Strategic Planning to Advance Equity on Campus: A Case Study at Portland State University


  • Marisa Zapata Portland State University
  • Stephen Percy Portland State University
  • Sona Karentz Andrews Portland State University



Justice, Empowerment, Equity Lens, Unity


Propelled by many factors, including a newly appointed Board of Trustees responsible for governance of our university, resource shortages, and enrollment swings, Portland State University embarked on a strategic planning effort in 2014 with the intent of reunifying a divided campus and creating a bold vision for moving forward in the next five years. While committed from the start to goals of diversity and inclusion, the planning process itself generated greater awareness of and commitment to equity—a bolder vision of empowerment that creates a responsibility to understand and mitigate negative, but often unintended consequences of, campus decisions and action—particularly as they impact groups that have experienced institutional racism and injustice. Equity emerged not only as a goal, with intendant initiatives for action, but also as a commitment to conscientious ongoing attention to decision-making that embraces utilization of an equity lens.

Author Biographies

Marisa Zapata, Portland State University

Assistant Professor of Land-use Planning

Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning

Stephen Percy, Portland State University

Dean of the College of Public Affairs

Professor of Political Science