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Since its inception in 2008, 3CSN has utilized Communities of Practice and Network Theory to support professional learning throughout the state. The knowledge built by these CoPs and the network of practitioners working within these specific areas provided us with the foundation to build more intentional, student-centered, and equity-minded professional learning opportunities.
Reading Apprenticeship, developed by West Ed’s Strategic Literacy Initiative, teaches instructors from across the disciplines and levels how to leverage their own expertise and students’ strengths to productively engage students in academic reading. In 2011, 3CSN began providing ongoing and sustained support for faculty implementation of Reading Apprenticeship. The first colleges to participate in this CoP included: Cerritos College, College of the Sequoias, Fresno City College, La Harbor College, LA Pierce College, Mira Costa College, Mt. San Jacinto College, Pasadena City College, Saddleback College, Santa Rosa College, West LA College, and Yuba College. The CoP has grown to include workshops, institutes, and the statewide Reading Apprenticeship conference. Pasadena City College has leveraged Reading Apprenticeship as a central piece of their First Year Pathways (FYP) program, resulting in Fall to Fall persistence rates increasing to 93.2% from 77% percent and elimination of the achievement gap for FYP students. The AACU has highlighted PCC’s FYP as an example of “inclusive excellence."
“I have been changed as an educator by my engagement in Reading Apprenticeship. I now feel a supportive faculty community with which I'm connected. As faculty, we are bolstered in sharing our reading pedagogies through practice and engagement with fellow colleagues. In fostering pedagogical community in support of our students, and to the benefit of faculty nourishment, Reading Apprenticeship is truly unique and rare.”
Launched as part of 3CSN’s LINKS V (Spring 2012) – an event held at five locations throughout the state – the Habits of Mind conceptual framework captured the imagination of some sixty attendees. Practitioners were called upon to develop more “student centered” practices, given the influence that learning experiences, expectations, values and habits have on what students attend to, questions they ask, choices they make, etc.
The first colleges to participate in this CoP included: American River College, Chabot College , Fullerton College, Gavilan College, Grossmont College, LA Mission College, LA Pierce College, Los Medanos College, San Mateo College, Santa Rosa College, and Sacramento City College. The CoP has grown to include workshops, Habits of Mind institutes, and more recently Growth Mindset trainings.
“The power of YET has inspired many on my campus to transform our interactions, with our students, colleagues and selves… For many, this changed the way in which we view ourselves, as not just educators, but academic coaches.”
In 2011, faculty from 19 colleges recruited through our 3CSN regional networks and half-day introductory workshops became part of the first community of practice we launched: the CaliforniaAcceleration Project (CAP). CAP colleges in the network began piloting accelerated courses in math and English on their campuses. The first colleges to participate in this CoP included: Butte, Berkeley City College, Chabot College, City College of San Francisco, College of the Canyons, Cuyamaca College, Moreno Valley College, Diablo Valley College, LA Trade Tech College, Los Medanos College, Moreno Valley College, Pasadena City College, Riverside City College, San Diego Mesa College, Santa Monica College, Solano College, and Yuba College. A longitudinal study we commissioned in 2014 demonstrates that the over 10,000 students enrolled in redesigned courses taught by faculty trained through 3CSN’s California Acceleration Project (CAP) exhibit "large and robust" increases in student completion of college-level requirements in English and math, with gains across all student demographic and socioeconomic groups and placement levels.
“We've completely revamped our developmental English program and our placement process. We sought out and received a grant to help us improve our delivery of accelerated English offerings. We also helped our math faculty apply to their own Community of Practice, and we now offer accelerated developmental sequences in both math and English.”
3CSN's Networked Communities of Practice (CoP) model focuses on growing more powerful classrooms & support services; the CoPs center on curricular and institutional redesign and involve empirically studied interventions proven to increase and accelerate student persistence, equity, and completion.
The roots of the Learning Assistance Project can be drawn back to conversations held at BSILI 2013. Various participants at BSILI realized they all work with tutoring on their campuses. Later, that year Coastline Community College hosts a 3CSN event that focuses on how Reading Apprenticeship and Habits of Mind are addressed in learning assistance. In April 2014, Coastline Community College hosts the inaugural Tutor Expo, known as Tutor Expo ‘14: The Power of One. In March 2015, Los Angeles Pierce College hosted Tutor Expo ‘15: Leading Together. The Learning Assistance Project became an official community of practice at BSILI 2015 and set into a motion a fast growing CoP with participants that included faculty, staff, and most importantly students. Since its onset, the Learning Assistance Project has served over 600 participants from more than 70 colleges.
“The Tutor Expos and SI conference made a massive impact on our students. They even walked differently by the end of the day(s). To see students empowered is not only heartwarming, though, it's making our world and society a better place. Treating our student tutors and SI Leaders as professionals has had a profound impact on me and our tutoring center and SI program.”
The Equity Project was formally launched in June 2016 at BSILI and strives to support colleges to become equity-minded institutions that are committed to providing welcoming and supportive environments that are based on equity principles, culturally responsive policies, and high-impact practices to address disparities, close achievement gaps and meet the needs of each student.
Through workshops, summits, and institutes, the Equity Project provides resources and opportunities for collaboration and networking for professionals committed to transforming instruction, services, and campus culture in their daily practice to ensure our students’ needs are met in all aspects of their educational experience. During workshops, facilitators discuss the importance of embedding Equity, CRTL, and Cultural Humility pedagogy, policies, and practices when integrating Student Equity Plans with other campus-wide initiatives. Since its onset, the Equity Project has served over 500 participants from more than 40 colleges.
“Getting to look at my classroom and interaction with students through the lens of equity has greatly improved my practice. I have seen more students see me in office hours in addition to working together outside of class.”
In 2015, the Threshold Project began as collaboration between 3CSN, the CSU, and AACU’s Faculty Collaborative Project. Threshold Project brings educators from across the disciplines and levels together to consider what these important concepts might be and how they could factor in to curricular redesign projects and other collaborations. We assert that a curriculum that intentionally builds from the cultural assets that students bring with them and focuses on approaching complex social problems through the lens of threshold concepts can teach students how to problem solve from distinct disciplinary perspectives, to explore the affordances and limitations of different disciplinary habits of mind, and to see the relevance of academic work to their lives and communities. This is an approach to curricular redesign and instruction that can strongly support work on Guided Pathways, College Promise programs, and other structural approaches to more equitable outcomes. Since its onset, the Threshold Project has served over 375 participants from 35 colleges.
Learning in Networks for Knowledge Sharing (LINKS) began in 2010 as a statewide series of regional events focused on specific student success topics and practices. LINKS has developed into a 2-day conference that brings forth emerging educational issues, such as Transformational Leadership in community colleges. Since its onset LINKS events have served over 1,900 participants from over 100 colleges.
“I thought it was highly engaging and well-paced. I loved the showcase, as well as the innovative group work sessions. I love the gallery approach to professional learning”
The FTLA was founded in the LA Community College District in 2008 through its student success initiative, a join effort by the district academic senate and the district administration. This semester long training provides faculty with innovative teaching strategies that support a student centered classroom. Applicants to FTLA include tenured faculty, part time faculty, and classified staff. In 2016, FTLA was brought to Foothill College making the academy a statewide effort. FTLA alumni also report a high level of campus engagement with 97% of alumni continue sharing and communicating about their teaching practice, 80 % have joined a campus committee, 48% became a professional development coordinator, and 19% became a committee chair. Since its onset, FTLA has over 230 alumni from 12 colleges.
“I am a new and improved teacher after FTLA. Even my previous students notice the improvement and love it.”
The Growth Mindset institute presents strategies to implement research-based growth mindset practices to improve student learning for community college students. Over a series of studies, these practices have been shown to improve student learning strategies and help students respond to challenges. Although research demonstrates that growth mindset changes student behavior and improves student success, scant research examines specific practices and approaches for the classroom and beyond.
This institute describes growth mindset interventions at twenty Calfiornia Community Colleges, across basic skills and transfer-level courses. The facilitators present sample lesson plans and research on faculty and student impact. The research includes qualitative and quantitative data from faculty practitioners and students on the impact of growth mindset interventions, including measuring student success, effort, and resource use. Participants will learn how to incorporate growth mindset into their classes and professional practice.
In response to the pandemic and colleges' abrupt pivot online, 3CSN created several online design labs to support California Community Colleges as we all rethought our approaches to grading, peer education, pedagogy, and more. Out of these design labs, new communities of practice emerged. Learn more about them below.
The Civic Dialogues series began as a CCC/CSU Collaborative team project at our 2019 3CSN Leadership Institute, BSILI. This civic engagement series has emerged into a community of practice centering the critical importance of civic engagement along with educational practices and models for increasing meaningful engagement on campuses.
Emerging in Summer 2020 from the "Hello, Is it Me You're Looking For: ePortfolios" design lab, this community of practice centers ePortfolios as a path to equitable assessment, engagement, retention, and completion. ePortfolio practitioners meet regularly throughout the year to share ideas and support each other in this work.
Since 2020, this learning assistance series has expanded into a vibrant community of practice. Workshops facilitated by peer education professionals from different colleges and organizations are held each Friday from 3 - 4:30pm PST, with a half hour each week dedicated to discussion.
The Ungrading community of practice emerged from the Wayfinding Online series and subsequent design lab. Like the ePortfolio community of practice, practitioners gather throughout the year to share ideas and support each other in this work.