Third Annual SoCal Equity Institute- “Building Equity-Mindedness to Support the Vision for Success”

The Third Annual SoCal Equity Institute, held on October 19th and 20th on the Grossmont College campus, provided a safe space for participants to “go there.”  87 attendees representing 20 different colleges as well as two Guided Pathways regional coordinators from the Chancellor’s Office were in attendance.  A number of students also were active participants throughout the two days. 

Day One

Grossmont College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh set the tone with a warm and inspiring welcome address.  Jessica Cristo, Network Director for 3CSN, then shared goals for the two days and informed participants of 3CSN’s mission, Theory of Change, networking building, and inquiry areas as well as providing an overview of the Vision for Success commitments.   

This was followed by “Equity Mindedness:  What Are Our College Initiatives Really Asking Us to Do?” presented by 3CSN coordinators Paula Brown and Vanson Nguyen.  They provided historical context, applied Critical Race Theory, and discussed meritocracy, and then demonstrated how the initiatives relate to equity-mindedness. The presentation concluded with Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning (CRTL) including the principles and how they may be applied in the classroom. 

3CSN coordinator Nika Hogan then led the group in norm-setting and personal learning histories.  This surfaced some strong feelings, particularly in relation to math.  Student participants shared their perspectives and experiences and all saw commonalities in experience which created a safe space for sharing.  Participants then engaged with a selected quotation from a text set historicizing English and math remediation.   Groups
then created posters with the quotation and three questions or statements around it.  This was followed by a gallery walk. 

Jessica Cristo presented an overview of communities of color cultural wealth from Tara Yosso’s article “Whose Culture Has Capital?,” provided a shared equity rubric, and provided examples of syllabus redesign with an equity lens.  The rest of the afternoon was devoted to working on revising artifacts (syllabus, website, meeting agenda, etc.). 
Homework for day 2 was to bring a revised version of these artifacts.       

Access the Day 1 presentation here

Day Two
Day 2 began with a morning inquiry discussion surrounding how to equitize the workplace and engage in productive discussions with those who do not want to acknowledge white supremacy and structural racism. 

Next up was an impactful spotlight presentation, “Equity at the Center: Creating a Culture that Connects Us to The Work and to Each Other,” by Grossmont College.  Dr. Lida Rafia, Dean of Student Success and Equity, discussed the importance of being “relentlessly student-focused,” and Rochelle Weiser, Training Assistant for the Office of Professional Development, Dr. Tate Hurvitz, Academic Senate President, Pearl Lopez, EOPS Counselor, and Cindy Emerson, Classified Senate Treasurer, noted that classified staff, due to the nature of their role, often don’t have the opportunity to participate in these important discussions, which results in a need to demystify and define equity.  President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh then underscored the value in creating a space in which all stakeholders can feel informed, included, safe, and valued.

After a brief break, Jordan Giannoni Harless presented “Coaching with Kindness: Simple Guidelines to Conduct a More Powerful Peer Review.”  

Following a lunch break, participants engaged in a reading and discussion of Tyrone Howard’s “Why Black Lives (And Minds) Matter: Race, Freedom Schools & The Quest for Educational Equity.”  They then continued with a peer review activity keeping the “Coaching with Kindness” guidelines in mind. 

The final activity of the day was creating an action plan.  

Access the Day 2 presentation here

Participants remarked:

  • “This experience has been transformational.”
  • “We believe that we have the power to positively impact our students’ lives.”
  • “We were talking about reaching out and expanding who can come to these types of
    events-pulling people in to share the knowledge.”

Next steps included: To continue reviewing, in collaboration with all stakeholders, how
to equitize our college artifacts so that we are practicing equity mindedness.

Access the SoCal Equity Institute handouts here

View our image gallery below (photos by Kelan Koning)