It is often a point of frustration and sometimes confusion when faculty move to the chief instructional officer (CIO) ranks and hear sentiments such as, “Ooh—you’re working with the dark side now.” Are we really intending to be in opposition to each other as faculty and CIOs? Why vilify each other instead of work in unison? Teamwork and unification is imperative, especially as we grapple with a post-pandemic era and with the racial reckoning and movement toward equity and liberation.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY CIOS WISH FACULTY WOULD REMEMBER ABOUT THEM?
As we think about collaborating across institutions, our colleges and our students are better served when we truly get to know each other as individuals. Chief instructional officers often come from the faculty ranks. They often have spent years teaching; going through tenure processes; working as part-time faculty; advising students; serving on shared governance committees; writing curriculum, syllabi, and program reviews; and dedicating themselves to serving all students who walked through their classroom doors. They became directors and/or deans first in order to support students, hoping their work and faculty experiences would serve their colleges to bolster instructional programs and support ongoing, meaningful change. At the heart of serving as a modern CIO is training and learning equity-minded practices that will foster student engagement and promote racial and social justice for employees and students. The real value and key to success in these efforts is collaboration with faculty colleagues, support from the academic senate, and hard work to build relationships of trust. Once trust is established then true collaboration can ensue which will allow us to break down institutional barriers, knock down silos, and promote success for students, for employees, and to build a stronger, more cohesive campus community.
WHAT DO YOU AS FACULTY NEED OR WOULD LIKE TO SEE FROM CIOS?
We need support and resources to incentivize IDEAA (inclusion, diversity, equity, antiracism, accessibility) work. Budgets are value statements, as Deputy Chancellor Daisy Gonzalez often says. Too often, the work falls to one or a few equity champions who already have too much on their plates and are stretched too thin with managing workloads and caring for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) students flooding our offices. Support with regular and consistent investment into equity-minded tools, investment into culturally responsive professional learning activities, and funding for intentional spaces and conversations on race and equity gaps is vital for us.
We need CIOs and administrators who will put resources into the work, stand shoulder to shoulder with us, and make the way easier; we need those who will create safe conditions to have courageous conversations about race and systemic barriers. We need leaders who believe in us; center BIPOC narratives; and provide cover for us from microaggressions, macroaggressions, marginalization, and racism. And in the same way, BIPOC CIOs need that same kind of faculty support to enact change that protects employees and students.
We need CIOs who understand and support culturally responsive teaching and learning and who invest in cultural humility with accountability. And to those who have supported and provided the cover—thank you.
SO HOW DO WE BUILD LEADERSHIP AND CENTER DIVERSITY WITH INTENTIONALITY?
Understanding the true potential behind the Call to Action for racial equity and social justice, both organizations, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) and the California Community Colleges Chief Instructional Officers (CCCCIO), have invested in empowering BIPOC leadership within the organizations. Here are just a few examples of how ASCCC and CCCCIO are working to advocate for ongoing, organizational IDEAA change.
ASCCC continues to center IDEAA intentionally into the work we do to support the faculty body and in collaborations with system partners. ASCCC has also invested in marginalized faculty groups such as Black, Indigenous, people of color, and women with the development of the new Faculty Empowerment and Leadership Academy (FELA) program.
CCCCIO developed the successful ALIVE program (Advancing Leadership Institute for Instructional VPs in Equitable Education) which focused on a yearlong training for directors and deans of color who are interested in becoming chief instructional officers. This mentoring and training program provided professional services and safe spaces throughout the 2021-22 academic year to build future leaders to change the makeup of the organization. The organization has committed to fund this institute in perpetuity, committing to “put its money where its mouth is” and institutionalizing DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) leadership. The CCCCIO also updated its constitution to include DEI principles and created the executive board position of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advocate. The DEI Advocate serves in a two-year position, elected by the general organization, and tasked with representing the CCCCIO on the statewide DEIA Taskforce as well as advocating in all CCCCIO organizational activities. In 2019, the organization began to focus each of its biennial conferences on DEI principles and updated its logo and motto to reflect “Equity at Our Core.”
Both organizations value and prioritize equity-driven systems and support faculty and administrators in their action toward these aims, investing in unity, equity, and providing a model, we hope, for our system on working together.
WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO TEAM UP THIS YEAR?
ASCCC and CCCCIO have intentionally worked as a team, locking arms to charge forward toward deeper work in diversity, equity, social justice, and antiracism. The culmination of the work and the team building has resulted in the soon-to-be distributed DEI Model Principles and Practices that focus on culturally responsive teaching and learning examples for colleges, local curriculum committees, academic senates, and classrooms. In April 2022, at the annual CCCCIO conference, ASCCC partnered with CIO leaders from 5C (California Community College Curriculum Committee) to train and provide promising practices to CIOs from across the state during an interactive pre-session event. CIOs and faculty anticipate providing more professional learning opportunities together in fall of 2022 to support local processes and practices.
ASCCC and CCCCIO plan to provide collaboration with the CCC Chancellor’s Office in rolling out professional development to support the DEI Model Principles and Practices. Additionally, faculty and CIOs will highlight the content and examples during a general session at the annual 2022 Curriculum Institute.
You can be part of the movement by starting the conversation with your CIO and your team. If you need promising practices to begin the work, ASCCC has a folder of resources for courageous conversations.
THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY:
- Make an appointment to talk to your CIO about needed resources and support for the IDEAA work.
- Agendize IDEAA at every meeting.
- Collaborate with other campus constituents to make major IDEAA principles part of your annual institutional goals. Put those goals on your agendas, on your website, and post them EVERYWHERE on campus.
- Create a Cultural Humility Journey Map together.
- Return to the 2020 promises and antiracist pledge you may have written and passed and measure what progress you have made.
- Empower BIPOC leaders and create a succession plan to include more voices.
- Give yourself grace and space to be imperfect but keep going! Social justice work is ongoing, and you are needed.