CCC, CSU and AAC&U Faculty Convene to Consider Threshold Concepts and Equity at Convening #1
Fullerton College, August 28, 2015
The Threshold Project Convening #1 brought CCC and CSU faculty together along with national representatives from the Association of American Colleges & Universities Faculty Collaborative Project to discuss threshold concepts through an equity lens. Participants engaged in discussion of their own initiations into disciplinary ways of knowing and the affective dimensions of the process. Further conversation among discipline colleagues helped groups arrive at preliminary consensus about key threshold concepts within their fields. The most exciting insight emerged as the discipline-focused teams shared out. The whole gorup recognized that across a variety of disciplines, we expect students to develop flexible perspectives and learn that meaning is constructed. Whether faculty teach English, History or Math, they want students to understand that there are multiple truths, multiple ways to make sense of texts, problems, and evidence. Our colleagues in Physics and Chemistry even created a graphic illustration of how essentially similar ideas are represented and named differently in each of their fields. Participant understanding of threshold concepts deepened as we practiced investigating concepts like “oppression” and “ideology” from the discipline of Gender Studies. Finally, we situated the conversation in terms of equity-minded practice, considering the ways in which “equity proficiencies” can be threshold concepts themselves for practitioners as they reflect upon how to transform their curriculum and provide rigorous, quality learning for all of their students.