Educational Leaders Equity-Centered Transformation Spark Grants Initiative Program

Equity Conscious Community College Pathways

The Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) defines educational equity as the process of identifying how disparities affect the educational opportunities of students based on marginalized social identities (i.e., race, gender, socioeconomic class, gender, sexuality, age, citizenship, religion, physical and mental ability, etc.) and, subsequently, developing strategic solutions to take systemic action to redress these inequities (DeCuir & Dixson, 2004) through ongoing, sustainable, equity-centered efforts (Gorski, 2016).

Equity-centered reforms and initiatives are foremost equity conscious—moving beyond simple awareness of inequities to acknowledging how specific institutional practices may contribute to these inequities (Bensimon, 2012; Skrla, McKenzie, Scheurich, 2009). Equity-centered initiatives should purposefully consider the perspectives, belief systems, structures, and practices that best advance the educational opportunities and ultimate outcomes for students who are underrepresented and/or underserved. Similarly, culturally responsive initiatives should reflect the needs, cultural backgrounds, and lived experiences of diverse students.

In the fall of 2018, OCCRL invited community colleges to submit proposals for the Educational Leaders Equity–Centered Transformation (ELECT) Spark Grants Initiative Program. In early 2019, the ELECT Initiative awarded five community colleges $8,000 grants for a one-year period to “spark” or extend equity-focused and culturally responsive curriculum efforts.

Highlighting Projects via Pecha Kucha

ELECT Spark grant recipients developed videos that employ a storytelling format (i.e., "show and tell") highlighting their grant-funded work utilizing the concise, creative, and image-based Pecha Kucha presentation style. Using 20 image slides and providing only 20 seconds of commentary per image, Spark grant awardees describe their equity-focused projects, their implementation, and their impact in the community college context in brief but engaging videos.


Voices and Viewpoints from Spark Institutions

Each of our Spark grant winners wrote blog posts that explain their grant-funded projects ... check them out!

Anne Arundel Community College - Selling Out With Chicken Sandwiches to Enhance Campus Climate

Everett Community College - Five Dimensions of Equity Guide Community College's Mission

Harold Washington College - There Can be No Equity ... No Justice ... Without Love

Polk State College - Math Equity Institute at Polk State College Geared Toward Assisting Men of Color


Funding Source

This work is part of OCCRL's Equity Conscious Community College Pathways (EC3P) project. The EC3P project is funded under the title "Embedding Equity within Pathways Catalog of Services" by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.