ASCN Blog

Beyond the Diversity Status Quo


Posted: Nov 2 2017 by
Stephen Secules
University of Georgia
Stephen Secules, University of Georgia
Institutional Change: Change Leaders, Equity and Inclusion
Target Audience: Institution Administration, College/University Staff, Non-tenure Track Faculty, Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty
Program Components: Professional Development:Diversity/Inclusion

The arc of history is long but it bends towards freedom. - Martin Luther King Jr.

Most of us who work in equity and inclusion have an orientation towards wanting to make progress towards systemic change. There is a shared acknowledgement of past injustice, present struggle, and persistent hope. Consistent with the ASCN, those who work in equity and inclusion in higher education are often seeking long term, sustainable transformations of their institutions.

And yet, higher education institutions also prize stability and can be remarkably slow to change. Equity and inclusion concerns get framed as issues for committees and task forces, which eventually become standing entities rather than forces empowered to make radical change. Diversity work feels at risk to budget cuts and to voicing unpopular truths. Overworked and underfunded, the point people for equity and inclusion in an institution can take up somewhat conservative goals: retaining individuals who are underrepresented in a discipline can turn into a standing effort to at least not lose the little bit of diversity left in the department. Although its proponents are often oriented towards transformation, it can seem like higher educational diversity work is far removed from the work of systemic change.

In my dissertation I made calls for going "Beyond Diversity as Usual" in undergraduate engineering work, using new research approaches and new ways of conceptualizing institutional practice (Secules, 2017a). Here are a few directions from my work and others' that may help move towards systemic change in the institutional diversity landscape: More

How can we help change leaders understand how measurement and data can be used?


Posted: Oct 17 2017 by
David Bressoud
Macalester College
David Bressoud, Macalester College
Institutional Change: Change Leaders
Target Audience: Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty, Non-tenure Track Faculty, Institution Administration, College/University Staff, In-Service K12 Teachers, Pre-Service K12 Teachers
Program Components: Professional Development:Student Assessment, Course Evaluation, Curriculum Development

ASCN Working Group 4: Demonstrating Impact is trying something new. This group's mission is to identify, explain, and disseminate information on metrics that hold the potential to document, foster, accelerate, and communicate systemic change. Good questions are a great way to share and expand knowledge. Each month a question of interest and value to the higher education community will be sent to the working group members. Responses will be collated and posted on the ASCN blog. We hope that this will lead to beneficial collaborations not just among the members of the working group, but also across the network, and will reach the larger higher education community interested in systemic change.

The assumption behind this group is that measurement and data are effective mechanisms for facilitating change. The question for this month has two parts.

How can we help change leaders understand how measurement and data can be used? Can you give an example from your own experience where this has happened?

Below are the first three responses received. Please use comment section to respond to the question and to engage in a discussion about the current responses. If there is a link or citation that you think would be of value to other readers, please include this as well.

In addition, if there are any questions you would like Demonstrating Impact Working Group to address, please email those to Inese, the ASCN Project Manager. More

Frameworks for Inclusive Excellence and Systemic Change


Posted: Oct 12 2017 by
Susan Shadle
Boise State University
Susan Shadle, Boise State University
Institutional Change: Guiding Theories, Equity and Inclusion
Target Audience: Post-doctoral Fellows, Teaching/Learning Assistants, Institution Administration, College/University Staff, Non-tenure Track Faculty, Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty
Program Components: Professional Development:Cultural Competency, Diversity/Inclusion

In the work I and my colleagues have done to create change around STEM Education on our own campus we've intentionally worked at two levels. We try to focus both on what will help individual faculty to make changes to their teaching and on how we can shift norms, structures, and teaching culture at the institutional level. My focus as a faculty developer has historically been focused on helping faculty make changes to their pedagogy through exploration and adoption of a variety of active learning pedagogies. I've also been interested in how the spaces in which faculty teach and the norms and policies that guide their practice can promote the adoption of evidence-based teaching practice. More recently, and for a variety of reasons, I've become more interested in how to support faculty to pay attention to their classrooms as inclusive places for learning and the degree to which their courses help to support equitable outcomes for students. While these ideas are connected to good pedagogical practice, thinking about inclusivity has prompted me to expand my toolbox. More

Do I want to be recognized? Reflections on my experience with (Dis)Ability and working in Higher Education


Posted: Oct 5 2017 by
Paul Artale
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Paul Artale, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Institutional Change: Equity and Inclusion
Target Audience: Institution Administration, Tenured/Tenure-track Faculty, Non-tenure Track Faculty, College/University Staff
Program Components: Institutional Systems:Personnel/Hiring, Professional Development:Diversity/Inclusion

My name is Paul. I was born missing fingers and have funny arms. I am ok with it. There really isn't much that I can't do and I have learned to adapt.

People who looked at me probably thought I could never play college football but yeah...I did that. I even coached it for a while. I loved my time working in athletics and although I looked different, I never felt out of place or discriminated against. I was just Paul Artale, football guy, and keeping teams from scoring on us was the most important thing in the world. I bring up football because being an athlete (and the lessons learned from it) are still very prominent pieces of my identity.

Disability is a complex and nuanced identity. Disability is not a primary, or even secondary identity for many people with a disability. My athletic identity, ethnicity, and nationality (Canadian) are far more prevalent in my life. On a good day, it is something I don't think about much about. On a rare bad day it is something that I repress. Disability is often left out of discussions about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) because individuals with disabilities frequently do not prioritize their disability identity, or leave it completely out of conversations because it is a secondary or tertiary identity. Another reason is that disability is often perceived as a medical condition; a person has a condition, they adapt, they persist, and they almost forget they had a disability in the first place. More

The Power (and necessity) of Students in Systemic Change


Posted: Sep 28 2017 by Marcos Montes and Dr. Rob Shorette
Institutional Change: Change Leaders
Target Audience: Graduate Students, Teaching/Learning Assistants, First Generation College Students, Transfer Students, Underrepresented Minority Students, First-year College Students, Undergraduate Non-Majors, Undergraduate Majors
Program Components: Supporting Students:Student Engagement

Almost any change in higher education is difficult. And slow. Systemic change, which produces seismic shifts in the operations and culture of an organization, is even more difficult to achieve. Or in the words of another ASCN blogger Jeanne Century, "the stakes are much higher and the challenge is greater." Particularly for public higher education institutions, there is no shortage of stakeholder groups with keen interests in the outcomes of systemic change efforts, including faculty, staff, administrators, lawmakers, community members, and the general public. Certainly, a process that authentically includes all of these stakeholder groups and reflects the varying perspectives each bring to the table is essential to successful change. However, no group has as much at stake when it comes to systemic change in higher education as students. More

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