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 “Equity, Fairness, and Parity” in the CSU System: A Conversation with Dr. Leece Lee-Oliver

By Connie Tan

The convergence of a global pandemic and pervasive patterns of racial injustice has magnified the deep structural and social inequities in the United States. In this interview, Dr. Leece Lee-Oliver (Blackfeet, Choctaw, Wyandot, Cherokee), assistant professor of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies and American Indian Studies and director of American Indian Studies at Fresno State University, explores the context for and implications of racial equity work in the California State University (CSU). Other interviews by the CSU Network addressing equity in the CSU include conversations with Dr. Frank Harris III, Dr. William Franklin and Dr. J. Luke Wood, and a student plenary at the CSU Student Success Network Conference in 2020.

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Supporting Undocumented Students in the CSU

By Jaquelyn Caro-Sena

Undocumented students* in colleges and universities face an array of challenges unique to their immigration status including a high risk of COVID-19 exposure, economic insecurity, lack of access to financial aid, volatile immigration policies, and discriminatory policies and practices at various campus levels. Each year, 27,000 undocumented high school seniors graduate from California schools, but less than 10% pursue higher education. At the postsecondary level, there are up to 70,000 undocumented students in the California Community Colleges, approximately 9,500 in the California State University (CSU), and about 4,000 at the University of California.

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Approaches to Online Instruction That Are Engaging for Students

By Breaunna Alexander

In a series of online conversations hosted by the CSU Student Success Network in July and August, over 150 faculty and staff across 21 CSU campuses shared strategies and learned from each other about student-centered online practices. This memo summarizes existing literature in that area. Key findings from the literature indicate that opportunities for collaboration appear to be particularly crucial for online learning environments, and that by actively building a strong “teaching presence” and “social presence” faculty can facilitate collaboration and engagement among students.

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Addressing Racism in the California State University System: A Conversation with Dr. Frank Harris III

By Connie Tan

This interview with Dr. Frank Harris III is the first in a series of memos presented by the Knowledge Center. In this memo, Dr. Harris encourages institutions to take an equity-minded, student-centered approach. He suggests that middle leaders on campus (i.e., faculty, staff and administrators who work with students often without a formal leadership position) need to recognize and take steps to address structural racism and oppression in four key areas: curriculum, hiring practices, budget, and strategic planning. And he highlights the importance of engaging and partnering with students as drivers of change.

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