Educators, Counselors and Advocates Intersect at 2017 Equity Summit

More than 200 were in attendance at "Intersections"

2017 Equity Summit
NOVEMBER 1, 2017--Allan Hancock College and Cuesta College hosted more than 200 educators, counselors and advocates at the 2017 Equity Summit “Intersections.” The event took place at the Radisson Hotel in Santa Maria on October 27. This was the first time the two institutions co-hosted the event.
 
“It was great to work with Cuesta and learn about all of the great things they are doing for equity and diversity on their campus,” said Yvonne Teniente-Cuello, Hancock dean of student services. “We had one mission and that was to provide resources to our educators on the Central Coast.  Providing them with resources means that our students will be served with move empathy and compassion.”
 
Empathy was the subject Nika Hogan, Ph.D., explored in her keynote address, “The Other E-Learning: The Empathy Gap and its Relationship to the Equity Gap.” Hogan, associate professor of English at Pasadena City College, described her presentation as an old-fashioned, academic argument.
 
“Student engagement is the key to educational equity, and empathy is the key to engagement… I think it’s all about empathy,” said Hogan.
 
Hogan explained how even expertise as a professor in a particular academic discipline can be a barrier to empathy, as it makes educators less able to connect with student populations.
 
J. Luke Wood, Ph.D., associate professor at San Diego State University, discussed his research on factors affecting the success of men of color in community colleges. Wood opened with a personal anecdote detailing the events of his college career after his father was incarcerated.
 
“I went from having a system of support to really no support,” said Wood. “I would go three days at a time without eating anything. If there was a campus event, I would be there because they would give out food. In a strange way, I got used to being hungry.”
 
Wood explained how his personal experience shaped the perspective for his research regarding food and housing insecurities that students face, and how institutions can provide resources for those in need.
 
“We’re researching the experiences that we have had and how we know it affected our success and then looking at how we can better support these types of students,” said Wood.  
 
University of California, Santa Barbara professor of sociology Victor Rios, Ph.D., presented “The Power of Education and Civic Engagement in the Lives of Men of Color.” Rios used personal experiences from his childhood to demonstrate discrepancies in certain cultural and academic values.
 
“Being ‘prepared to learn’ is assuming I was well fed the night before and the morning of. It’s assuming that I have all the materials I have to ‘be prepared.’ It means I wasn’t psychologically traumatized on the way to school in the neighborhood I live in. We really have to reflect on how our value system is colliding with our student populations,” said Rios.
 
Rios also described the dichotomy of a person who dreams about accomplishments and the person who strives for the same accomplishments.
 
“There is a big difference between the dreamer and the striver. The striver knows day-to-day, on a very practical, pragmatic basis, what it’s going to take to get to that dream. The dreamer is just dreaming,” said Rios. “So I was dreaming, but I wasn’t striving. The job of the educator is to turn dreamers into strivers.”
 
Organizers strived to increase compassion among summit participants. They believe they accomplished their mission.  
 
“This event is extremely important because we need to hear the newest research, data and best practices,” said Teniente-Cuello. “It gets us all in the same room to speak about equity in schools and reminds us of our greater purpose: to serve all students.”
 
                                                                                                               - AHC -
 
Caption: A crowd of 200 educators and counselors listen attentively to the speakers at the 2017 Equity Summit.

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Last Modified Nov 1, 2017