Student Equity Planning Institute (SEPI) 2019

Our Student Equity Planning Institutes provide campus practitioners with support, resources, and tools to use the revised equity planning process as an opportunity to address racial inequity. 

Our keynote speakers for our SEPIs in March included:

SEPI I (March 18-19, 2019)

Dr. Shaun Harper, USC Provost Professor and the Clifford and Betty Allen Chair in Urban Leadership

Shaun R. Harper, PhD, is a Provost Professor in the Rossier School of Education and Marshall School of Business at USC, the Clifford and Betty Allen Chair in Urban Leadership, and executive director of the USC Race and Equity Center. He is author of over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and other academic publications. Review of Research in Education, Teachers College Record, Harvard Educational Review, Journal of Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, and Journal of College Student Development are some journals that have published his research. Professor Harper is past president of ASHE and an elected member of AERA Executive Council. He serves on editorial boards for the Journal of Higher Education and American Education Research Journal, and was names an AERA Fellow in 2017. He also received the 2008 ASHE Early Career Award, the 2012 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Robert H. Shaffer Award for Faculty Excellence, and the 2014 American College Personnel Association Contribution to Knowledge Award. Governors State University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2017.

Dr. Sonya Christian, President, Bakersfield College

Dr. Sonya Christian began her three-decade career in education at BC in 1991, first as a math faculty member and later as division chair, the Dean of Science, Engineering, Allied Health and Mathematics. In 2003, Christian joined Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon as associate vice president for instruction, then vice president of academic and student affairs and chief academic officer. Christian returned home in 2013 after being selected as the 10th President in Bakersfield College’s prestigious history. Under her leadership, Christian has maintained the institution’s 100-plus year history of quality instruction while shepherding BC through an exciting phase of expanded opportunities for current and future students. Accomplishments during her timein office include BC being awarded permission by the state to begin offering a Baccalaureate degree in Applied Science in Industrial Automation, one of only 15 California community colleges selected to feature a four-year degree program; and earning a 2015 Exemplary Program Award from the Board of Governors for California Community College’s for BC’s ground-breaking “Making It Happen” mentoring program.

In 2016, Christian was nominated as “Woman of the Year” by Californian Assemblyman Rudy Salas for her accomplishments at Bakersfield College. She currently serves as a Commissioner on the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Christian earned her bachelor of science degree from University of Kerala in Kerala, India; a master of science in applied mathematics from University of Southern California; and her doctorate from University of California, Los Angeles.

SEPI II (March 25-26, 2019)

Dr. Laura I. Rendón, Professor of Higher Education, University of Texas – San Antonio

Laura I. Rendón is Professor Emerita at the University of Texas-San Antonio. She has also been an educational consultant and featured speaker at over 100 higher education institutions and conferences throughout the nation. Her presentations focus on topics such as student success, Latinx STEM students, and sensing/thinking deep learning experiences, as well as self-care and healing. A native of Laredo, Texas, Rendón developed “validation theory,” an asset-based student success framework that has been employed to frame research studies and programmatic activities in two-and four-year colleges and universities. She is the author of the book, Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking Pedagogy): Educating for Wholeness, Social Justice and Liberation, as well as numerous publication focusing on student success and contemplative education. She is a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, a member of the Board of Directors of the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education and former Fellow of the Fetzer Institute. In 2013 the Texas Diversity Council awarded Rendón the title of being one of the Most Powerful and Influential Women in Texas.

Dr. Amanda Tachine, Research Evaluation Associate, American-Indian College Fund

Dr. Amanda R. Tachine is Navajo from Ganado, Arizona. She is Náneesht’ézhí Táchii’nii (Zuni Red Running into Water clan) born for Tl’izilani (Many Goats clan). Her maternal grandfather’s clan is Tábaahí (Water’s Edge) and her paternal grandfather’s clan is Ashiihi (Salt). She is a research and evaluation associate at American Indian College Fund where she advances ideas and strategies to increase Native college student success. She is also an Affiliate for the Center for Indian Education at Arizona State University and an Affiliate for Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. Amanda was recognized by President Barack Obama with the White House Champions of Change: Young Women Empowering Communities award for her instrumental work in creating University of Arizona’s Native (SOAR) Student Outreach for Access and Resiliency, a multi-generation mentoring program to increase college access among Native youth and families. In addition, her dissertation was awarded the 2016 American Educational Research Association Division J Dissertation of the Year & Honorable Mention recognition from the International Congress Qualitative Inquiry Dissertation Award. She is part of National Women’s History Month as a National Girls Collaborative honoree and one of Walker’s Legacy Power Mentors.

Institute Content

Institute tools and sessions included in our two-day SEPI were data-based approaches to maximize the impact of student equity funds and other institutional resources, maps to move from data analysis into actionable practices, inquiry methods to identify causes of low success in course completion and basic skills, strategies to talk about race and equity constructively, activities to develop buy-in and get greater campus involvement in equity-focused change.

Both days also included Team Facilitation sessions and carefully constructed breakout sessions covering community college data templates, course observations and equity planning (refer to our SEPI 2019 Agenda below).


Breakout Sessions

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Participant Evaluations

At the end of each institute, CUE collects evaluations from attendees. The following are comments directly from our participants of our most recent Student Equity Planning Institute (March 2019 in Los Angeles, CA):

“Great conference. I was organized in a way that kept us engaged and attentive.

“Thank you Estela Bensimon for organizing this event.

“The entire institute was so beneficial and supportive. CUE is validating to the work we are doing on our home campus. Thank you!”

“[These sessions] really helped me to understand more in depth how a faculty member may create assumptions and opinions.