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Report/Research

Advancing Emotional Well-Being Through Equity-Mindedness at the Council for the Study of Community Colleges Conference

July 19, 2023

At a Glance

The Student Success Center Network (SSCN) presented at the Council for the Study of Community Colleges’ 64th annual conference in Chicago. This year’s conference theme was Advancing Emotional Well-Being Through Equity-Mindedness, and members of the SSCN presented highlights from our New Directions for Community Colleges volume: “The Student Success Network: Advancing Economic Mobility and Racial Justice.”

Contributors
Kelley Evans Director, Student Success Center Network
Ikeia Miller Senior Program Manager
Practices & Centers

At the Council for the Study of Community Colleges’ 64th annual conference in Chicago, Elizabeth Cox Brand, the Executive Director of the Oregon Success Center, presented key findings from across the New Directions for Community Colleges volume, highlighting the work of multiple Student Success Centers focused on economic advancement and racial justice in their states’ community colleges. Kelley Evans, Director of the Student Success Center Network (SSCN), discussed the priorities of the SSCN and then introduced several colleagues who shared examples of equity-minded strategies. Key findings from the presentations include:

  • In Systemic Change: Developing an Organizational Strategy to Increase Faculty and Staff Diversity in California Community Colleges, presenter and co-author Nadia Leal-Carrillo, who serves as Director of Policy Development and Research at the Success Center for California Community Colleges, noted that their Center learned how relationships can drive change. In her presentation, Nadia shared five lessons:
  1. Trust is earned.
  2. Be honest about limitations in equity work.
  3. Equity can only be achieved through systemic reform.
  4. Engage the right stakeholders early.
  5. Data does not change systems—people do.
  • In Creating a Culture of Student Success Through Institutional Coaching, Jennifer Miller, Executive Director of the New York State Student Success Center, shared early evidence that institutional coaching can be a valuable strategy for promoting equity-mindedness and a focus on student success. Jennifer’s findings included:
    • Coaches connect colleges to subject matter experts and resources.
    • Coaches can provide validation and encouragement, bringing a new, external perspective to challenging issues.
    • Coaches with deep experience in institutional transformation and specific models can act as subject matter experts, assisting colleges in developing feasible work plans to reach goals.
    • Coaches can help bridge the gaps between faculty, staff, and administrators to facilitate systemic change instead of improvements in a single area.
    • Coaches can provide extra accountability to help keep college teams on track.

For more information about running an impactful institutional coaching program, please refer to the Student Success Center Network Coaching Toolbox (2022) or the American Association of Community Colleges Pathways Coaching Guide (2018).

[The SSCN was able to] join a notable list of inspiring speakers and researchers who are committed to increasing educational equity. [The New Directions for Community Colleges volume featuring our work] illustrates how a national network can serve as a critical partner in translating research into actionable policy, programmatic, and institutional change to advance equitable student outcomes.

Nadia Leal-Carrillo, Director of Policy Development and Research at the Success Center for California Community Colleges

Many thanks to Elizabeth Cox Brand, Executive Director of the Oregon Success Center; Nadia Leal-Carrillo, Director of Policy Development and Research at the Success Center for California Community Colleges; Jennifer Miller, Executive Director of the New York State Student Success Center, and Kelley Evans, Director of the Student Success Center Network at Jobs for the Future for representing the SSCN and contributing to the session The Student Success Center Network: Advancing Economic Mobility and Racial Justice. The Council for the Study of Community Colleges (CSCC) is an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and creates a space for researchers and practitioners to advance scholarship for community colleges.

About the SSCN

The Student Success Center Network (SSCN) scales proven practices to help more than 4.5 million students across seventeen states earn credentials that lead to well-paying jobs. Nearly half of U.S. community colleges are connected to the Student Success Center Network.

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