Five Dimensions of Equity Guide Community College’s Mission

by Derek Jorgenson / Apr 10, 2020

Everett Community College endeavors to foster an equitable environment and transformative experiences for its students. Recent institutional efforts have prioritized the development and communication of the 5 Dimensions of Equity, explicated principles designed to provide a shared understanding of a multifaceted concept.

When used as a lens, the 5 Dimensions of Equity illuminate the potential challenges and barriers that can exist for our students and provide a tool for evaluating our policies and procedures. These equity principles allow the college to more intentionally fulfill its mission, which is to “educate, equip, and inspire each student to achieve personal and professional goals, contribute to our diverse communities, and thrive in a global society.”

Our endeavors through the Spark grant encompass two projects that support the synthesis of the 5 Dimensions of Equity into the classroom. The first portion of our project entailed a faculty workshop on the Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) approach. The TILT framework, championed by Dr. Mary-Ann Winkelmes, provides a template for assignments that clearly identifies the purpose, task, and criteria for success. Developing assignments with this framework has been shown to shrink equity gaps and increase student success. Faculty members in our TILT workshops revised and implemented two assignments for their classes.

Our endeavors through the Spark grant encompass two projects that support the synthesis of the 5 Dimensions of Equity into the classroom.

The second portion of our project supported the ongoing efforts of a faculty team as it directly incorporated the 5 Dimensions of Equity into their courses. This included the development of new curriculum content and the creation of activities, exercises, projects, assessments, and assignments. All these elements were thoughtfully designed to promote the understanding of, and when possible the realizations of, equity. This specifically included equity in terms of aspiration, access, achievement, economic progress, and engagement.

Completed assignments were collected and compiled after the completion of the academic term that featured the new content. Student work from multiple classes were reviewed for content that communicated their perceptions and expressions of the 5 Dimensions of Equity. Themes within the student work were identified and refined. These emergent, student-defined depictions of equity are now guiding the development of pre- and post-surveys that can be used to measure how our students learn and experience equity, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Derek Jorgenson’s institution was one of five selected for the OCCRL Educational Leaders Equity-Centered Transformation (ELECT) Spark Grants Initiative Program.
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