Friday, July 19, 2024
The RP Group

 Theme, Goals, & Strands

Teaching and Learning at a Crossroads: Where Do We Go From Here?

The higher education landscape has shifted in the last few years. Online classes, AI, basic skills reform, meeting students’ basic needs, free speech, decreased enrollment, transforming equity and many other changes have brought us to a crossroads for teaching and learning. The question is, what happens when we come to a crossroads and we don’t have directions? What do we feel? Panic, curiosity, fear, a sense of adventure? Maybe all of these emotions at once? How do we choose the right path?

This year’s conference theme encourages us to be open to new directions and opportunities. It reminds us of long-standing inequities in students’ outcomes and inspires us to chart new paths to create necessary changes to meet our students’ needs. Our theme invites us to begin a new journey that includes students as partners to close opportunity gaps for everyone. We have a new generation of students, and, like all new generations, they see the world differently. Our teaching must be worthy of this generation of students’ time and energy to learn. Our responsibility lies in helping them see value in taking the journey through higher education for their own lives and the lives of their families. However, it is not just our students whom we have to bring along on the journey—we must also help our diverse community to see that higher education is a public good and valuable for everyone.

The new landscape for teaching and learning provides for rigor and accountability with a strong dose of love, compassion, and grace as survival tools to meet the challenges along the way. Internal, external, and cultural forces will shape the journey in both positive and negative ways. We may sometimes face obstacles and bumps in the road, but we will weather the storm and return to the journey with greater resolve to transform equity for ourselves and our students. Let’s begin a new journey with a love for our students and extend compassion as we walk alongside them.

By attending Strengthening Student Success Conference 2024 (SSSC24), attendees will

  • Understand critical issues that shape student success in the California community colleges;

  • Understand how colleges are scaling practical, equitable, race-conscious, and evidence-based practices to advance student success;

  • Learn and commit to implementing concepts and ideas highlighted at the conference to create student-ready, race-conscious, and equitable institutions;

  • Learn and commit to strategies that engage students in designing a race-conscious and equitable student experience;

  • Exchange ideas with colleagues and other stakeholders; and

  • Be empowered to lead change and speak truth to power.

  • Collaborating Across Sectors and Segments: Race-Conscious Partnerships and Networks

  • Redressing Structural Inequities to Achieve More Equitable Institutions

  • Achieving Equity in the Classroom: Critical Changes That Champion Race- Consciousness and Improve Teaching and Learning

  • Creating Equitable Support Systems for Students and Employees With Love and Compassion

  • Building Culturally Robust and Positive Practices That Humanize Our Students: Professional Learning and Leadership Development

  • Strategic and Integrated Planning to Create Caring, Equitable, and Race-Conscious Campus Communities

You may notice that we are using the term “race conscious” or “race consciousness” in our strand descriptions and goals for this year’s conference. We believe we should continue to evolve in our use of vocabulary and focus on equity, diversity, inclusion, and antiracism. After robust consultation with colleagues who are deeply and actively engaged in this work, we agreed that race consciousness better explains our work.

The term "race conscious" considers the historical and systematic implications that race contributes to educational outcomes and disparities. Embracing a race-conscious approach transcends the mere inclusion of antiracist statements. Engaging in race consciousness acknowledges the barriers that have historically and continue to exist within our system and involves the deliberate creation and implementation of policies, curricula, practices, and processes geared toward affirming the well-being of all racial groups.