Dr. Brian L. McGowan, Associate Professor, and Dr. Corbin Campbell, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to study equity-based teaching at the college level. SOE received $697,711 for an 18-month grant, along with Florida International University and the University of Connecticut, to work on a playbook for adopting equity-based teaching. Focused on teaching outcomes for Black, Latinx, Indigenous students and those from low-income backgrounds in college, their concept paper was titled “Reconceptualizing College Teaching for Equitable Student Outcomes: A Strategic Focus on Equity-Based Teaching and the Systemic Levers that Support Broad-Scale Change.”
Principal investigators include SOE’s Dr. Brian L. McGowan, Associate Professor, and Dr. Corbin Campbell, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs; with Dr. Bryan Dewsbury, Associate Professor at Florida International University; and Dr. Milagros Castillo-Montoya, Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut. Their work begins with a literature review and landscape analysis to produce a policy playbook.
“The playbook created from this grant will help recreate a new educational ecosystem where the beautifully diverse identities of students will not be predictive of their performance in any course,” said Dewsbury. “Higher education institutions will recognize and have the tools to create a psychosocial safety net so all students can fully engage in the process of self-actualization and civic participation.” The playbook will be informed by an advisory board who will assemble multiple times a year to give feedback on its progress.
“The underlying commitments and the aspired outcomes of this grant have a strong resonance with SOE’s vision for equity in education,” said Campbell. “Higher education should be a vehicle for liberation, and equity-based teaching is an important component of that aim.”
While this first phase of the project is critical, the group has a larger vision to continue the work. “The first phase of the project will result in the development of a policy playbook that is grounded in research and informed by a landscape analysis,” said Castillo-Montoya. “It is critical that we continue this work in the second phase of the project where we will implement it as a pilot across real contexts in order to engage in its real-time refinement.”
Proposed future phases of the work include piloting the implementation of the playbook with a state’s education system to guarantee that the playbook is scalable in order to affect the systemic levers of institutionalized learning. “Equity-based teaching efforts are oftentimes limited to individual faculty with a lack of attention to policy, cultural, and systemic levers that can truly lead to broad-scale change,” said McGowan. “I remain steadfast in better understanding and improving the educational experiences of students who tend to be marginalized and look forward to working alongside colleagues who share similar commitments. This project is both timely and imperative.”