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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 Seven Faculty Leadership in Enacting Educational Equity



Faculty Leadership in Enacting Educational EquityJERAMY WALLACE

The scope and persistence of inequities in institutional governance can seem overwhelming, especially considering that changing these systems of oppression requires widespread buy-in from all the constituencies involved in shared governance. Faculty leaders may ask themselves how they can garner enough support from colleagues to redress inequitable policies, procedures, and other structures or how they can work with members of the administration and staff to promote educational equity within areas of mutual interest and purview.

The simple answer is that this is not an easy task; many of the inequities and systems of oppression described in Chapter Six have persisted for decades and sometimes even centuries. Furthermore, faculty leaders may find that many of their colleagues are apathetic to equity or downright complicit in the perpetuation of oppression, believing instead in “colorblind” pedagogies and policies. As a result, redressing inequities on campus requires strong leadership abilities, including a diplomatic willingness to work with multiple constituencies. At the same time, equity-minded faculty leaders must be fiercely committed to the equity work that they are engaged in and willing to stand up to those who oppose equity and race-conscious initiatives.

This chapter will highlight the leadership qualities necessary to promote an equity agenda. First, we will offer a model of equity-minded leadership that draws on several theories of effective leadership, which will be followed by a discussion ←181 | 182→on how equity-minded leaders can overcome...

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