Employing an Asset-based Framework to Foster Equity and Student Success

>>Welcome, my name is Frank
Chong and I’m the President of Santa Rosa Junior College and
it’s an honor to be here today. We have a very, very special
speaker, we are very graced by Professor Rendon who came
all the way from University of Texas, San Antonio. And I was talking to
her that I first went to her beautiful city last
year and just fell in love with San Antonio and came back and told my Vice-President
Ricardo we have to have a conference down there. And so for her to
come and visit us here in usually sunny
northern California but you brought the rain
Professor and we need it for our grapes and for
our water supply so. But I think today and I
want to thank Dean Collier, I want to thank you know all
the folks who are responsible for the Speaker Series. We’re going to begin a
Speaker Series to talk about student success, to
talk about student equity, to talk about student
success and completion. And I’ve been watching, this
is my forth year starting in January and even in
that short time in being in Sonoma County I’ve
witnessed the constant changing in demographic of the
community and it’s something that Vice-President
Navarette who will speak next, has witnessed for over 20 years. But clearly the type of
students we have is changing and we’re all about completion,
we all want to get students to come to the college and
complete whatever aspiration and goal that you have,
for those of you students and for our faculty members to
really equip you with the type of pedagogy, with the type of
insights that’s really going to help students complete
their course of study and hopefully become you
know fully employable in today’s economy. So today we have a very, very
unique opportunity to hear from a nationally renowned
speaker who really understands about cultural competency,
who understands and is expert in areas that I think will
be tremendously beneficial to our audience and
to our community so at this time I just want
to welcome you and I want to turn it over to
our Vice-President of Student Services,
Ricardo Navarette to introduce our esteemed
speaker, thank you. [ Applause ]>>Thank you Dr. Chong and
thank you for those of you who have braved the cold
and wet Sonoma weather to be here this evening
to listen to some wisdom and experience from
Dr. Laura Rendon. You know it’s really neat to
introduce somebody you’ve read about and in our literature, in our educational
literature particularly about students of color. This individual, this professor,
Dr. Rendon is a national figure, she has done research that has
shifted the educational view point on how students
can be successful and what is the institution’s
responsibility in directing the success
of those students. So this is a special treat
for me to be with her and to share some thoughts, this is what I would call an
intellectual giant in the field of higher education in the United States,
so it is an honor. I’ll read a little bit
about her biography, Dr. Rendon is professor of
higher education in the college of education and human
development at the University of Texas, San Antonio
or as we say San Anton. She is also co-Director of the
Center for Research and Policy in Education, she’s a
nationally recognized scholar, speaker and consultant. Her work focuses on
assisting low income, first generation
college students to enter and graduate from college. In 2013, just two years ago, the Texas Diversity Council
named Laura Rendon as one of Texas’ most powerful and influential women,
wow, right here. [ Applause ] Rendon developed the theory
of validation and she’s going to maybe explain tonight a
little bit about the theory of validation which has
been employed extensively as a framework for working with
students, to guide educators, teacher and leaders in
education on the needs of these particular students. She also developed a teaching and learning model called let
me try this, Sentipensante which is a combination of
words of sensing and thinking. Rendon is cofounder
and past board chair of the National Council
for Community and Education Partnerships, Past
President for the Association for the Study of Higher
Education which is the nations, our countries premier
scholarly organization focusing on higher education research. So she is recognized by
the professional elite in educational research
in this country. Dr. Rendon earned a PhD,
a doctor of philosophy in higher education
administration from the University of
Michigan in Ann Arbor. She holds an MA degree in
counselling and guidance and psychology from Texas
A and M in Kingsville and she earned a Bachelor of
Arts in English and Journalism from the University of Houston. And proudly she holds an
Associate of Arts degree from a community college,
San Antonio College. Rendon also attended down in
Laredo, Laredo Community College in her native hometown
of Laredo, Texas. If I was to look at her resume and summarize her intellectual
theme I see it as communication, as a journalism writer, as
a counselor, as an educator, as a research and what
her theories have present to us is approaches models of
communication between people, the teacher and the student. Dr. Rendon, it’s my pleasure.>>Thank you. [ Applause ] Thank you so much to all of you
for joining me this evening, I know it’s kind
of cool for you, although I was telling my
friends here that if you’re in Iowa or Michigan
this is nothing. But at any rate great you got
the rain, I know you needed it. So it’s a pleasure for me to
come here and share a little bit about what I know that can
help students to be successful. This is a special drawing that
was done for us in our center and you notice the keys
in these student’s chests, it’s the magic key, magic key,
[foreign language] and that’s to get a degree when you have
an education like my father used to tell me, no one can
take that away from you, no one can take your education
away, you’ve got that magic key. And so for you students
that are here tonight, my talk is dedicated to you. This is why I do my work, I do
it for you so that you students who I share your story,
can actually not only get into college but get through
college and earn degrees. Let’s see here, does this need
to be turned on, there we go. Let me begin a little bit about
how I enter the work that I do. This is a house in Laredo,
Texas, 517 Galveston, that I used to live in for
much of my early youth. A very modest house that
my grandmother lived in and then my mom bought
it from her for $5,000. Like in the 60’s. And my house now looks
very different from that but you know this is part of
my origins, this is who I am. Growing up in poverty in Laredo,
Texas, having hopes and dreams but not knowing how
to realize them. Wanting to do better
than my parents who had to work just morning,
noon and night to help the family to survive. And knowing that I had to get
an education in order for me to do better and advance myself. But I wasn’t quite
sure how to do that. I’m also a border
woman, in Laredo, how many of you know
Laredo, Texas? Okay, so it’s right on the U.S.,
Mexico border and so growing up in those border
lands, Mexican, American. Eating Tacos and hamburgers. And mixing up the
American part of me with the Mexican part of me. It’s a really interesting
dynamic you know that goes on in our heads without
us realizing it. But all of that, all of that
poverty, all of those struggles, all of those hopes and
all of those dreams. And all of that journey
that took me all the way from the barrio of Laredo,
Texas to the elite University of Michigan, where I got my
doctorate has been an incredible journey for me. And as I think about it,
I think about the assets that you students
have, and that I had, that are often unrecognized
and unacknowledged. So that’s going to be part of
my topic for tonight to talk about these assets that students
have because I think it’s time to shatter what I call
the dominant deficit based framework. Often in higher ED in two
and in four year colleges and universities we work
with this deficit framework which really goes against
equity, it goes against parody, it goes against student success. It’s a framework where students
are viewed automatically as deficient. It’s a framework where students
are pathologized, stigmatized, a framework that says these
students are too overwhelming, all they bring is problems. And I think it’s time to
shatter that framework because I think it’s wrong. Can you imagine, can you
imagine Berkeley talking about students that way? Can you imagine UCLA talking
about students as problems? Can you imagine Stanford talking about how students don’t
know anything and you know, people don’t want to
work with students? They don’t deal with
students that way. These wealthy elite colleges see
every student as a possibility, every student as someone
who can learn, every student who brings some wealth
with them into the teaching and learning experience
and that’s a big thing that I believe we need to do
in higher education today, we need to shatter this
deficit thinking and replace it with theories and models
that are aligned more closely with the experience, the
strengths and the culture of underserved student
populations. We also need to consider
as educators that structural inequalities
work against low income students. If you have a history
of poverty you know that there is also
associated with that a history of exclusion, a history
of discrimination of racism, of stereotyping. A history of unequal schooling where all the resources were
not there for us to learn. I went to schools in Laredo, Texas and no one there
encouraged me really to go to college. A history of unequal
school financing. A history of segregated
schools which exists even today and a history of poverty. Yet despite these obstacles,
despite the challenge of overcoming poverty,
the challenge of overcoming discrimination, despite these obstacles many
students like me and you succeed and the key is how did we do it? You know, we didn’t have a lot
of money, we didn’t have a lot of encouragement, we didn’t
go to the best schools, we didn’t have the
best teachers, we didn’t have the best
resources and yet I’m here today with a PhD from the University
of Michigan and you’re here and somehow you got here
students and we have to figure out what was it that
in spite of all of these obstacles you’re here and you’re working
hard to succeed. That’s how we need to
approach education, not from your problems
you can’t make it, you went to the worst schools, you didn’t have the best
teachers, let’s do away with all of that and begin to think
of students and the assets that they bring and how
they use those assets, that cultural wealth, to
succeed despite the odds. So let’s look at what these
assets of students are. I want to share with you a study
that we did at the University of Texas, San Antonio. And we interviewed
students we wanted to find out what are positive
and negative aspects of the college experience and we’re looking
particularly at Latino students. And we wanted to
identify their assets, how is it that they
become survivors, how is it that they
haven’t dropped out? So we had focus groups that we
interviewed, 47 students there and then from those 47 we
selected 6 that we did one on one video-taped interviews
and I’m going to show you some of those videos tonight. So, one of the things
that we learned is that there is an upside to
attending college for students. Attending college is a
transition, you’re breaking away from high school
to go to college. You’re breaking away
from your community to enter the world of college. And like every transition it
has its ups and its downs. It’s like when we get a new
job there’s the excitement of that new job, you’re
going to be making more money or meeting new people but then
as you get into it about a year or two later you
begin to notice some of the tensions involved
with that job. Some of the gossiping,
some of the, you know some people getting
more money than others, I mean you know all
transitions carry that. You know when we meet
someone, we’re so excited, oh my God this is person
that I’ve always wanted and then a few months
down the line, we’re like well I’m
not quite sure now. These are transitions, they all
carry their ups and their downs, the same thing with college, so
these were some of the up sides that students talked about. They were really excited
about making new friends, about interacting
with diverse students. This new experience that
they were going to have and learning new things
and new perspectives. But then there’s the
downside, the choking, as [foreign language]
would call it. The cultural collision that
happens as students move away from their home realities into
this brand new world of college that they don’t quite
understand yet. And that choking, that cultural
collision, involves liminality, involves separation
anxiety, involves dislocation and relocation and involves
experiencing micro aggressions. I think I messed this up, [ Pause ] okay, there we go. So let me talk about the
notion of liminality. Liminality is what [inaudible]
calls [foreign language] living between two worlds. This is a picture
I took in the U.S. /Mexico border down
in south Texas. You know Donald Trump
wants to build a wall, a wall is already there. And so I placed myself, you
know this is Mexico over here, this is the U.S. over here
and I placed myself right in the middle of that wall
because I am a border woman. Mexico is in me and
so is the U.S. And that is a middle
space of liminality, that is an in between space and
as students go to the border of college you know they’re
leaving their homes and yet entering this new space
or caught in the middle. Wow, you know I want to stay
connected with my family, I want to stay connected with
my friends but I also want to stay connected to
the world of college. I want to learn new things,
I want to make new friends, it’s that middle
space of liminality that students don’t get a
lot of help dealing with. There’s separation anxiety,
that’s another downside, the guilt intention
associated with leaving friends and family behind and
feeling lonely and home sick. Another downside is
dislocation and relocation where students are breaking away
from high school or transferring from a community college
to a four year or moving from one state to
another or even moving from one nation to another. We interviewed, you know,
a student from Bolivia, a student from Puerto Rico,
a student from South America and those are big transitions
that these students make to come the United
States and enter college. And then there’s
this whole notion of experiencing micro
aggression, these are these jabs, you
know that students feel when they are treated
as cultural outsiders, when they’re being made
fun of because of an accent or the foods that
they cook in the dorm. When women are not considered to
be good enough for STEM fields and men not be considered
good enough for sports. These are just some examples,
experiencing discrimination, experiencing racism, these are
all micro and macro aggressions that many students feel
on college campuses. And that’s another downside
of a college experience. And then of course
there’s the issue of money, not having enough money often,
I had to send money for sure to my mom because she worked
for $15 a week at a restaurant and that’s all she
had plus tips. So I felt guilty being in
college and so I made sure that I sent her money so
that she would always be okay financially. But that took money away from
me too but I knew that I had to send money home to also
help the family survive. And then of course
students talked about how sometimes high school
had not prepared them as well as it should have for
students to be successful. And they also talked about
less than adequate advising where sometimes they were placed
in the wrong academic plan where they had difficulties
registering, etcetera. So advisors play a
critical role with students in giving them the
right information. So this chart here
basically puts everything that I’ve just talked
about together. Over here is the
world of the students and actually they are multiple
worlds, it’s not just one world. The world of familia, the world
of their friends or peers, the world of work and
many of them are working, the spiritual world, the world
of the barrio and community and if they happen to be from
another country the world of the native country. And so the students are moving
from these personal worlds, okay to get into
the world of college and they experience this
choking or cultural collision that involves dislocation and
relocation and then they come up with these college
world challenges that I just talked about. Now those of us that were
able to do all of this without any assistance,
where we just did it, that speaks to tremendous
intelligence. It speaks to the intelligence of
being able to navigate yourself in unfamiliar territory, it’s
speaks to the intelligence of having guts and
motivation and determination. It speaks to the intelligence
of being able to learn the world of college with hardly any help. So students have assets, they’re
not dumb, they have assets. This is a study that
was done in the center for community college
student engage at UT Austin, and they were doing a
study of men of color because our male students are
not doing as well as women in colleges and universities
today. And here’s a list of the things that they found make a
difference for men of color. Personal connections,
a sense of belonging and someone who believes
in them. It’s something I
call validation, someone who is the
champion of the student, someone who says
I believe in you, someone who says
the intelligence that you have is good, the
experiences that you bring to this campus are good,
I’m going to help you. Here is my cell phone number,
let me see your homework, let’s go over this together. That is an institutional
agent engaging in validation. High expectations is another
thing that mattered for men of color and knowing faculty
and staff, that faculty and staff believe students can
reach these high expectations. The qualities of an instructor
that shows genuine interest in students and in
the subject matter. Engagement, hands on
learning and applied learning and validating faculty
who care and are helpful, plus study group learning. And this actually — this
finding actually also came out in the study that we did,
that students want to learn but they want to know how do
I apply this in real life. What does this mean in
my day to day experience, how do I apply this
information in life. And so faculty need to
make these connections and finally what mattered for
men of color were diversity and cultural competency, seeing
faculty who look like them, learning from different cultures
and faculty who are familiar who are familiar with students
from different cultures. So this is a student that we
interviewed, his name is Uriel and I was very impressed
with this young man because everybody came in
jeans for the interview and he came in his suit and tie. He is a twin, he
has a twin brother and they admire very much the
Castro brothers in San Antonio, some of you may know
Julian and Joaquin Castro. Julian was the mayor of
the city of San Antonio and he’s being touted as perhaps
Hillary Clinton’s running mate next year, who knows whether
that will happen or not but they’re like
big in San Antonio and he has a twin brother. They admire these
Castro brothers and they want to
be just like them. And he’s now doing an
internship in Washington, D.C. so you may just be seeing
the next mayor of San Antonio or the next President of the
United States, who knows. But Uriel talked about what
is it that gets in the way for male students, so here
he is talking about that. [ video playing ] I feel this kind of traces back
on culture one of the things that we as males
in college wise is that something we have
priorities or responsibilities. For example, at a very young
age we are already accustom to just going into — just doing
any kind of labor so we have to work to provide
for our family. I find myself in that
situation when I lost my father, you know thank God that
we have our stepfather but sometimes there was ways
where I had to step in as kind of take care of my
mother or my brother. And so because of that reason
I think we sort of have to draw away from some of
our aspirations and dreams and we kind of have to face
responsibilities and priorities in place and we do that
by saying well as much as I would want to go get a
college education I have to work to provide for my family. [ Pause ] So now let’s move toward how
do we debunk these deficit based perspectives. What are the cultural tools
that students employ to succeed? We call them Ventajas or
assets and Conocimientos, funds of knowledge,
they’re assets and they’re ways of knowing. So we looked at Tara Yosso
community wealth model and Tara Yosso says community
cultural wealth means that students have
familial capital, they have social capital, they
have navigational capital, cultural capital, resistance
capital, linguistic capital and aspirational capital. That this chart basically
highlights the assets that students have. So we looked at this model and
we said okay are students going to talk about these different
forms of capital and we found that they did but then
we even more assets that are not listed
in Yosso’s model. So here are the forms of
cultural wealth, aspirational, the ability to set
high aspirations, recognizing the value
of education and remaining hopeful
about the future. Uriel talked about how he and
his twin brother would talk about going to college
and some day making it big and becoming politicians and
being like the Castro brothers. They set high expectations
of themselves. Linguistic capital, the ability
to speak more than one language and engaging with formal and
informal modes of expression, they know how to speak in the
family, they know how to speak in the community, they know
how to speak in college. Familial capital, the family
was a model of strength and determination, they
benefitted from consejos, respeto, testimonios y education
the modeling of the grandfather who worked so hard
in the fields. The modeling of the mother
who took care of the family. Social capital they were
able to form peer networks, one of the things that Uriel did
was he formed the table tennis club at UTSA and that’s where
Latinos would get together and hug each other and
validate each other and support each other. They had the ability to
do this sort of networking and forming study groups
and have each other validate and affirm each other. They had navigational capital,
they were able to operate in between liminal spaces,
to traverse multiple and distinct social context,
to dislocate and relocate and to adapt to a new culture. They had resistant capital,
they resisted stereotypes, they combated micro aggressions,
they overcame hardships such as poverty and lack
of guidance and resources. These are the additional
forms of wealth that we found in our study, the students had
what [inaudible] called ganas perseverance, the determination
the inner strength, I’m going to do this. They recognized and embraced the
sacrifice that needed to be made to attend college and
they had what we call ethnic consciousness. I was really touched with
this asset because they talked about how this education
was not just for themselves, this education and
having a degree was to put something back
into the community. This education was to help
this world to be a better world and so they were engaged
for example in engineering and engineering without borders. And as physicians and
doctors without borders, they wanted to use
their education not just for personal gain, this was about making the community
a better place to be. Of helping others, I made
it I’m going to reach out and help you to make it as well. [ Pause ] Spirituality was another
asset employing faith in God, they talked about when times
were tough they would pray but they also had a sense
of meaning and purpose that they wanted
to make something of themselves and their lives. And they embraced
concepts such as gratitude, goodness and compassion. There’s another form of wealth
that we call pluriversal so this ability to adapt and
operate in multiple worlds and in diverse educational
and geographic context. I was undocumented but now
I’m an American citizen, I speak English,
I speak Spanish. I lived in Bolivia and I can
live in the U.S. I can relate to my family and I can
relate to my faculty. This is what is pluriversal
in nature, the ability to move around in many different
context and do quite well with this moving around. [ Pause ] Other assets that appear in
research include leadership, being community and action
oriented, resilience, the ability to overcome
challenges such as dealing with racism and deficit views,
financial difficulties, learning and navigating a new
institutional culture and dealing with
personal challenges. And students also
have responsibilidad or responsibility, a familial
obligation to contribute to the family’s financial
situation and well-being. With men becoming
the man of the house and you know women taking care
of their brothers and sisters and sending money home to
help with family finances. Interestingly there are some
studies now that are coming up about what are the assets
of African-American students and I’m going to list
them here for you. They also have family
capital, love and support from the family, they also
have aspirational capital and in setting high
expectations for themselves and saying I’m going to
achieve, you know I want to get better, I
want to do better. The power of dreaming
and aspiring, they have resistant capital,
resisting inequalities through protests and
alternative solutions. They have navigational
capital, they’re able to move around in different context and make the best of
limited resources. Social capital, being
connected to the community, it also includes
generational connections as well as specific events
such as debutant balls, choral competitions,
speech and debate teams and science fair competitions. And spiritual capital where
religious ties serve as an asset and religious institutions and their members influence
local schools, politics and civic participation. So those are some of the assets
that have been identified for African-American students. I want to present you
with a little case study of one young lady that we
interviewed, her name is Silvia. She was a fourth year
student in engineering, she is what we call a
generation 1.5 student, she started schooling in
Mexico and completed it in the U.S. Graduated in the top
10% of her high school class. She is a transfer student, attended two community colleges
before enrolling in UTSA. She entered an associate of Arts with an emphasis in
math and physics. She is majoring in
mechanical engineering and planning graduate work
in chemical engineering. Born in Juarez, Mexico. Previously undocumented,
she’s married, no kids, first generation student, first
in her family to go to college. Low income, no models of
college graduates in the family. So if you see somebody
like Silvia, some faculty and some staff people might
think well you know she’s at risk, she’s not
going to make it but Silvia was now pretty close
to earning her degree at UTSA. And I put together this map
to show you what Silvia did. She was born in Juarez and
goes K to 7 in Juarez, Mexico. Then she comes to San Antonio
and does grades 8 through 12 and graduates in the
top 10% of her class. Then she goes to San Antonio
College, my alma mater, and she does one year of study at the community
college, number 3. Then she comes all the
way out here to California to Solano Community College and
she’s there for 3 1/2 years, gets an Associate of
Arts in math and physics. And then she comes all the way
back to San Antonio and gets into the University of
San Antonio majoring in mechanical engineering
and chemistry. I put this up on a chart
like this because I want you to see what Silvia did, look at
all the movement going on here. Look at all the navigation
that she had to do. Look at all the challenges
that she had to overcome, look at her linguistic capital,
look at her pluriversal capital, look at her capital of you
know just being determined, having the ganus to succeed. I mean many students
would not be able to do this let alone
adults but she did it. She did with hardly any help because she doesn’t have any
role models in the family to help her to decipher
all this movent. But she did it, she did it so
she’s smart, she’s very smart and so here’s Silvia
talking about that choking that cultural clash, collision that she had during the
transition to college. [ video playing ] I’m not sure how to put
this feeling but from going into a high school with
a majority was latinos and speaking Spanish even if
it was spanglish and then going to a community college
where you’re going to like calculus classes, all
I saw was just white males. First the environment
was different and I didn’t hear
as much spanish. And just It was a
different feeling. The priorities seem to be
different from person to person. Like If you speak to someone
who is latino they speak a lot about their family and what they
want to do later on in life, like how many kids you want to
have, how they want their house to look like later
on in life and then speak to someone who their
whole life has school in mind and they just have a
whole different culture and they’re just
talking about careers and what their parents did and
they got to travel somewhere. It’s just a whole different
culture and a different feeling, I don’t know how
to explain it still because we still
have that feeling. [ Pause ]>>And here she was
talking about moving through those multiple worlds. College is different,
very different I see it like I have my college life
and I have my personal life. When I’m at school I’m like
in school motion I know how to speak to people
about courses, I know how to do projects, and
what I plan to do in the future, I want to go to graduate school,
I want to do this and that. When I’m with my parents
there’s no school talk other than how you’re doing and
how long it’s gonna take you to graduate. It’s, they just I don’t think
they fully understand what I actually do at school, all they
see is that I’m going to school and I been married and
I don’t have any kids. how long is that going to take? That’s pretty much what I’m
getting from my parents. And I think they just
don’t know so it’s like two different worlds, I live in multiple worlds.>>And here’s her
commitment to her community. Scared, because that means
that I’m not the first, I’m pretty much the one
setting up the path for the ones that are coming behind
me and I know that whatever decision I make
or whatever path I choose to take it’s not only going
to affect me but it’s going to affect everyone
that comes behind me, whether it’s my sister, my
neighbor or just any female or Latina that’s you
know the next generation. And that’s pretty scary because
it’s not just me anymore. [ Pause ]>>So certainly you know
Silvia coming from Mexico and not knowing the language
and some of the challenges but then Silvia does have some
strength so turn to your partner and talk about what
are the strengths, the assets that you think Silvia
has, turn to your partner. [ Background conversation ] All right let’s here, let’s
hear what you all came up with. What are some of the strengths,
the assets, that you noticed in Silvia, what are they, yes?>>The versatility
of her character.>>The versatility
of her character, nicely said, say more.>>Yeah just being able to
talk about the life she lives at home and at school. And It feels like she is able
to acclimate andunderstand that it’s different, so
even being aware of that, I think that you
know, it’s an asset. I would like to know
a little bit more about what are the
things that she does at school specifically
to acclimate.>>Okay.>>Is she like involved outside
of her classes or is it just, what exactly does
that look like.>>Okay, good to know, what other assets did you
all come up with, yes.>>Well we talked about
her universalness about how she lived,
lived in multiple worlds, she did speak different
languages, she speaks the school language
of courses and objectives but she also could talk to
her family and [inaudible] between Spanish and English
and so she’s got that going.>>Very good, yes. Others?>>Well, her resilience counting
the years, she’s a student for 7 or 8 years and it doesn’t seem
to have dulled her enthusiasm and her aspiration there
is a lot of power in that.>>Very impressive
young lady, yes. Did you have something — no?>>Well, we had the
same thing perseverance.>>Which is, perseverance,
yes definitely. So you can see then what
I’m talking about in terms of the assets that
students bring to college that really shake up if not
dismantle this deficit view. I mean students are smart, they
can figure things out you know and we’ve got to recognize
and understand these assets so that we can leverage them
and we want to build equity to really work with these assets
in a way that students can feel like they are really understood and that college can be made
much more meaningful and easier to navigate, etcetera. So what are some of the
recommendations, what do we do? I think now as we move toward
the future of student success that we need to focus on building an asset based
student success framework. One that is culturally
validating of these students and so to do that we’ve got
to get more faculty trained in understanding students,
asset based understanding, not deficit based understanding but asset based understanding
of students. And faculty and staff
becoming validating agents and what they need to do on the
different forms of validation. The focus of change is not so much the student,
it’s the college. College needs to make some
transformative changes in the way that it
works with students. Another recommendation
is to assist students with that complex transition
to college, new programs that assist students to navigate
and decode the world of college. For example, having a center
for the transition to college. The focus of change is to
address the cultural aspects of the transition to college,
the whole thing of dealing with micro aggressions and
loneliness and separation and liminality, etcetera. Another recommendation is that the college culture builds
community, tolerance, acceptance and a sense of belonging
for students. So we’ve got to provide
professional development to assist faculty and staff
to deal with issues of equity, difference and social justice. The focus of change is to really
create a culturally validating, in and out of class,
institutional culture. And then we need to
create high impact teaching and learning strategies, these
are the things that students of color say work for them. They want to know how to
apply what they’re learning, they like study groups, learning
communities, template pedagogy that I’ll talk about
tomorrow, ethnic studies, service learning, research
with a faculty member and capstone experiences. The focus is to develop
a new pedagogic imaginary to deepen inquiry
meaning and purpose. So I started by talking
about me and a little bit about how I grew up
and what’s taken me to really get a doctorate and
you know find great success in the world of college but
it didn’t come easy but one of my assets like these
students is that all of the work that I do. Everything that I do is
for students, who like me, grow up with hopes
and with dreams but not know how
to realize them. I want to make sure that
my knowledge is going to help colleges like Santa
Rosa College to do a better job with students and everything
that I am is geared toward that. Quien SOy Yo, who am I,
the truth is that I am more than what I appear to be
today, no one really knows that I am the young girl who
wanted nothing more than a pair of moccasins for
her sixth birthday. They seemed to be such
an extravagant purchase at the time. It was a time when we lived in a
two room shack with an outhouse, it was a time that I had
for so long cleverly blocked from my memory, [inaudible]
the pain numbs the senses. I am the high school student
who didn’t get invited to the senior prom because
she felt unattractive, unlike the girls who found
their way into school clubs and organizations not
for what they knew but for how they looked. The girl who was told by the
sponsor of the Future Teachers of America in high school that
she would never be a teacher because she had made
an F in chemistry, teachers don’t make
F’s she said. She didn’t know that I had
sprained my knee so badly that I could not walk
to school for weeks, but there was no money
to see the doctor. [Foreign language] and this
was just the way it was. I’m the graduate student who
left Laredo to take the risks that my parents were afraid of. The Chicana at the University
of Michigan, filled with awe at the sheer fact
that I was there and knowing full well the
familial did not understand what I was doing or where
I was going. Soy la mujer haunted
by childhood memories, very deep in my subconscious
appearing to me in dreams of evil spirits, wanting to penetrate mi cuerpo
terrorizing my trembling body. I am a multiplicity of
identities that frightened me, guard me, teach me, love me
and so I leave you tonight with really sharing a dream
and asking that those of you that are going to work on
equity and social justice and inclusiveness
and in community. Noble work at Santa Rosa
College that you’re on a path to creating a new
student success imaginary, a new way to help every
single student believe that they’re smart and
that they can learn. A new way that many
more students are going to finish their degrees
and graduate and put something good back
into their communities. I’ve given you some of the
things that’s I’ve learned but I don’t have all the
answers, we are all voyagers as Gloria Anzalidua said and with voyagers there
are no bridges at times. One builds them as one
walks, one creates ideas as one walks the path. One finds new solutions as we
reflect as the group to work and to learn together and to
be really committed to helping as many students
succeed as possible. So thank you for inviting me
tonight and I especially want to thank the students for
being here, I love the fact that you’re here, I’m a
community college graduate. Muchas Gracias good luck to
all of you, thank you so much. [ Applause ] [ Background noise ]>>Lauren.>>We have a few minutes for questions does
anyone have a question that you want to ask Dr. Rendon? [ Background noise ]>>Hi, thank you for
coming first of all.>>What’s your name?>>My name is Mariah Hernandez.>>Mariah nice to meet you.>>Thank you, nice
to meet you too. So my question is what
challenges have you faced when trying to implement
institutional change at any university?>>Resistance, there are
people who are very stuck in their ways, there are people that have been socialized
in a different way. There are people who
don’t understand the poverty experience. There are people who come from
very privileged backgrounds and there are people
who are invested in keeping things
the way they are. But then I also come across
a lot of people who do want to make change and so
I pay attention to them because they’re ready to go. What are you majoring in?>>I’m not a student, currently
I am academic college counselor at a high school. But I’m applying to higher
Ed grad school programs.>>Oh, excellent,
congratulations, yes. [ Applause ]>>So kind of your vision
is kind of like what I want to do is to create programs.>>Fantastic, fantastic. I hear you need to go up there
so that they can pick it up.>>Dr. Rendon my
question for you is through your work what
strategies have you deployed to engage resistance, we know we
have people who really believe in and would do the work and
are the people who are willing to learn to do the work but
there are resistance there, how do you engage resistance?>>I’ve learned that in any
organization whether it be higher ED or somewhere
else there are at least three categories
of people. There are the resistors that
no matter what you do they will never be with you. There are those in the
middle that are waiting to see what happens, that they
may or may not go with you, they’re kind of checking it out. And there’s some that are
ready to go immediately and my sense is that the people
that are here are ready to go. So I start with them,
okay and I’m — to tell you the truth not so
worried about the resistors because they’re in most
cases a smaller group. I like to work with the
ones that are ready to go and the ones in the middle and maybe those resistors
will join in. But I’ve got to go
where the energy is, where the positive energy is. I’ve got to go with people
that are starting to move and that’s just the way
that I’ve handled things. Yes, ma’am. And are you a student or staff?>>No I’m also a college advisor
for a nonprofit [inaudible].>>I’m getting ready to
retire so I see everybody as a high school student.>>Well, thank you, thank
you I appreciate that. No I currently work with high
school students and I am looking to also go into higher Ed
for a Master’s program but, I guess my question is –>>Where you [inaudible].>>I’m applying for various
schools, so we’ll see.>>All right.>>But my question is a little
bit on the parent engagement, I think that a lot of our students are
definitely very family oriented.>>Yes.>>And I wanted to know if
there’s a background research on higher ED involvement with
parents, especially to kind of involve them in the decisions of their students
pursuing higher education?>>A lot of the research on parental involvement
is more on the K-12 side. There’s quite a bit
of research on that. Once students get into
college it’s almost like you know the family
stays more to the side because these students
are now adults. So maybe your thesis
will help to fill that gap in that knowledge. But I’m sure if you do a google
search there’s going to be lots of stuff out there for you to
look at and some of the things that are being said in the high
school level can certainly apply to the college level. But yeah I mean parents
are kind of like, I mean they’re right there, I mean they can be extremely
supportive and they love us and all of that but then
they can also pull back. And they’re pulling back at
times not because they want to be bad, they’re just afraid. You know like my mom
was kind of like that, you know when I was
going to Michigan, oh my God she developed
this pain in her chest and I mean she lost I
don’t know how much weight, [foreign language]
blah, blah, blah. I mean she put on the
guilt trip big time. And my mother passed
away in 2010 but I never told her this
although I shared this story before, but I was like oh
my God what am I going to. So I was accepted at Michigan,
I was accepted at Houston, Houston has wonderful hospitals,
a medical center there so I thought to myself, okay
I’m going to go to Michigan because that’s really
where I wanted to go and if she continues with this
condition, I’m going to drop out of there and go to Houston. That was my plan, so I go to
Michigan, I go to Ann Arbor, she had the pain one more
time [foreign language]. Everything you know some doctor
gave her some tablets she put under her tongue
and that did it. So it was just anxiety, it was
a panic attack, now that I think about it she was
having panic attacks because nobody had left the
family to go another state, so she had no tools
to deal with that. No tools so I’m proud of
her for you know having gone through that with
me and of course when I graduated [foreign
language] you know and so she was very
proud of me at that time but when I was first wanting to
go, oh my God it was terrible. All right other questions,
comments?>>Dr. Rendon thank you
so much for being here?>>And what’s your role?>>My name is Inez
Barragan and I am a graduate of Santa Rosa Junior College and I also work as
the EOPS Director.>>Okay.>>And I relate very much to
your story other than I did it as a single mom with two
little girls, you know. But I value your message,
what you are bringing to us around asset, you know
recognizing the wealth in our students and really
sort of you know doing away with this other framework but
you know I work in the EOPS and I work with student that through their
trajectory have internalized so much of this. So that’s where I’m — that’s
what I want to hear from you, how do we heal, restore,
rebuild, I also find that coming back
home because I went away and I came back after 17
years to give back here. I find myself doing my
own healing and looking at the healing that my
colleagues sometimes have to do in order for us to really
be able to give, right. We nurture ourselves and
we heal ourselves in order to really genuinely and with
enthusiasm you know affect — I want to say infect,
positively our students so if you could speak
to that, please.>>Absolutely, and this
is the insidious nature of the deficit framework that
students begin to internalize it without us even knowing
it and we begin to internalize it ourselves. And we’ve got to
get away from that. You’ve got a wonderful
program here the Puente Project that I believe does some of
the best work with students in helping them to
believe in themselves. [ Applause ] In validating students,
in allowing them to write about their experiences. In allowing them to write
about what they care about and what’s meaningful for them. And that sort of
framework that is in Puente is culturally
validated, culturally validating and it really includes a lot
of affirmation for students. Where students, I
mean I’ve talked to some Puente students
before and they’ll say to me we didn’t know that people
could care about us in this way, this is incredible,
they’re shocked. Because their whole life they’ve
been put down and now they come into another context and look at
what can happen when that sort of cultural validation
and working with assets is implemented,
transformation can occur. [ Background noise ]>>Thank you for that
and it’s a good –>>What’s your role here?>>My name is Genevieve
Bertone and I’m the Director of Student Equity, so thank
you that’s a good Segway into my question actually is we at SRJC we have many learning
communities like Puente and a lot of them are now just
being formed including APAS, Pro-Pacific Islander Pacific,
Asian Pacific, Americans and we have a Connections
program which is also for Latino and low income. We also have Umoja for
African-American students. So I noticed a lot
of your research is in the Latino community
but I’m wondering how much of the asset framework of the
ones that we specifically talked about today, like the
familia can be transferred to the other cultural identities
and which ones do we need to really look at for our
other communities of youth, are you aware of those?>>I would venture to say
that we can take pretty much that whole array
assets and apply them. Now we need to do more research with the African-American
community, we need to do more research with the Asian Pacific Islander
community, with Native American, American Indian community,
etcetera. You know I wish I could
do all of that you know but I’m starting
where I’m starting but there are other scholars
that can certainly pick up where I left off and
push the knowledge further and lift the knowledge base so
that we have more information about what really
matters to students. But my sense is, I
mean I’ve given talks, I don’t know how many by now
but this must be about the 40th or 50th talk that I’ve given on
this issue and no one has stood up and said this doesn’t
apply to these students. So I think that we have
something going on here with this knowledge base. But I would encourage
you to do your own, you know with your
equity funding and hire perhaps some graduate
students or some faculty to do just these little
focus groups and begin to ascertain the assets
and put them together. [ Pause ]>>All right [inaudible]
nice to meet you.>>Hi, how are you,
what’s your name?>>I’m Jocelyn.>>Jocelyn.>>I am a student her currently
at the JC so I kind of want to see if you could give us
some like comforting words for us the students, for example
my case I can relate to you, I do work full time, I
come to school full time and I have a lot
of responsibility at my job as management. So I do feel sometimes
overwhelmed, sometimes exhausted. There’s day you know I kind of
want to throw the towel and be like let’s just do
the working part and maybe save the
education for later. What kind of words or what
kind of did you do in your life that you felt was that thing
that kept motivating you or like kept you in
school for so long?>>I think what kept motivating
me was the way that I grew up. That I have experienced
not having enough food to eat for example. And I thought to myself I’m
not going to put my kids through that, I’m not going to
go through this as an adult, I’m going to get out of poverty
and I’m going to do everything that I can to get out. And so that kept me driven and I
wanted to get my degree as soon as possible because I wanted to
get out there and start working and doing something
with my life. The same thing when I
went to get a doctorate, I finished my doctorate in
three years and I just wanted to get it and you know
there’s a lot of work to do but that’s what kept me driven. But let me — may I
ask you a question? Yeah you can up here
because I think they want to pick it up, not my rule. But I want to ask you a question
because you say you work and you’ve got all
these obligations, what keeps you going?>>I feel like we
relate on the same thing, I come from a single
parent household where my mom is my only
provider and I don’t want to see my little brother go
through anything that I’m going through which is
hunger, not paying bills, watching how we can’t continue
without money in our home.>>And do you have
anybody right now who is encouraging you
and keeps you going?>>I feel like it’s just
watching my family needing that provider. That someone just step up and
give us that financial help and I feel like I am that person
who is responsible to do that.>>Well, you’re doing a
great job, congratulations. Give her a hand she’s
doing great. [ Applause ] Other — okay we got another.>>[Audience] Can I just
say, That is very brave, what you just did and I think
that is also another one of those asset things to
recognize the courage. Those decisions day
to day are so bold.>>Absolutely.>>The fact that you haven’t
thrown in the towel, that’s huge and you have to make
that choice every day. [Inaudible] to throw
in the towel and a lot of students do unfortunately. But I would also encourage
you to get, to work, are you Puente Project,
there you go that says a lot right there because you’ve got a
huge validating community that is taking care of you. Don’t do this alone, so when you
tell your brothers and sisters that are coming to college
have them enroll in a program such as Puente or work with a
validating agent, a champion. Somebody who is going
to be there for you. [ Pause ]>>Hello Dr. Rendon, I don’t
have a question but I want to tell you, you are
so inspirational. Sometimes we sit in the
classroom or in the office and we think I’m not doing
enough or you know I am all by myself and you know
listening to you speaking about how we can continue
motivating students to come back tomorrow and
to come back next class even if they do not too well
in the exam is wonderful. And I am actually very sorry
of you know, there is not so many people here today, I
hope more people come tomorrow. Because as you were speaking I
was thinking I should have told my students and I told my
students but the problem is like this beautiful young woman
they work in the afternoon.>>Of course.>>So I’m going to pressure Mr.
Navarette to invite you again to one of you know
staff development days or to come during the noon time
where we can bring our students because you are such a jewel
and an excellent example to our students who
sometimes don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. So they need to hear
people like you and say I can do it [foreign
language], thank you.>>Thank you so much. [ Applause ]>>So I just want
to say thank you. You know we had this
idea in equity about how do we start having
these greater conversations around equity, you know that
it’s sort of the word now right but what does it mean? And how do we live it
in our lives and I think that you just shared with
us a beautiful way, right?, and a beautiful testimony to how
we can hold true to who we are and value the assets
that we bring, while at the same time
navigating this really alien space to us. And so I want to
think you and also — because I’ve been sitting too
with my own sort of frustration around why isn’t
this room filled and why aren’t there
people on the floor, right. Because there’s so
many of us here and I think I’m leaving
though with this idea of that you planted some seeds
in us, right and now part of it is our task too to take on what we’ve learned
here to others. And you can be sure
that I’m going to be letting folks know how
they missed out and how sad I am for them that they
didn’t get to be here to witness this beautiful
testimony that you shared with us. So I just want to thank you,
just for your beautiful message and just your beautiful spirit
that you shared with us.>>Thank you Lauren it’s
a pleasure to be here.>>Thank you. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>I want to say something,
I want to thank you too, you’ve put into research. In my day in the 60’s
when we were at college and there were very few
of us that were Chicano, that’s what we called ourselves. Our line was you know what
we’ve got to find people that can relate to
us and we used to say to others they can’t relate. That was what you structure,
what you build is substance and research that deals with
the relationship of the people in the college to our students. And this is a challenge but it’s
not new, this is a challenge in higher education since my
day, we were survivors then in the movement in the
early days and you were part of that Laura and you still are. So what you’ve done is and I
want everybody to understand that especially the young
folks, this is critical because the challenge
in higher education in any institution
is those resistors. And they want data
and they want research and they want documentation
and in the old days, in my time we didn’t have it. What we had was intuition,
we had our own experiences but we didn’t have validation
and so you folks need to build on the base that
she has developed for higher education
in the United States. So on that, just that
issue I want to thank you.>>Thank you so much, it
makes me think about — [ Applause ] There are at least in my
mind to forms of equity or two forms of looking
at equity. One is data base or like you say
you’ve got 25% African-American students, at least 25%
that earn a degree, so you have at least some way to
measure equity through numbers. But there’s also
qualitative equity and speaks to our behaviors, our policies
and our practices that we employ to help more students
to succeed. The pedagogy, the validation,
the recognition of assets, the asset based framework, all
of that also leads to equity. In fact, the numbers are
contingent upon these policies and practices, you cannot
reach equity without the policy and the practice
being implemented to transform the institution. And so I think we
need to look at equity in that fashion as well. Muchas Gracias have
a nice evening. [ Applause ]>>And Dr. Rendon has
graciously agreed to stay and sign some books and to
have some conversation with us in the foyer so if you’re
interested in joining us. And once again I just want
to thank you for being here. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Thank you.

You May Also Like

About the Author: Oren Garnes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *