Student Equity: From Dialog and Access to Action

Equity and Diversity
Equity and Diversity Action Committee

This paper provides specific suggestions to help local faculty make more purposeful use of program-level student equity data on their campuses and suggests best practices for the use of these data as local colleges develop their equity and diversity plans. It will help California community colleges in establishing and maintaining an active link between equity plans and the ongoing review of course and program planning and accreditation. Student equity, which is parity in the achievement and success of all student populations, continues to be a concern for California community colleges, and this paper is meant to be a resource in meeting ethical, professional, and legal responsibilities to facilitate success for all students. The paper provides recommended actions for local senates, links to resources for locating external data and research, principles for effective use of data, and a discussion of the new federal and state guidelines for ethnicity data collection.


  • Locate the college’s student equity plan and consider providing an electronic link to it on the senate’s web site.
  • Host a discussion group to read the plan and discuss its meaning. Is it substantive? Is it a usable document? Is it accurate? Bring any suggestions for improvement to the senate for discussion.
  • Review the college equity plan by division and program and discern its applicability on each level.
  • Invite the college or district researcher to a senate meeting to explain the use of data and especially the use of student demographic data.
  • Have an authentic dialog about the equity plan and the meaning of equity. Be sure to include students in all discussions about equity, reviewing data, and developing strategies and goals for the college.
  • Provide professional development activities for faculty on the concept of equity, the value and meaning of diversity, and activities that may improve student equity, including but not limited to pedagogy, cultural competence, and reflective teaching.
  • Ensure that the application of the college equity plan is integrated into the program review process.
  • Ensure that student equity is part of the college’s budget and planning process.
  • Decide what data are needed to take a close and authentic look at student equity at the college and in individual programs and areas.
  • Find out what data the college can easily produce. Take steps to ensure that other necessary data are made available.
  • Advocate for providing faculty with disaggregated data.
  • Review and revise as necessary the college’s student equity plan. Make sure that all groups participate to ensure full support of the plan.
  • Advocate for and support professional development activities for classified and administrative staff, including but not limited to cultural diversity, service skills, and diverse communication styles.
  • Set a college goal that equity is essential.
  • Use the assessment tool included in this paper or a similar, locally designed tool.
  • Use tools to assess cultural competence and bias.