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Minding the Obligation Gap in Community Colleges and Beyond

Theory and Practice in Achieving Educational Equity


Jeremiah J. Sims, Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza, Lasana O. Hotep, Jeramy Wallace and Tabitha Conaway

It is difficult to find justice-centered books geared specifically for community college practitioners interested in achieving campus wide educational equity. It is even more difficult to find a book in this vein written, exclusively, by community college practitioners. Minding the Obligation Gap in Community Colleges and Beyond is just that: a concerted effort by a cross-representational group of community college practitioners working to catalyze conversations and eventually practices that attend to the most pressing equity gaps in and on our campuses. By illuminating the constitutive parts of the ever-increasing obligation gap, this book offers both theory and practice in reforming community colleges so that they function as disruptive technologies. It is our position that equity-centered community colleges hold the potential to call out, impede, and even disrupt institutionalized polices, pedagogies, and practices that negatively impact poor, ethno-racially minoritized students of color. If you and your college is interested in striving for educational equity campus-wide please join us in this ongoing conversation on how to work for equity for all of the students that we serve.

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Chapter Six A Critical Race Critique of Shared Governance



A Critical Race Critique of Shared GovernanceJERAMY WALLACE

Like administrators, members of the faculty leadership have an obligation to create equitable learning conditions within their spheres of control, whether it is in the classroom, during office hours, or in their programs. Faculty leaders, in particular, occupy an integral space for promoting educational equity, as they operate in both the classroom and within their college’s governance structures. As a result, it can be argued that faculty are in the best position to enact equitable practices that hold the potential to realize social justice. This is not to say that administrators and staff are not important—any educator who works with a student can have a positive (or negative) impact on students. In fact, because administrators, and sometimes staff members, operate within the same governance frameworks, any reader who works in the administration or classified staff can use the information in this chapter and the next to advocate for social justice. However, since much of these chapters detail inequity and social justice in matters under faculty purview, it is important to understand that, ultimately, it is up to the faculty to redress institutional equities in these academic matters.

Because shared governance and faculty purview are built on a foundation of tradition and, in many states, laws, they are vulnerable to institutionalizing racism and perpetuating oppression and inequity. As will be discussed in more detail below, this governance framework can include academic matters under faculty...

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