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SPOTLIGHT

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
724.738.2199
karl.schwab@sru.edu

SRU action research team examines equity gap

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa - Slippery Rock University has named an 11-member equity action research team as part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s joint program with the Center for Urban Education working toward decreasing the equity gap.

William Williams, provost and vice president for academic affairs, named the team.

All state system provosts are creating similar teams that will work individually on their campus and in conjunction with the overall state system project. The provosts have endorsed adoption of CUE’s Equity Scorecard, an organizational learning and change process designed to use institutional data to assess and improve success for underrepresented students.

    The SRU team is comprised of:

  • Jessamine Montero, senior officer for diversity and inclusion;

  • James Preston, assistant professor of elementary education and early childhood;

  • Carrie Birckbichler, director of SRU’s Office of Institutional Research;

  • Jerry Chmielewski, professor of biology;

  • Christopher Cole, director of the University Union;

  • Corinne Gibson, director of the Office of Multicultural Development;

  • Holly McCoy, assistant vice president of diversity and equal opportunity;

  • Rebecca Morrice, assistant professor of theatre;

  • John Rindy, director of the Office of Career Services;

  • Roger Solano, associate professor in SRU’s School of Business; and

  • Eva Tsuquiashi-Daddesio, dean of the College of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts.

Montero and Preston will serve as co-leaders of the team that will conduct action research from the perspectives of access, retention, excellence and completion.

“The team will use data that reflects the status of racial-ethnic equity along each of these perspectives,” Montero said. “The activities and findings of the evidence team will be documented and shared with the Slippery Rock University community through The Equity Scorecard Report.”

The scorecard will feature equity goals, interim benchmarks toward equity and an action plan.

The team will begin its research over the summer, Montero said.

The scorecard process includes a cycle of action inquiry involving identification of gaps in educational outcomes between racial-ethnic groups; inquiry into instructional and academic support practices affecting the academic success for underrepresented minority students; purposeful changes in practices based on the results of systematic inquiry; and evaluation of the effectiveness of interventions.

The center’s scorecard program is designed to help practitioners change themselves and their institutions to effectively create equitable outcomes for racialized students.

Scorecard originators report the process is distinguished by five phases:

  • Laying the Groundwork: Align the Equity Scorecard with existing campus efforts and identifying faculty, staff and administrators to lead the work;

  • Defining the Problem: Identify equity gaps in educational outcomes using tools that make the data real and actionable, conducting inquiry by asking additional questions;

  • Assessing Interventions: Inquire into instructional and academic support practices around identified focus areas and gaps;

  • Implementing Solutions: Make purposeful changes based on the results of systemic inquiry, setting goals for improved equity and effectiveness; and

  • Evaluating Results: Evaluate the effectiveness of changes and creating long term plans to reach equity goals.

The CUE system will enable the state system and its institutions to:

  • Identify inequities in outcomes through fine-grained data analyses;

  • Identify at what point in the education pipeline interventions are needed in order to increase college completion rates by a specified percentage;

  • Assess efforts to equitably serve students of color through qualitative and quantitative inquiry methods;

  • Design systematic interventions based on relevant data;

  • Engage faculty, administrators, and staff in a collaborative effort to improve college performance; and

  • Shift campus focus from student deficits to campus responsibility.

“The strength of the Equity Scorecard process is that the state system and its institutions are positioned to implement targeted interventions to achieve their desired goals based on what they learn from their self-assessment activities,” Montero said.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.