This page will briefly explain how SER seeks to engage El Camino College faculty in equity-minded dialog and action planning and bring equity across the curriculum. 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. Defining Equity 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.  Using the work of Dr. Stella Mara Bensimon and USC’s Center for Urban Education,  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 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 Association of American Colleges and University’s Liberal Education & America’s Promise Learning communities are a curricular approach that links or clusters two or more courses that focus on an interdisciplinary theme or problem and are composed of a cohort of students. This curricular approach seeks to restructure a students’ time, credit, and learning experience to build a community that enhances learning and fosters connections among students, faculty, and disciplines.  Learning communities bring meaning and value to a student’s educational experience. What are the benefits of learning communities? They enable students to make “explicit connections between the skills and knowledge learned in the linked courses” and facilitate “intellectual interaction between faculty and students, and between students and students.” They provide for a “coherent interdisciplinary or cross subject experience that promotes a deeper type of learning than is possible in stand-alone courses.” They address retention an success through the support of  a community composed of faculty and students. Participating faculty in SER learning communities will incorporate the following Affective domain learning Educational neuroscience Threshold concepts and wicked problems design Service learning Community oriented signature research project Reading Apprenticeship Framework Equity-minded content design General Education redesign through an integrative and applied learning experience Click on the following links for more specifics on SER’s learning community pilot program: Learning Community Schematic  |  Learning Community Proposal
Student Equity Reenvisioned

The Model

Jason Suarez SER Faculty Coordinator
Wendy Lozano Student Services Specialist Student Equity