Become an Equity Fellow

Help us create a more inclusive learning environment.

Cal State LA Inclusive Excellence and Equity Fellows Program

A Community of Practice


The focus of our Inclusive Excellence and Equity Fellows Program is to enhance our equity mindset and build a community of practice. Over a series of workshops/sessions we will examine what equity looks like at our institution now and how it will look in the future. Through reflection of current practices, we will identify our strengths and best practices in order to implement and integrate these throughout the university. We will also identify practices that contribute to inequities faced by minoritized populations and work towards remediating those practices. Our current aspiration is to change the culture whereby our classroom practices will be viewed through the lens of equity and inclusive excellence.

To meet the above objective, we proposed to instituting an equity-focused professional development program for faculty in collaboration with the Center for Urban Education (CUE) at the University of Southern California and CETL. The inquiry-based sessions in this program will a) identify educational inequities experienced by minoritized student groups, b) use CUE’s inquiry strategies and tools to examine critically the ways in which faculty mindsets and educational practices contribute to those inequities, and c) transform those mindsets and practices.

Format: Approximately 20-hours of synchronous with pre-workshop and post-workshop activities. Synchronous sessions are delivered over four to six sessions each term.

Deliverables: Attendees must attend all workshops in sequence, report back to their department and share best practices, and where appropriate: 1) submit a modified syllabus; 2) use an equity gradebook, and 3) participate in peer observations.

Award: $700 (All workshops include lunch when we return to in-person workshops)

Description of Workshop Topics/Activities:

The following workshop topics/activities were tailored for our campus by the HHMI Team in partnership with the USC Center for Urban Education (CUE). All materials were developed by CUE. The topics listed below will be covered over a period of four (4) sessions. Since the progression of topics are adjusted based on the dynamics of each cohort. It is required that you attend all sessions.

What is equity? Why should faculty be equity-minded?

This workshop will increase participants’ knowledge of the concept of equity and its accountability and critical dimensions. Participants will come to understand the utility of ‘equity-minded’ approaches to practice, and the ways in which they can advocate for equity and advance equity-mindedness in their classroom, department, and institution. Equity-minded approaches will be contrasted with more traditional student success frameworks, which tend to focus solely on students and their deficits as the causes of educational inequities.

Activities include: self-reflection exercise; CUE’s Equity Quadrant activity, during which participants will classify fictitious statements along two dimensions: institutionally-focused/student deficit-focused, and race conscious/colorblind; reframing exercise during which participants will be asked to classify statements as deficit-minded/equity-minded and then to reframe deficit-minded statements using equity-minded language; equity-minded action planning.

Does my grading reflect what I believe about equity? What goals can I set in order to determine whether my practice is helping minoritized students?

Drawing on student outcome data from departments at Cal State LA, this workshop will enable faculty to recognize equity gaps in numerical data through practices like disaggregation of data and use of data measures close to practice. This workshop will also help faculty to use data in equity-minded ways. This involves establishing specific, actionable equity goals and prioritizing these goals based on the equity gap size, the number of students impacted, and other pressures (e.g., institutional mission, system priorities, funders, state government, etc).

Activities include: (a) reviewing CSULA student outcome data including data at the institutional, program, and instructor-levels, disaggregated by race/ethnicity; (b) collaborative sense-making of data with an emphasis on the implications of equity gaps for CSULA students from various racial/ethnic groups; (c) step-by-step goal setting process; and (d) increasing faculty agency to close equity gaps.

Do my teaching practices reflect what I believe about equity? Can I do more in my teaching to promote an equity-minded culture?

We see inquiry as a powerful means of uncovering why existing practices may not meet intended objectives. Specifically, inquiry helps identify: (1) institutional practices that are supporting African American, Latinx, Native American, and Asian students; (2) institutional practices that are inadvertently contributing to or failing to address racial/ethnic inequities; and (3) how practices could be modified, reconsidered, or replaced to increase equity. In this workshop, participants will increase their familiarity with the practitioner-as-researcher model and come to understand the principles, power, and potential of inquiry to remediate practices and bring about equity.

Participants will use two of CUE’s inquiry tools, which are designed to prompt critical reflection on familiar instructional artifacts and practices. The inquiry tools will enable participants to see how practitioners can unintentionally create barriers for students of color. Examples from other CUE institutional partners will also be integrated into the workshop.

Am I starting my class with a syllabus that reflects my views regarding inclusion? What message am I sending students with my syllabus? Does my syllabus do enough to reach minoritized students?

Inquiry, or the systematic study of institutional practices and policies, is a powerful tool for faculty to understand what aspects of their practice are failing to achieve their intended effect. Alternatively, inquiry can also uncover what aspects of current practices are effectively supporting equitable outcomes for historically minoritized students. This workshop will engage faculty in a specific inquiry method and activity: examining, de-constructing and re-constructing course syllabi. Participants will use CUE’s syllabus review protocol tool in order to understand the ways in which tone, language, clarity, and the substantive content of course syllabi can inadvertently contribute to equity gaps for minoritized students.

Activities include: discussion of importance of syllabus; use of syllabus review protocol; modified syllabus.

What does it take to be effective at creating equity and excellence for all students, including those who are historically underrepresented in these fields?
How can we as faculty support minoritized student success within and outside of their formal roles and responsibilities?

The institutional agent framework, based on the work of Ricardo Stanton-Salazar and further developed by researchers at the Center for Urban Education (CUE), offers guidance on the ways in which faculty—who often occupy high status positions within their institution and know how to access high-value resources, navigate complex systems, and take effective action—can use their capital to transmit high-value opportunities, privileges and services to underserved students. Using multiple case studies and self-assessment instruments developed by CUE, participants will develop an understanding of the specific behaviors, habits, and mindsets of effective institutional agents who promote equity. They will also envision the ways in which they can act as effective institutional agents at Cal State LA. Equity efforts are often tied to specific temporary funding streams (e.g., special systemwide initiatives; grants, etc.), making the creation of sustainable equity-minded change difficult. This workshop will focus on the ways in which practitioners can embed equity-mindedness into institutional routines, policies, and culture in order to sustain equity-minded change. Equity-minded approaches to program review, data collection and use, assessment/placement, hiring and promotion, and student services will be detailed. Strategies for building broad-based campus support for equity efforts will be presented. In addition, the workshop will engage participants in collaborative action planning to identify barriers and opportunities to creating and sustaining equity-minded change.

Activities include: case studies; institutional agent self-assessment inventory; think-pair-share around the conditions that support faculty acting as institutional agents.