Fostering Equity and Student Success in Higher Education

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1 Fostering Equity and Student Success in Higher Education Laura I Rendón Professor Emerita University of Texas-San Antonio Presentation at NTCC 22 nd Annual Fall Leadership Conference Gainsesville, TX September 16, 2016

2 A Journey of Transitions How I Enter This Work Student Success is the Equity Issue for Higher Education

3 Role of Community Colleges ACCESS: Community colleges account for approximately 45% of all enrollments in American higher education. Arizona, California and Texas will experience rapid growth in high school graduates. These states will depend heavily on community colleges to serve these students. States with highest levels of student participation include: California 63% enrolled at 2-yr colleges Arizona 60% Illinois 53% Texas 50% National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education (2011)

4 Who Attends Community Colleges? Community college students come from a broad range of backgrounds. All U.S. Undergraduates 46% First-generation 53% Single parents 56% Veterans 48% Students with Disabilities 51% Source: AACC s analysis of Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) fall 2013 enrollment data and National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS: 12) data computed using PowerStats data tools, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.

5 Fall 2014 Representation of Community College Students Among Undergraduates First-time freshman 41% Native American 62% Hispanic 57% Asian/Pacific Islander 43% 62% receive Federal aid; 72% receive some form of aid Source: AACC et.aspx

6 Role of Community Colleges STUDENT SUCCESS: Remediation and Acceleration Improve student certificate and associate degree completion in timely fashion. Latinos lag behind Whites, African Americans and Asians in terms of earning certificates, associate degrees and bachelor s degrees. Address transfer to four-year colleges. In 2012 only 15% of students who started at a two-year college completed a degree at a four-year college within six years (National Student Clearinghouse, 2012)

7 A Broken System of Structural Inequalities Works Against Low- Income Students History of exclusion, discrimination, racism Unequal schooling Unequal school financing Segregated schools Poverty & income inequality Undocumented status

8 Working With Underserved Student Populations Three Key Messages 1. Engage Faculty and Staff in Actively Validating and Supporting Students 2. Work With Asset-Based Student Success Framework 3. Engage In Innovations that Result In High- Impact Practices and Deep Learning Experiences

9 THE IMPORTANCE OF VALIDATING STUDENTS

10 Gallup-Purdue Index Report (2014) The Importance of Validation

11 2014 Gallup-Purdue Index Report Study of more than 30,000 college graduates across the U.S. to determine if the experiences they had in college promoted gains in the workplace and in their well-being. Key Findings: If graduates had a professor who cared about them as a person, made them excited about learning and encouraged them to pursue their dreams, their odds of being engaged at work more than doubled, as did their odds of thriving in their well-being. If graduates had an internship or job where they were able to apply what they were learning in the classroom, were actively involved in extracurricular activities and organizations, and worked on projects that took a semester or more to complete, their odds of being engaged at work also doubled (p.6). Validation, support and deep learning experiences matter!

12 Validation Theory: Affirming Students Validation is an enabling, confirming and supportive process initiated by in- and out-of-class agents that fosters academic and personal development (Rendón, 1994) There are two forms of validation: Academic -- when in- and out-of-class agents take action to assist students to trust their innate capacity to learn and to acquire confidence in being a college student Interpersonal -- when in- and out-of-class agents take action to foster students personal development and social adjustment

13 Students Want to Know I matter. I am capable of being successful Somebody cares about me. I am a capable learner. I can be a valuable member of this college community. What I bring to the college classroom is as valuable as what others think and know (student voice). The curriculum reflects who I am (inclusive curriculum). What it takes to get into and complete college a clear pathway toward goal achievement.

14 THE IMPORTANCE OF WORKING WITH AN ASSET- BASED STUDENT SUCCESS FRAMEWORK

15 TG Philanthropy Study at UTSA PURPOSE To illuminate the positive and negative aspects of the college experience of students. To identify cultural assets employ to become survivors and move past obstacles. METHOD Focus groups, N=47 One-on-one videotaped interviews, N=6 29 Females; 18 males

16 Upside of College New Friends Interactions with Diverse Students Exciting Moments New Perspectives New Experiences

17 The Downside of College: Choque/Cultural Collision Liminality Separation Anxiety Choque Dislocation/Relocation Microaggressions

18 Entre Mundos: Navigating the Transition to College Liminality Native Country Family Peers Dislocation Choque Separation Anxiety College World Challenges Affordability Barrio y Community Relocation Microaggressions Advising Issues Spiritual Work College Readiness

19 What Matters for Men of Color Source: CCCSE, 2014 Personal connections sense of belonging and someone who believes in them (validation) High Expectations and to know faculty and staff believe students can reach them. Instructor Qualities showing a genuine interest in students and the subject matter Engagement hands on learning and applied learning, validating faculty who care and are helpful plus study group learning Diversity and Cultural Competence seeing faculty who look like them, learning from different cultures. Faculty who are familiar with students from different cultures.

20 Debunking Deficit-Based Perspectives What cultural tools do students employ to succeed in college? Ventajas (Assets) Conocimientos (Funds of Knowledge)

21 Tara Yosso s Community Cultural Wealth Model Navigational Capital Cultural Capital Resistant Capital Social Capital Linguistic Capital Familial Capital Community Cultural Wealth Aspirational Capital

22 Student Cultural Wealth Aspirational Set high aspirations Recognize value of education Remain hopeful about future Linguistic Employ two or more languages Engage with formal and informal modes of expression

23 Student Cultural Wealth Familial Model strength & determination of family Benefit from consejos, respeto, testimonios y educacion Social Form peer networks Form study groups Peer validation

24 Student Cultural Wealth Navigational Operate in liminal spaces Traverse multiple, distinct social contexts Dislocate and relocate Adapt to new culture Resistant Resist stereotypes; combat and overcome microaggressions Overcome hardships such as poverty and lack of guidance and resources

25 Student Cultural Wealth Ganas/ Perseverance Develop inner strength; determination to succeed Recognize and embrace sacrifice made to attend college Ethnic Consciousness/ Giving Back Proud of Latino heritage and being in HSI/Prove Latinos can do it Recognize microaggressions & inequities Want to complete college because they recognize others have paved way for their success Know they can be role models

26 Student Cultural Wealth Spirituality/ Faith Employ faith in God/higher power Develop sense of meaning and purpose Embrace concepts such as gratitude, goodness and compassion Pluriversal Adapt and operate in multiple worlds and diverse educational and geographical contexts Hold multiple and competing systems of meaning in tension Ability to work with contradictions

27 Case Study of Sylvia, A Community College Transfer Student Gen 1.5 student (first 7 school years in Mexico) Born in Juarez, Mexico Previously undocumented Married, no children First-generation, low-income No models of college graduates in family

28 Case Study of Sylvia, A Community College Transfer Student Fourth-year student at university Graduated in top 10% of high school class Transfer student attended two community colleges before enrolling in four-year university Associate of Arts (emphasis in Math & Physics) Now majoring in Mechanical Engineering Planning graduate work in Chemical Engineering

29

30 THE IMPORTANCE OF WORKING WITH HIGH- IMPACT PRACTICES & DEEP LEARNING EXPERIENCES

31 High-Impact Practices In Community Colleges Orientation Accelerated or fast-track developmental education First-year experience Student success course (time management, study skills, test-taking skills) Learning community Academic goal setting and planning Experiential learning beyond the classroom (internships, apprenticeships, fields experiences, clinical assignments, community-based projects) Source: Center for Community College Engagement, 2014

32 High-Impact Practices Experiential and deep learning internships, applied learning, active involvement in extracurricular activities and organizations, working on projects that take a semester of more to complete Validation emotional support that a professor cares and encourages and helps students get excited about learning Ethnic-Themed Learning Communities: PUENTE (Spanish word meaning bridge) Project in California & Texas (primarily UMOJA (Kiswahili word meaning unity) learning community College of San Mateo (primarily African American) MANA (Austronesian word meaning power, effectiveness & prestige) learning community College of San Mateo (primarily Pacific Islanders) UJIMA (Swahili word meaning collective work and responsibility). Learning community at Pasadena City College, CA (primarily African American) Service-Learning Courses Capstone Courses Research with a Faculty Member Sources: AAC&U (2013); Gallup-Purdue Index Report (2014)

33 Recommendations Be informed and stay current on demographic and market changes. At least once per semester, request a report on current demographic and market trends in your community. What are the key trends in your college community? Consider: changing demographics, quality of schools, inequities, new opportunities. How are these trends impacting the college?

34 Recommendations Ensure that college faculty and staff have highquality preparation to ensure student success. Invest in faculty and staff development Speakers and seminars providing the most current information about how to foster student success. Faculty and staff attend state and national conferences related to student success (AAHHE, AAC&U, AACC, NODA, First-Year Experience, etc.). Provide internal support (grants, work-study assistants, etc.) to provide faculty and staff the resources they need to transform pedagogy and curriculum and to design High-Impact Practices Apply for federal and state grants to develop new initiatives Provide professional development for faculty and staff to serve as validating agents and to develop an asset-based understanding of students.

35 Recommendations Be informed and ask challenging, probing questions about the extent that the college is reducing achievement gaps and improving college completion. Develop a college Student Success Strategic Plan with 5-10 year goals designed to preserve access, identify equity gaps, reduce achievement gaps, and enhance programmatic initiatives that promote success (i.e., transition to college, sense of belonging, culturally-relevant pedagogy, etc.) At least once per semester, request a Student Success Report which includes data disaggregated by race/ethnicity and gender such as: degrees and certificates earned; course completion in developmental courses and in different majors, student GPAs, etc. At least once per semester, invite faculty and staff to share their best practices and what they are doing to promote student achievement.

36 Recommendations Promote the hiring and retention of new faculty and staff who are passionate about student success, operate with asset-based perspectives, are open to working with diverse students, and can serve as validating agents. Review the criteria for hiring faculty and staff Provide incentives for faculty and staff who are having exceptional success with students

37 The Entrenched Story About Why Marginalized Students Don t Succeed is Not True Story is based on highlighting deficits The story overlooks how the system acts against success The story fails to acknowledge that students, families and communities have significant assets and ways of knowing that they employ to overcome systemic inequities and to create their own models of success We must write a new narrative of student success grounded in the experience of marginalized students themselves! Mia Birdsong TED TALK: Let s honor the skills, drive and initiative that poor people bring to the struggle every day. They may be broke, but they are not broken.

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