October 20, 2020
Advancing Equity Through Momentum
Momentum is all about gaining, maintaining, and increasing speed. When applied to colleges and universities, CCA envisions this as designing integrated systems and structures that guide students to success. Connected to the goals of college completion and equity, the strategies that are part of the Momentum framework provide meaningful paths for students to get into and complete college courses while earning credits for on-time graduation. We know the national imperative to increase completion rates, particularly for Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and low-income students. Working towards justice means changing our institutions so that students experience college in ways that accept them where they are, identify their strengths, provide them with support, and push them to excel through graduation.
- Credit for Competency: Recognize the prior learning, skills, and knowledge that students possess and establish mechanisms to award appropriate credits.
- Corequisite Support: Design structures and pedagogical approaches for students needing or requesting additional support to succeed in college-level foundational math and English courses that allow students to complete requirements in a single academic term.
- Multiple Measures: Consider a variety of placement options that include high school grade point average to provide more ways for students to take a college-level class in their first semester.
- 15 to Finish/Stay on Track:Invest in coordinated communications efforts and structural solutions to match student credit loads with the credits needed for on-time graduation for both part-time and full–time students.
- Concurrent Enrollment: Provide high school students opportunities to earn college credits while they are still in high school creating an opportunity for them to get an early start toward their degree.
In my past work at Community College of Denver, I witnessed the power of courageous conversations to interrogate our practices, examine our successes and challenges, and construct new approaches to better serve students. This work takes dedication and a campus-wide approach to understand the interconnected relationship among strategies. For example, we reimagined how concurrent enrollment students could place directly into college courses based on high school performance measures. We accomplished this by forging deep relationships among district content-area specialists and college department chairs. This led our faculty and program staff to explore how to offer corequisite courses as part of concurrent enrollment to support students without supplanting the high school curriculum. We connected these efforts to the development of college pathways, so students took courses aligned to certificates and degrees for on-time, and even early, completion. This could only be accomplished through the integrated work across student services and academic affairs and the expertise across many individuals and departments. These efforts were steeped in equity because the student population we served was largely composed of Black and Latinx students, who came from low-income backgrounds, and who would be the first in their family to graduate from college.
While pursuing a single student success strategy is good, the impact is stronger with an integrated approach to transform the entire student experience. To impact how students experience college, institutions must take a critical look at how they are structured and which students are centered to focus on equity and college completion. This does not occur through pilot or limited programs, but through scaled adoption and intentional practice and policy. Let’s recognize the need to better serve our students and harness the opportunity to build Momentum now!
Core Principles for Transforming Remediation Within a Comprehensive Student Success Strategy
Strong Start to Finish
Unlocking Potential: A State Policy Roadmap for Equity and Quality in College in High School Programs
College in High School Alliance and Level Up Coalition
Learning Recognition and the Future of Higher Education – A Vision for a Post-Pandemic Learning Ecosystem
Rebecca Klein-Collins, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning and Nan Travers, SUNY Empire State College
- All three articles in the pre-reading make explicit references to equity. Whether in engaging high school students through concurrent enrollment, adult learners through credit for prior learning, or students receiving additional supports through a corequisite model, how do you center the needs of specific student populations rather than frame equity as an afterthought?
- Why is a comprehensive approach with multiple integrated strategies necessary to re-envision higher education if we want to achieve justice?
With Equity & Justice For All
Did you miss our virtual event? We’ve added recordings of every session to our website, so you catch any that you missed, revisit those you loved, and share favorites with your colleagues.