We believe that achieving equitable outcomes for all students regardless of their race is a moral obligation and what deeply defines the community college mission.
COVID-19 did not create the stark social, financial, and political inequalities that define life for so many Americans, but it has made them more strikingly visible than any moment in recent history. We know that these inequitable outcomes are not accidental and are a symptom of a pattern that is at the forefront of the racial discourse taking place in our society.
Unfortunately, the issue of racial justice is often politicized and used to intentionally divide us. However, we believe that achieving equitable outcomes for all students regardless of their race is a moral obligation and what deeply defines the community college mission. As a college, we choose to come together to fulfill our purpose because we believe that education can make a difference in the life of every student and for our community.
To support critical analysis and the consideration of approaches to address racial inequalities, you will find a collection of resources within the links below. You will also find the actions currently underway to address these challenges at the college.
Our plan begins with identifying existing problems and its scope through a climate survey, which was completed March of 2020. In addition to the survey, we are conducting a root cause analysis through focus groups and engaging employees in providing input. While this assessment is taking place, we continue to promote shared learning through professional development and embed equity-minded practices in decision-making through instilling our desired values in institutionalized processes. Following are the tenets of our plan:
- Leadership: Chemeketa’s Executive Team (ET) has been actively engaged in building leadership capacity to enact practices that promote equitable student success. As part of this work, ET developed specific team goals to prepare for the work ahead.
- Strategic Planning: Equity and academic excellence are central to our planned work. The ongoing initiatives such as Guided Pathways, Learning Outcomes, Diversity Hiring, and the Institutionalization of Equitable Practices, are key to interrogating our practices to address systemic challenges.
- Campus Climate Survey: In March of 2020, the college engaged in completing the campus climate survey. As a result of this work, the Diversity Advisory Council will engage in action planning with our campus community. Learn more about the campus climate survey.
- Professional Development: Starting this fall, our professional development offerings will incorporate increased emphasis on building capacity for delivering anti-racist practices.
- Social Justice in the Curriculum: It is our vision to be a catalyst for individuals, businesses, and communities to excel in diverse and changing environments. We can do so by being attentive to our curriculum and teaching practices bringing a social justice framework to cultural literacy courses and other programs.
- Equity Lens: The Executive Team has been engaged in initiating the use of a simple equity lens. We invite you to use this same lens during your meetings.
How You Can Engage
- Learn about the priorities of the Diversity Advisory Council and contact one of the members to learn about how to get involved.
- Participate in professional development at Chemeketa and complete the Cultural Competence Certificate. The certificate is a college initiative that requires substantial engagement in professional development and personal engagement.
- Ask about Guided Pathways and how you can support this strategic initiative. Use this equity framework as a guide when assessing decisions. Look at the Early Momentum Metrics. What do you tell yourself about the data? What does the data tell you? How can you use the data to help inform your decisions?
- Consider new ways which racial justice can become considerations during your department/program review and planning processes.
- Be engaged through current communication channels by reading and contributing your knowledge, experience and expertise through Chemeketa Chatter, Chemeketa Reads, Multicultural Service events and more.
Racial Justice in the Curriculum
We offer a series of courses that have a cultural literacy designation. Instructors are trained to embed social justice topics within the curriculum. The efforts to meet this requirement are consistently evolving and future updates will emphasize an anti-racist approach.
The Criminal Justice program at Chemeketa recognizes its responsibility in educating students who will make a positive impact on our communities. Ethics and social justice content is embedded throughout the curriculum. Contemporary issues and case studies, including incidents of police accountability and use of force, are regularly reviewed and discussed in the classroom. In the near future, the curriculum will reflect recommendations that result from the audit that the police academy is undergoing, which focused generally on law enforcement use of force practices, police accountability, and community policing objectives. The program chair is participating in sessions hosted by the police academy in professional standards for law enforcement, basic police training, and use of force training. In addition, the program’s advisory committee will be meeting in the coming fall to discuss whether social justice should be a stand-alone course or further incorporated into the existing curriculum.
Are you looking for ways to apply an Equity Lens to your work? Here is how your Executive Team is putting a simple framework into practice:
- Assign a person within your team to serve as the DEI ( Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Lead during your meetings.
- Establish a common understanding of the meaning of the words diversity, equity and inclusion.
- The responsibility of the DEI Lead is to ask the two fundamental questions during the meeting:
- What are the DEI implications of this decision/ proposal/situation?
- Do we have the capacity (knowledge/time/resources) to address these implications? If not, who does?
It is important to attend to the dynamics of your team and promote participation by seeking to establish working agreements.
Cultural Competence Certificate
The Cultural Competence Certificate Program provides recognition for Chemeketa employees who engage in cultural awareness professional development. The activities under this program promote awareness of self and others, while building skills to respond effectively to people from all cultures, economic statuses, language backgrounds, races, ethnic backgrounds, disabilities, religions, genders, gender identifications, sexual orientations, veteran statuses and other characteristics in a manner that recognizes, affirms and values their worth, and preserves the dignity of individuals, families and communities.