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Chaparral 2014-2015: 23.3 Speaking of the Senate

Speaking of The Senate (December 2014)

Speaking of the Senate: Student Equity and You

by Andrew Young

Academic Senate President



Quite a few major projects have been worked on at GCC during 2014.  The new building going up on campus has made major progress.  The first draft of our Accreditation self-study was written.  A major revision of our Curriculum Handbook was completed and approved.  Our first Student Success and Support Program report was written and submitted to the Chancellor’s Office.  And one more major project is nearing completion; our first report on the new Student Equity Program is due by the end of the year.  

Many people have heard about the Student Success and Support Program (a.k.a. 3SP), but I get the feeling that fewer people are aware of the Student Equity Program.  These two programs serve our students in different ways.  The Student Success and Support Program addresses the needs of ALL of our new students for specific services which have been identified as helping to provide a foundation for their success as they pursue their educational goals.  These services include orientation, assessment and the development of student educational plans (SEPs).  EVERY student who comes to our college is expected to be provided these services.

The Student Equity Program also addresses student success, but not uniformly for all students.  It is no surprise to anyone who has looked even briefly at the available educational performance data that not all subpopulations of students have the same level of success in college.  The state has mandated that each community college analyze the performance of specific subgroups of students at their institution to determine which populations have a lower level of success than the average for all students.  

The good news is that this mandate from the state comes with money (as did the Student Success and Support Program).  For this academic year, GCC is getting $869,195 specifically dedicated to our Student Equity efforts.

So what constitutes student equity and who does it affect?

The specific subgroups identified by the state which have to be considered include:

  • Current or former foster youth
  • Students with disabilities
  • Low-income students
  • Veterans
  • Student gender

In addition, the following ethnic and racial categories must be considered:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • White

The performance of these groups is to be measured on the following metrics:

  • Access (meaning is the portion of the students is a particular category at the college about the same as the proportion of the general population that is in that same category)
  • Course completion (overall)
  • Completion of a college-level English course
  • Completion of a college-level ESL course
  • Completion of a college-level Math course
  • Attainment of at least 30 semester units of college credit
  • Completion of a degree or certificate
  • Transfer to a four-year college or university

It gets quite complicated, but basically if the level of success of any of the subgroups on any of the metrics is less than 80% of the performance on the same metric for the overall student population, then the college is supposed to develop and implement specific strategies to attempt to reduce the performance gap.  The local institution has quite a bit of leeway in how they choose to pursue this gap-closure goal, but they need to report to the state what they are doing and how well it is working.  That is the purpose of the Student Equity Program report.

Our Student Equity Program report is currently nearing the end of the lengthy governance approval process.  It should be given final approval by the Board of Trustees at their meeting on December 16, and it will then be sent to the state Chancellor’s Office.

Since the program is brand new, the current report really can only talk about what we plan to do with the money and how much money has been allocated to each budget category.  The substance of the report was written by just a few people over a period of a couple of months, starting in the summer.  There is some flexibility built into the plan, but it provides a good starting framework for our efforts during this first year.  Our plan, and the associated budget, will be revised each year, so we will be able to correct problems and change our direction, if needed, as we learn what works and what doesn’t.

A nicely formatted version of the report should be available in electronic form soon if you would like to read it.  It is about 100 pages of light reading, perfect for a cold winter night by the fire.  


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