Centering equity in the classroom and throughout the institution

The role of college faculty is critical to supporting the efforts of community colleges as they work to grow as equity-focused hubs of social and economic mobility in their communities.

Following the past two years of economic upheaval and urgent social justice movements, faculty must respond with an even stronger commitment to dismantling the racist legacies that permeate our country’s systems — including higher education. Starting from the classroom, faculty can counter these legacies through implementing equity-minded teaching practices shown to advance students’ learning. This is true for all students, but especially for those students who have been marginalized, while also exposing students to diverse authors, multiple perspectives, and embracing all cultures.

Achieving the Dream is excited to convene educators from across the country to engage in the essential work of centering equity in teaching. The 2022 Teaching and Learning Institute, taking place virtually on April 20–22, will help educators develop and implement instruction designed to unleash the power and potential of inclusive, culturally responsive, and antiracist practices that address equity gaps and honor all students.

Teaching and Learning Instiute: Being an Equity-Minded Educator

Culturally responsive pedagogy is one of many practices at the core of high-quality, equitable teaching. It views differences and diversity among students as assets rather than as obstacles or deficits, making room for students’ culturally based learning preferences and knowledge to frame course concepts and content. Zaretta Hammond, author of the book Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, writes that faculty can raise their capacity “to recognize students' cultural displays of knowledge and meaning making and respond positively and constructively with teaching moves that use cultural knowledge as a scaffold to connect what the student knows to new concepts and content in order to promote effective information processing.”

While educators can develop tools for more equitable instruction models and classroom environments, building an equity-minded teaching practice cannot be done alone. Transformation happens at all levels of the institution and requires collaboration, peer-to-peer learning, thought leadership, and action planning. The courage it takes to acknowledge ways we perpetuate inequities in our courses, practices, and policies requires that we make connection, establish institutional teams, and design high-impact professional learning programs to support full-time and adjunct faculty in this work.

During our virtual Teaching and Learning Institute, participants will gain strategies and tools to build on practices that support the development of equity-centered teaching and learning at their institutions. They will engage in peer learning and facilitated conversations to examine classroom-based practices, understand how disaggregated student data informs practice, and design an action-based strategy for implementing equitable instructional models that support positive learning experiences and successful outcomes. Participants will gain practical strategies for addressing their own equity challenges and be empowered to address those inequities in the classroom.

The 2022 Teaching and Learning Institution is designed for faculty, instructional designers, faculty developers, and academic affairs administrators from any higher education institution (both within and without the ATD Network). If you are committed to tackling equity challenges at your institution and understand the essential role that equity-centered teaching plays in supporting vibrant communities, we encourage you to learn more and register for the Institute today.

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