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The Center for Participatory Excellence

Skagit Valley College Center for Participatory Excellence

The Center for Participatory Excellence (CPE) provides teacher training and generative learning spaces for educators. The CPE’s goal is to engage and support faculty, staff, and administrators in change for equitable, inclusive, and student-centered institutions. We meet educators wherever they are in their development as professional teachers and provide practical strategies backed by theoretical frameworks. The center relies on Skagit Valley College’s team research, experience, and lessons learned to guide our curriculum. The CPE invites all educational institutions to utilize the center to promote equity.

The Center for Participatory Excellence seeks to:

Disrupt

Teaching and learning cannot take place for all students and instructors in institutions that maintain historical structures of knowledge, privilege, and power. As such, we cannot teach or learn unless we disrupt those structures. While most educators will say that they are committed to student success, their existing set of educational ideologies, behaviors, relationships, and pedagogies continues to exclude non-white, non-privileged individuals from learning. The Center for Participatory Excellence uses data and inquiry to discover the ways in which educators perpetuate inequities so that we can begin the real work of closing opportunity gaps. To disrupt power structures in a responsible way, it is essential to provide well-organized instruction and parameters for learning while still co-creating meaning with students. Intentional, courageous, innovative curriculum is necessary for balancing parameters and student experience.  At the CPE, we provide educators with the tools needed to create curriculum that challenges the status quo while building students’ essential academic competencies.

Engage

If institutions are going to become equitable, all educators within institutions need to own equity work as a professional necessity and requirement. The few cannot sustain lasting change. Because of this, the Center for Participatory Excellence helps institutions create formal structures of trust and participation. We offer strategies for on-boarding individuals from multiple ideologies and backgrounds and insist that equity work is everyone’s work.

Support

Creating equitable institutions is difficult. It requires trust, vulnerability, critical self-reflection, creativity, failure, time, and stamina. In addition, many educators receive little to no teacher training before they are tasked with closing opportunity gaps. This leaves educators feeling overwhelmed and underprepared for the massive responsibility of addressing inequities. At the CPE, we approach equity work as a professional responsibility. We believe that everyone is responsible for change and thus needs adequate support to become successful equity-minded practitioners. We help institutional leaders create workplans for supporting faculty and staff as they take on the critical endeavor of examining their own biases, transforming their curriculum, and changing their interactions with students.

Offerings

Skagit Valley College Professional Development

WHAT

The Center for Participatory Excellence provides ongoing pedagogical training for Skagit Valley College faculty and administration. Training includes:

  • Inclusive Excellence/Pedagogy Learning Groups
  • Online Excellence
  • Backward Design
  • TILT
  • Customized Training for Programs Based on Program Review Needs

In addition, the center partners with the Office for Equity and Inclusion to provide racial justice training opportunities.

WHO

Who should take advantage of the Center for Participatory Excellence? All SVC faculty! We welcome you to reach out with any problems of practice that you wish to explore. We are here to provide research, resources, and support for teaching and learning.

DETAILS

Contact [email protected] to get support from the center

Inclusive Pedagogy Faculty Institute

WHAT

This institute addresses the following essential questions through discussion, reading, speakers, and videos:

  • What are practical tools for creating equitable outcomes for all students in the classroom?
  • How can we ensure that our campuses reflect the communities and students that we serve?
  • How can we work across differences?
  • How can we apply social justice to pedagogy?
  • How can we promote student success through inclusive curriculum?
  • What challenging realities do students face within our classrooms?
  • How might our personal and institutional values unintentionally obstruct student opportunities?
  • How do we get all faculty to engage in equity work?

WHO

Who should join the institute? Faculty and administrators who

  • Are interested in improving student success and closing opportunity gaps in the classroom
  • Want to collaborate across disciplines in a supportive environment
  • Are interested in strategies that promote success for ALL students

DETAILS

  • Three-day two-night pedagogy retreat
  • Cost: $750 per person
  • Cost includes food and lodging
  • Location UWs Pack Forest Conference Center (Eatonville)
  • Please note that a nursing educator institute will be available as well
  • Contact [email protected] for dates

*Please contact [email protected] for details during remote operations.

Inclusive Excellence Deans Institute

WHAT

This institute developed out of the Inclusive Pedagogy Faculty Institute. It addresses the following essential topics through discussion, reading, speakers, and videos:

  • How instructional deans can become Equity Minded Practitioners
  • How to create a culture of equity in your faculty area
  • How to establish a common cognitive framework for equity
  • How to leverage your positionality
  • How to frame and design guided pathways as an opportunity to address equity gaps

WHO

Who should join the institute? Deans who

  • Are interested in supporting faculty in improving student success and closing opportunity gaps in the classroom
  • Want to collaborate across disciplines in a supportive environment
  • Are interested in strategies that promote success for ALL students

DETAILS

  • Three-day two-night pedagogy retreat
  • Cost: $750 per person
  • Cost includes food and lodging
  • Location UWs Pack Forest Conference Center (Eatonville)
  • Contact [email protected] for dates

*Please contact [email protected] for details during remote operations.

On-Site Inclusive Pedagogy Faculty Training (Upon Request)

Institutions can request on-site faculty training from the CPE. While we are not always able to fulfill these requests, we will do our best to do so.

Remote Follow-Up Support and Instruction (On-Going)

The CPE provides remote on-going pedagogical support and instruction to educators who have gone through one of our institutes. We only ask that participants share their institutional progress and insights as we work towards system-wide change.

Background

In spring of 2015, Skagit Valley College held a Student Success Summit to identify a Student Success Strategy. At the onset of the summit, there was a group of faculty, administrators, and staff who envisioned this strategy as a tool for crafting a more equitable institution. It was clear that the implementation of the Student Success Strategy could either reinforce historical inequities or work to disassemble institutional barriers to student success. To ensure the latter, faculty leaders and the Office of Instruction established the Inclusive Pedagogy Faculty Learning Group with the goal of engaging faculty with the work of closing opportunity gaps.

While various groups and individuals across campus were already engaged in inclusive pedagogy prior to the Student Success Summit, the campus-wide Student Success Strategy implementation provided a new opportunity for coordination and capacity. Because the work posed some very real challenges (one of which is that it causes educators to confront the realities of institutional and individual privilege and bias), it led to a sense of vulnerability for many members of the institutional community. However, it also gave instructors the opportunity to be intentional and innovative with curriculum and institutional design. Given this change dynamic, one of the main goals of the Inclusive Pedagogy Faculty Learning Community was to create what a generative structure— a space wherein faculty are provided with the support needed for meaningful reflection, revision, and innovation.

Participation is now required for all new full-time faculty. The learning community is now structured like a problem-based course with assigned readings, weekly meetings, assignments, opportunities for application, and guest speakers. An external evaluator found that because of the learning community the majority of participants “could identify practices that were exclusionary and that they have made changes to curriculum and instructional assessments.” The learning community has been successful in shifting ideology on our campus, and we are now using this structure to redesign program and course outcomes, create a program review process, revise curriculum, and create equitable assessments.

As SVC presented on this work state-wide and nationally, it became clear that there is a need for highly-scaffolded training on inclusive pedagogy for faculty, administration, and staff at community colleges. As such, we started the Center for Participatory Excellence.

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