Equity-mindedness is a term developed and used extensively by the Center for Urban Education (CUE) at University of Southern California. “Equity-minded individuals will reflect on institution-based dysfunctions and consider their own roles and responsibilities as well as those of their colleagues in the production of equitable educational outcomes.” The process involves examination of intentionally measured education outcomes and disparities through open and transparent processes. Equity-mindedness involves knowledge of practices and power roles that create barriers to specific student populations. For the purposes of this paper, institutional equity-mindedness is described as refocusing the institutional outlook on equitable outcomes through adequate research and monitoring with a purpose to close gaps. Equity-minded institutions examine policies and practices that treat equity superficially. This examination looks at faculty hiring policies and program and course practices as well as student pathways to determine internal goals based upon data.
University of Southern California. (2010). Center for Urban Education, Rossier School of Education Website http://cue.usc.edu/
Appendix C: Cultural Competency
Cultural competence was originally described by Cross et al (1989) but has been applied to a variety of perspectives, institutions, and needs since then. In addition, federal statutes, state legislation, grant requirements, and effective practices are stimulating integration of cultural competence into many academic environments. For the purposes of this paper, cultural competency refers to the environment established and effort made by institutions to reach across cultural differences with understanding and effective communication. The term cultural is purposefully used to refer to embedded customs, values, behaviors and beliefs that may cross ethnic boundaries. The term competency is used to refer to a demonstrable skill or ability to recognize, communicate, and integrate diverse cultural understanding into one’s own behavior and work. Like any competency, people are born without this ability but grow and mature to become more and more skillful or competent.
Cultural competence has been well-developed in healthcare and counseling services because the focus is on the ability to understand and communicate with individuals in an effort to achieve equitable outcomes among all populations. The definition of cultural competence from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (2005) says,
Cultural and linguistic competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enables effective work in cross-cultural situations. 'Culture' refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups. 'Competence' implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs presented by consumers and their communities. (Adapted from Cross, 1989).
Many organizations believe that cultural competency is one of the main ingredients in closing the disparities and gaps in health care, education, and other service areas. The national shift in ethnic and cultural diversity requires that we re-evaluate our practices, communication, and services in order to provide equitable support and outcomes to the widest range of diverse students. The National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University describes culturally competent organizations as characterized by values and principles that support effective cross-cultural work, value diversity (particularly the diversity of communities they serve), and create concomitant policies and practices.
Cultural competence is NOT a set of quotas for particular populations or recognition and labeling of particular ethnic groups. The essence of cultural competency is a personal and institutional commitment to a culture of inquiry and respect that leads to better communication and successful outcomes. Cross et al (1989) cite components to becoming more culturally competent: valuing diversity, assessment of your own culture, awareness of cultural interactions, capacity for institutionalized cultural knowledge, and adapting practices for cultural diversity. “Cultural competence is a developmental process that evolves over an extended period. Both individuals and organizations are at various levels of awareness, knowledge and skills along the cultural competence continuum. (adapted from Cross et al., 1989), National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University, p. 1.”
Appendix G: USC – Center for Urban Education’s Equity Scorecard and Benchmarking
This information was taken directly off the CUE website
“The CUE Equity Model incorporates numerous equity-based assessment instruments and processes, most prominently the Equity Scorecard and the collection of inquiry tools included in the California Benchmarking Project’s Equity-based Assessment Toolkit. Today, the Equity Model can be used to guide a complete cycle of action research involving problem identification, problem contextualization, informed interventions, experimentation, and problem solving.
What is “Equity”?
In higher education, “equity” refers to creating opportunities for equal access and success among historically underrepresented student populations, such as racial and ethnic minority and low-income students, in three main areas:
Representational equity, the proportional participation at all levels of an institution;
Resource equity, the distribution of educational resources in order to close equity gaps; and
Equity-mindedness, the demonstration of an awareness of and willingness to address equity issues among institutional leaders and staff.
The Equity Scorecard (EqS), a component of the CUE Equity Model, is an ongoing initiative designed to foster institutional change in higher education. Its fundamental aim is to close the achievement gap for historically underrepresented students. The idea for the Equity Scorecard was initially developed when it became evident that equity, while valued, is not something that is measured in relation to educational outcomes for traditionally disenfranchised students in higher education. CUE’s Equity Scorecard (formerly called the Diversity Scorecard) has helped practitioners at over forty two-year and four-year campuses see for themselves inequities reflected in their own institutional data. With this heightened level of awareness, colleges often then expanded inquiry activities to learn more about the racial patterns and ethical of inequality on their campuses.
As used in the CUE Equity Model, benchmarking is a process of comparing educational practices in one locale, such as a universities or community college, to established standards, to prior performance, and to the practices and outcomes of peer institutions. Beginning with the California Benchmarking Project, CUE developed three benchmarking strategies to create structured opportunities for learning, innovation, and change. These are:
Performance benchmarking — used to improve performance and promote equity in student outcomes.
Effective practices benchmarking — used to identify practices that practitioners on other campuses, and/or the research and policy literature, consider effective.
Process benchmarking — used to contextualize problems and possible solutions.
Benchmarking is an integral component of the CUE Equity Model.
Center for Urban Education researchers consider the Equity Model to be part of the solution in improving academic prospects for Latinos and other minority students. The Equity Model is a multilayered process, which includes collecting and analyzing data to determine student retention rates and academic performance among different racial and ethnic groups, exploring reasons for the data results and then developing solutions for improvements. For more information, visit http://cue.usc.edu/equity_model/”