Center for Urban Education hosts Student Equity Plan Institute
Help colleges take meaningful steps toward equity for California students
By Emily Ogle
The Center for Urban Education hosted over 170 individuals from 20 California Community Colleges at the 2015 Student Equity Plan Institute. The two-day institute, co-sponsored by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, was an unprecedented success and played an important role in helping colleges take meaningful steps toward equity for California students.
The institute, which sold out of the original 15 slots in just two days, had to be expanded to include 20 institutions due to demand. Teams of up to 10 people from each of the participating colleges attended with the express purpose of better understanding, and then writing, their Student Equity Plan, which are due in December 2015.
“We believe, given the centrality of California’s community colleges in the higher education landscape, the Student Equity Plans can and must make a difference to close equity gaps.”
—CUE co-directors Alicia C. Dowd and Estela Mara Bensimon
CUE’s Senior Project Specialist Debbie Hanson helped to expand the data section of the Student Equity Plan template and advocated for a data model that looked at the success rate percentage point gaps—which allow campuses to translate gaps into “number of students impacted” and better comprehend the gap’s magnitude and the actions needed to close it.
“The purpose of the institute is to provide the space, structure and tools to catalyze your energy for authentic engagement with peers,” CUE co-directors Alicia C. Dowd and Estela Mara Bensimon wrote in a letter to institute participants. “We believe, given the centrality of California’s community colleges in the higher education landscape, the Student Equity Plans can and must make a difference to close equity gaps.”
The colleges in attendance had access not only to CUE’s expertise and the carefully crafted content and sessions, but they had a dedicated CUE facilitator working with them during breakout sessions. Prior to the event, CUE co-directors, researchers, staff and students immersed themselves in the highly detailed requirements of the Student Equity Plan and reviewed each campus’s equity plan from last year. These efforts ensured that the teams had the highest level of critical equity-minded support. “So much thought and preparation was put into the workbooks/activities and facilitation as a whole,” wrote one participant in an anonymous evaluation.
By bringing practitioners together, providing them with the tools and support to address issues of equity, the Center for Urban Education is taking a hands-on approach to not only ensuring student equity, but in supporting the important work of California community colleges.
You can view images of the institute on Flickr.
Emily Ogle is Operations and Communications Manager for the Center for Urban Education.