OF CHANGE
The Institute on Race and Ethnicity has adopted a psychosocial model to explain its Theory of
Change, with the premise that racism is a socially-constructed disease that begins in the mind, and
yet is treatable and curable. We believe that the antidote must embody both science and education
in order to transform unhealthy thinking and aid in the healing process. This approach assumes
that racism when classiﬁed as a social disease has some level of predisposition based on a number
of factors (value formation, parental/family inﬂuence, educational experience, home environment,
neighborhood, geographic origin, etc.); however, it by no means needs to be terminal.
Although there is disagreement in scholarly circles on a common deﬁnition of racism, it usually takes
on three basic forms: individual, systemic, and institutional. Racism in its purest form depends on
the ability to give or withhold social beneﬁts, services, facilities, opportunities, and other resources
from someone who is entitled to them, yet denied on the basis of race, color, or nat ional origin. The
exercise of power can be either legal or illegal, and is not limited to the traditional concepts of power.
The intent, be it conscious or unconscious, is strictly irrelevant; the focus is on the result of the
behavior. (Randall, 2006)
• Individual racism consists of overt and covert acts by individuals that might cause emotional or
mental trauma, injury, death, destruction of property or denial of services or opportunities.
• Institutional racism is often more subtle and involves policies, practices and procedures of
institutions that have a disproportionately negative eﬀect on racial minorities’ access to and quality
of goods, services, and opportunities.
• Systemic racism is the basis for how individual and institutional racism is played out, for it is the
value system that is embedded in a society that facilitates and supports racial discrimination.
Randall, V., Dying While Black, Dayton, OH: Seven Principles Press, 2006.
The Institute accepts that it must engage at all three levels to forge a social movement in Arkansas to
actualize racial justice. The evolutionary ﬁve-stage process outlined below encapsulates the Institute’s
Theory of Change.
Racism is pervasive and often insidious; its existence must be called out for what it is, even when
Because racism is a disease of the mind, it is important to understand how and to what extent it
manifests itself in individuals and institutions.
Fostering a culture of acceptance, fairness, and equality is the best remedy to erasing racial
stereotypes and assumptions.
Appropriate measurements must be instituted to determine the eﬀectiveness of interventions
aimed at attacking racist attitudes and behaviors.
Individuals and institutions must commit to ongoing self-evaluation of their racial prejudices
and racist actions.
Goals, Objectives, and Tactics
GOAL I - To foster sustained awareness of the issues of race and ethnicity.
While the idea of a “post-racial” society is bandied about, an increase in racial proﬁling and growing
disparities in income, health care, and education among blacks and Latinos continue to mount. The
election of President Barack Obama as the ﬁrst black U. S. president has in many ways intensiﬁed
underlying racial tensions. Some public policies and recent court decisions seem to have accepted
the position that racism is no longer an issue or reality in America. Furthermore, because of a
dramatic change in the country’s demographic composition where it is projected by 2042 ethnic
minorities will constitute a numeric majority, issues of race and ethnicity must be at the fore of any
IRE will remain vigilant in its commitment to raise awareness and consciousness about racism in
Arkansas and seek to do so in a variety of creative and innovative ways.
Conferences and symposiums
Workshop and seminar presentations
Historic celebration events
Facilitated community discussions
Media releases and appearances
GOAL II - To provide research-based information and informed policy recommendations on
issues of race and ethnicity.
UALR is classiﬁed by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and a community-engaged
university, which uniquely places it in a position to not only conduct and produce high quality
research but also to oﬀer it as a way to change and improve community conditions in Little Rock
and the state of Arkansas. Knowledge is power and it is our hope to unleash it in a responsible and
eﬀective manner that produces solutions. The Institute will continue to tap into the intellectual
capital and resources of the UALR faculty to further its work.
The aim here is to use research information and data to shape and reﬁne policies that address racial
disparities and inequities at the local and state level. The academy must forge partnerships and leverage
resources with government, private sector, nonproﬁts and local residents to achieve this objective.
Expanding the annual Racial Attitudes Conference’s scope and reach will be central to
accomplishing this objective. IRE will be expanding its portfolio in this area for greater impact.
GOAL III - To build bridges and seek reconciliation
through dialogue among people of different racial and
The sting of racial segregation, “Jim Crow,” and years of blatant racial discrimination remain in
the hearts and minds of an entire generation of U.S. residents. And although there has been
considerable progress in the ﬁght against racial oppression, some scars remain tender and slow
to heal. The Institute serves as a “neutral convener” to help facilitate and encourage meaningful
and healthy dialogue on and oﬀ campus about issues of race and racism. The Chancellor’s
Committee on Race and Ethnicity is an excellent example of bringing a diverse group together
regularly to discuss a variety of topics dealing with race and ethnicity in a civil and non-judgmental
atmosphere. A similar model is needed with other audiences both within the university and in the
community with external stakeholders.
Central Arkansas will remain the primary focus for this objective, but IRE will have a presence in
other communities in the state as appropriate and as opportunities present themselves.
Media Appearances (radio, television, and Internet)
GOAL IV - To provide formal study opportunities for students to learn about race and ethnicity
through courses, related projects, and independent scholarship.
UALR’s primary constituents are its students. As a metropolitan university in the state’s capital,
UALR attracts a diverse student population in terms of gender, age, socioeconomic status, race
and national origin. The campus will continue to have a signiﬁcant number of international
students representing a variety of ethnicities and beneﬁt from having such diversity constitute
the organizational culture. The Institute feels an obligation to integrate its work with student
opportunities to engage in scholarship, research, and service. The Institute is enriched by these
interactions, while students increase their understanding of race and the role it has and does play
particularly in American life, as well as in the state and local community.
IRE will work to expand opportunities in this area, including exploring the feasibility of establishing an
academic major in Race and Ethnic Studies or African American studies. Additionally, we will intensify
outreach eﬀorts to engage more K-12 students through programming and community initiatives.
Curricular/academic program oﬀerings
Service learning opportunities
Formal and informal discussion groups
GOAL V - To serve as an information clearinghouse for campus, community and statewide
initiatives and activities related to race and ethnicity.
The Institute on Race and Ethnicity understands the importance of partnerships and working across
sectors and academic disciplines in order to accomplish community goals. To that end, much of
the Institute’s attention goes toward promoting and supporting the good work of others to further
racial and ethnic justice. The Institute relies on its website and the university’s communications
department and staﬀ to assist in this endeavor. It also takes the lead in initiating and creating a
number of programs and activities that it publicizes and makes available for both internal and
external access and participation. Ideally, the Institute will distinguish itself as the “go-to” source for
information on issues related to race and racism in Arkansas.
Going forward, IRE will capitalize on information
technologies, particularly electronic and social media, to
maximize our eﬀectiveness in this area.
GOAL VI - To hold the University of Arkansas at Little Rock accountable for becoming a diverse,
multi-ethnic community characterized by an absence of institutional racism.
Unfortunately, racial inequities may manifest within institutions of higher education, oftentimes
unintentionally, and UALR is no exception to this potential vulnerability. However, with the current
leadership, deliberate eﬀorts have been made to ensure that UALR reﬂects ethnic diversity in every
aspect of its composition (student population, faculty, administration, governance, etc.) UALR has
the opportunity to be the change it would like to see in the world. It takes time and patience to
realize such a large vision, but the university has made the ﬁrst step by declaring it an institutional
priority. The university’s Diversity Council, International Student Services
Program, African American Male and Female Initiatives, and Hispanic/
Latino Initiative are a sampling of UALR’s strong commitment to leading
IRE will continue to be the primary catalyst and advocate for helping to
achieve this goal across the institution. In fact, this objective is critical to
the university’s 20,000 students by 2020 plan.
Small and large group discussions
Professional development and training
Workshops and presentations
“Our community will be strengthened. It will become
stronger, more robust, more vibrant and dynamic, both
economically and socially, as cultural and racial diversity
promotes and enhances the exchange of ideas.”
— Michael R. Twyman, Director
InspIre • reveal • empower
RACE AND ETHNICITY
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT LITTLE ROCK
2801 SOUTH UNIVERSITY AVENUE
LITTLE ROCK, AR 72204-1099
501.569.8932 • ualr.edu/race-ethnicity
UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity