Student Equity Reenvisioned Model
A Community of Practice
After careful consideration by SER, it was clear that Etienne Wenger's community of practice model was the logical choice for bringing faculty together to engage in equity dialog, instructional design and action planning. Why? Communities of practice are "groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly," Thus, unlike traditional workshop designs which focus on conversion or training to attain results, "communities of practice aim to bring out the community's own internal direction, character and energy" to achieve results. Since SER is a faculty driven initiative, it was important that faculty shape its direction and outcomes.
Thus was born SER's equity across the curriculum community of practice. SER's community of practice first met on February 19, 2016. Click on the following link for the agenda and materials distributed: Seminars
SER's aim is that the initial participants of this inter-division community of practice will then create communities of practice at the divisional level to engage additional faculty in student equity dialog. Only then will equity across the curriculum will become a possibility.
Next, SER faculty arrived at a consistent definition of what equity means. El Camino College is an open access institution. All student enrolled at El Camino College have equal access. Equity, in contrast, is ensuring that once enrolled students should achieve equal educational outcomes. Thus the focus of SER is equal educational outcomes in the classroom.
A Paradigm Shift
When addressing student equity plans, traditional institutional practices tend to focus more on bolstering college-readiness curriculum (ESL, developmental and basic skills), effectively coordinating and integrating key student and learning support services. Historically, this approach has perceived student characteristics as the primary cause of differences in educational outcomes. Consequently, faculty tendencies are to refer students to these services without necessarily inquiring whether any practices in their classrooms might be contributing to equity gaps.
SER faculty will reframe equity through organizational learning theory. This framework encourages faculty to reflect on their teaching methods, their views on how students learn, their assignment design and their content delivery and to assess how these factors may also be contributing to the equity gap.
SER seeks to bridge these two differed approached to student equity.
SER Equity-Minded Inquiry and Framework
The SER equity-minded framework, the process SER faculty will use to address inequities in their classes, has two components to it.
- First, seeing patterns of inequity in our institution, divisions and classrooms through the examination of disaggregated course completion data.
- Second, building an equity-minded community of practice where equity inquiry and action planning can take place based on disaggregated course completion data.
SER's Equity-Minded Learning Community Pilot Program
All the frameworks subscribed to by SER have come together in a pilot learning community program that has been initiated by the Behavioral and Social Sciences Division. Along with the frameworks described above, this learning community model has drawn inspiration and guidance from the following:
- California State University's Give Students a Compass
- California Community Colleges Success Network's Threshold Project
- University of Southern California's Center of Urban Education
Click on the following links for more specifics on SER's learning community pilot program: Learning Community Schematic | Learning Community Proposal