QFE 2. From the Commission Visiting Team External Report
"The second area of need that the institution has identified is in supporting its commitment to diversity. In order to nurture the importance of “Multicultural Understanding”, a general education area was developed in 2014-2015 and in 2017 the updated Equal Employment Opportunity Plan included 4 actions that would be taken to address increasing diversity in hiring outcomes, screening committees, training for faculty and staff, and increasing representation of underrepresented groups for the faculty and staff at the institution. The institutional effectiveness data (student scorecard) has also identified areas where actions should be taken to address achievement gaps or access for students coming from different demographic subgroups.
The college implemented action plans that were identified through the student equity plan that have helped to address the achievement gaps. Examples of the actions include increasing outreach activities in the Del Norte service area, the Cap and Gown program that serves student athletes that represent larger numbers of underrepresented students, and the creation of a Multicultural Center. The institution has further actions to implement from the 2015-2018 Student Equity Plan. The college recognizes that progress has been made in shrinking the achievement gaps but despite the efforts taken the gaps persist.
The institution would like to ensure further support of the actions that will be taken to address persistent achievement gaps by increasing integration among the existing plans of the college where the goal or potential for supporting student equity already exists. Increasing integration among the groups and committees where responsibility for such plans resides and where resources are allocated in support of increasing student equity is the approach the college will take to address this area of need. The college has a plan to determine the structure that will ensure the integration of ongoing planning, identify where plans overlap, find gaps in the plans for addressing student equity, expand on actions within the plans to target student equity, and ultimately incorporate the expanded plan into the annual planning process. These actions are scheduled to take place beginning in 2017 and work will continue through 2019. The college has identified there is a disconnect between course offering that meet the general education area designed to address multicultural understanding and will be working on alignment of curriculum offerings with that area. The student equity work that the college has proposed demonstrates the commitment to diversity that is part of the mission and planning goals of the college."
In 2017, the College continued its efforts of addressing equity in student achievement and success by requesting a research project be engaged by students and faculty in a Sociology “Research Methods” course along the following parameters: “In response to direct request from the Multicultural Diversity Committee (MDC) and Renee Saucedo, Director of Student Equity, our Social Research Methods team studied factors affecting retention rates of underserved equity groups at College of the Redwoods (CR). We are a team comprised of eight student researchers, one graduate student of sociology and one research methodologist. The goal of this study is to produce information useful for college improvement of retention rates for members of specific equity groups; for this reason this study focuses on variables which are within the scope of the college to address for retention improvement. California state law defines an “equity group” as “a group of people belonging to a specific demographic—racial minority, former foster youth, military veteran, etc. For the purpose of this study, “underserved” means students who lack adequate resources to succeed in their educational goals. According to the MDC and CR President, Keith Snow-flamer, the most underserved student groups at CR are Native American, African American, and Hispanic. Our research team has chosen to include two additional student equity groups for this research, English as a Second Language Learners (ESL) and LGBTQ+ students” (QFE 2.1). As a result of the recommendations that came out of the study, the College created new initiatives like a student ambassador program as well as increased the activities sponsored by the Multicultural and Diversity Center (MD Center).
In fall 2018, the College developed a student ambassador program through the MD Center. The goal of the program initially was twofold and focused on student retention: to provide outreach to underrepresented student to make them aware of MD Center activities and offerings and, secondly, to serve as cultural ambassadors sharing their life experiences with underrepresented students who could benefit from that (QFE 2.2). The MD Center, through its program review reports, has tracked the effectiveness of the student ambassador program over the years and has concluded that it has proven valuable for both the students it serves as well as for those serving as ambassadors themselves (QFE 2.3, QFE 2.4, QFE 2.5, QFE 2.6, QFE 2.7, QFE 2.8).
The MD Center has also created a number of targeted programs and support groups for the College’s underrepresented student populations. In August 2019, for example, the College provided free immigration legal services for any students requesting that service and also created a LatinX Student Union as well as a student and community LatinX support group that included bilingual tutoring (QFE 2.9, QFE 2.10, QFE 2.11, QFE 2.12, QFE 2.13). The MD Center has also created student groups and support programs for African-American, LGBTQIA, Asian and Pacific Islander, LatinX, first -generation, and Native American students (QFE 2.14, QFE 2.15, QFE 2.16, QFE 2.17, QFE 2.18, QFE 2.19, QFE 2.20). Student who are military veterans are also supported as one of the College’s important underrepresented student populations (QFE 2.21, QFE 2.22).
Additionally, the MD Center sponsors a rich calendar of events and activities that provide support for underrepresented students. These range from tutoring sessions, first-generation support, writing assistance, physical exercise sessions, cooking sessions, as well as other activities designed to improve the chances that students will succeed, persist, and complete (QFE 2.23, QFE 2.24, QFE 2.25, QFE 2.26). The MD Center regularly publishes and promotes its events, clubs, students, and activities in a regular newsletter (QFE 2.27, QFE 2.28, QFE 2.29, QFE 2.30).
Starting in 2018-19, the Human Resources area has worked directly with the Chancellor`s Office to complete a Multiple Methods report which described nine different ways the college includes diversity and equity within its hiring and evaluation processes. By completing this report Human Resources was awarded $50,000.00 to use towards recruitment and training around diversity. This year the Multiple Methods report was submitted before the June deadline and in early October we were again awarded $50,000.00. The Human Resources area also upgraded to the “PeopleAdmin” recruitment system, which launched in January 2018 and has allowed Human Resources personnel to more easily check the diversity of any pool of applicants, check the analytics of recruitments such as EEO Compliance Criteria and EEO Application and Hiring Trends (QFE 2.31, QFE 2.32, QFE 2.33, QFE 2.34). In fall 2020, the Academic Senate’s Multicultural and Diversity Committee approved a set of hiring practice recommendations that committee members sent to the Human Resources office to determine what would be important to implement (QFE 2.35).
In spring 2020 the Academic Senate revised its by-laws to facilitate the coordination between the Academic Senate’s Multicultural and Diversity Committee (MD Committee) and other Senate and College committees. Because of this change, members of the MD Committee serve on other committees like the curriculum committee, student equity committee, equal employment opportunity committee, faculty development committee, and disabled student program and services committee and report on any initiatives with which the MD Committee might assist as well as inform those committees about any MD Committee initiatives relevant to their work (QFE 2.40). This has greatly improved the flow of communication between committees about diversity, equity and inclusion-related initiatives (QFE 2.41, QFE 2.42). The MD Committee has also been exploring ways to implement the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges “Anti-Racism Pledge” as well as working with the chair of the curriculum committee to assist in preparing the College to meet the new California State University ethnic studies lower-division course requirement in order to best serve transfer students (QFE 2.43). Presently, the College’s Native American Studies course has been approved to meet this requirement.
Analysis and Evaluation
The College has made significant strides to implement actions to reduce the achievement gaps in order to increase student equity, primarily through the work of the Multicultural and Diversity Center, the Human Resources Department and the Academic Senate’s Multicultural and Diversity Committee. The Institutional Research Office also provides disaggregated data on an annual basis that allows the College to reflect and improve its practices (QFE 2.36). This data is used to inform reporting in the annual and comprehensive program review cycles (QFE 2.37, QFE 2.38, QFE 2.39).