Community College Research Initiatives

July 21, 2020

Twitter chat summary on racial equity & coaching for college reform

So what happened?

On June 10, 2020, we facilitated a Twitter chat on how organizations and coaches of higher education reform are embracing transformative change centered on racial justice and as we continue to engage in this and student success work during these unprecedented times, we invite you to read and utilize our collection of equity-minded coaching briefs and tools in your change efforts using a racial equity lens.

Brief: Coaching for More Equitable Student Outcomes
Brief: Integrating Racial Equity into Guided Pathways
The Equity Tool Guide gives an overview of the six equity-minded coaching tools.

We are excited to provide a short summary of the chat below and appreciate all the participants from around the country who contributed to this conversation. We are especially grateful to the many partners and colleagues who helped lead this chat as well as those who spent their time to prepare. 

Thank you! @johnm2783, @Jazzyjpenn, @Lili_Castille, @kmwb2005, @KandiBauman, @PresidentBaston, @CoxBrand, @EQUITYLEADER, @scholarteaching, @PJHanley20, @real_stallone, @FLCollegeSystem, @MCCACSS.

What did we talk about?

We prepared a number of questions for the chat that prompted great discussions! Here are some of the responses that stood out to us from participants.

What is your organization doing to identify structural racism, and how is transformative change that centers racial equity envisioned?

Response from @FLcollegesystem

The @FLCollegeSystem understands that transformative change is needed. We are providing our #comm_colleges with important data that they can use to identify access & achievement inequities so that gaps can be identified, and they can begin formulating solutions.

The @FLCollegeSystem #guidedpathways institute will then support our #comm_colleges in identifying concrete steps to creating a solution to the equity barriers within the system, and allow for all students to have equal access to a world-class education.

Response from @mccacss

@MIColleges have decided they can no longer settle for incremental change on issues of equity and social justice and are signing a strongly worded statement that centers these issues with explicit action rather than implicit rhetoric for #mistudentsuccess.

Response from @jfftweets

JFF is starting internally. You can’t help others if your own house isn’t in order. We are redesigning hiring and onboarding, looking at internal staffing structures, and expanding our recruitment networks.

Response from @lili_castille

In the form of 5 year institutional #Equity Plans which will be published next month. The plans detail what the college/uni will do to address longstanding structural issues across the institution from the classroom to financial aid to student supports

Developing/implementing these equity plans requires ongoing, difficult conversations and the ability to evaluate what works and take action. It is many 1% solutions and incremental changes that add up to a more equitable institution for all students.

Response from @VLundyWagner

I work to remind colleagues that there is work to do together and on your own professionally, and work to do privately. Helping staff understand that all POC are not experts on facilitating racial dialogue because they are POC is important for #highered #edequity

How is your organization facilitating dialogue on racial justice? How can institutional coaches help facilitate this work?

Response from @presidentbaston

RCC held two Black Lives Matter panel discussions – one with Black students and another with Black employees. Black voices have been benignly neglected but are being elevated so we can do our work in building an institution that fosters inclusive excellence.

The challenge for many institutions in addressing dialogues on racial justice really centers around where to begin the conversation. These conversations will require courage, consistency, commitment, and most importantly the right start.

Response from @maevekatherine

@CalCommColleges call to action: “Campus leaders must host open dialogue and address campus climate.” Our #regionalcoordinator #coaches are listening deeply and bringing resources forward to nourish critical conversations!

Call to action: “Campuses must audit classroom climate and create an action plan to create inclusive classrooms and anti-racism curriculum.”

CCCCO call to action: “Shorten the time frame for the full implementation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Integration Plan.”

CCCCO call to action: “Join and engage in the Vision Resource Center “Community Colleges for Change.”

Response from @johnm2783

We held an Open Conversation on BLM w students & faculty, Dr. Marilyn Maye, coauthor of Seven Sisters and a Brother: Friendship, Resistance, and Untold Truths Behind Black St. Activism shared thoughts on Black student activism, BLM, and Leadership in a time of change

Institutional coaches can serve in multiple roles in facilitating this work. They serve educators and models, as well as an accountability function that some work is being done.

Response from @wagnerrobertsk

Program by program, President conversations.  This is a new and concerted effort.  Our System President has shared Five Commitments to Progress for us to work under and progress with.

Being an institutional coach is a HUGE job that is really going to require the ability to field extreme feelings and actions from a variety of opinions/sides.  Support and understanding will be needed for all involved.

Response from @jfftweets

We are holding space for conversations, including affinity coaching groups, and looking at all of our programing including our coaching work to ensure we are designing and delivering with an equity lens, and providing our stakeholders space to center equity.

What and how are you learning about the experiences of students, faculty, and staff of color at this time? How is your organization responding?

Response from @kmwb2005

We have so much work to do here… we have an amazing colleague, Ha Nguyen, who is facilitating dialogues with college student leaders and we are building a Guided Pathways Student Advisory Council…

Response from @jfftweets

What we hear from leaders in our networks is the need to diversify the leadership pipeline, so that administration mirrors the student body.

Response from @lili_castille

Creating open forums for dialogue and listening. One of our CC’s Black Student Alliance & Student Leadership Council hosted a forum entitled: Not A Moment But A Movement: A Forum on Privilege, America’s Subconscious Reality @CollegeDuPage

Response from @equityleader

We are facilitating wellness calls with our students. Many students have expressed mental health concerns regarding the civil unrest in our nation, COVID-19, and how this impacts their ability to perform academically.

Response from @jazzyjpenn

I am a Black women and higher education professional. My lived experiences have made me keenly aware of systemic racism. I work for an agency that supports leading with racial equity and makes sure that we are advancing educational opportunities for all students.

What is a success and challenge your organization is seeing in the transformative change process? How has coaching helped facilitate this process?

Response from @jmm_13

Coaches help to support difficult conversations on the #studentsuccess change process & can be very helpful when discussing equity issues & inclusive excellence

Response from @jfftweets

A success is having the data, but the challenge is understanding it enough to facilitate (ex. leading vs. lagging indicators) to facilitate changes in real time. Transformative change takes time and it’s easy to get impatient. Coaches can help maintain the momentum needed to make real changes in policy and practice.

Response from @maevekatherine

Proud of CA’s BIPOC leaders: new #communitycollege presidents & chancellors & at #UC! Worried about inequitable impacts of #COVID & economic depression on our communities, particularly BIPOC students. Sharing of approaches, partners, & curating resources appears 🔑

Response from @equityleader

We have seen success in our on-going efforts to create employee buy-in and a culture of equity-mindedness at our college. We are still challenged with defining equity and how to measure it.

Response from @jazzyjpenn

A success is that we are identifying and calling out inequities in policies and procedures. A challenge is old habits are hard to break, and people sometimes get weary discussing race and racism, so they look for the easy way around the work or avoid it altogether.

What should be done to repair systemic injustices that impact students of color?

Response from @johnm2783…

Increase # of faculty of color!; Increase financial support for students of color (GA’s, TA’s,  scholarships, etc.); Too many leaders don’t believe that systemic injustices exist..Thought Leaders are critical in challenging this mindset that runs counter to all objective evidence that this is a real issue

Response from @jazzyjpenn

Accept that systemic racism is real; work like hell to dismantle it daily. Advocate for students of color by advancing racial equity-focused policies, promote racial equity-focused procedures and practices, fund equity-focused programs/educational opportunities.

Response from @kandibauman

Said best by my CCRI colleagues, there is a difference between being “for” racial equity and “about” racial equity. Addressing the impact of systemic injustice begins with re-centering our mission, resources, and measures of accountability to be about racial equity.

Response from @PJHanley

We have to direct resources to the most vulnerable students (that is what equity is about); not giving everyone the same.  Same goes for faculty and staff (in terms of prof dev, hiring pipelines, mentoring, etc)

Response from @equityleader

We must focus on laying the groundwork for institutions by providing on-going and mandatory professional development for all employees regarding equity and antiracism. We must focus on changing the system vs. changing the student; Moving from a deficit mindset to an equity mindset is imperative. Groundwork is heart work and employees must self-reflect in order to reframe our practices and ways of thinking.

* If you’d like to read more, here is the whole discussion for each question!

Resources Shared

Some participants went the extra mile and shared some resources! Check them out…

  • A FREE VIRTUAL Community College Showcase on July 28th. Tia McNair is one of the keynote presenters. Full program and registration info at
  • @CalCommColleges call to action
  • Join the Rockland Community College community for a “Black Lives Matter RCC” panel discussion, featuring current students and alumni. RCC’s president
  • We are really proud of the diversity of our doctoral students in New Jersey City University’s Ed.D. in Community College Leadership. Check out student bios at

What did people think?

We sent a survey after the chat, and ⅔ of respondents said it was their first Twitter chat! If that was you, we appreciate that you tried something new with us in the Twitter-sphere!

We are happy to be able to offer a safe space where 75% of participants felt comfortable sharing their insights, opinions, and/or experiences. We hope to improve on this as we explore new ways to engage with you and other audiences that enjoy similar subjects. You can always email us at with any specific feedback you may have!

100% of respondents found someone new to follow on Twitter, woohoo!

We asked what kind of subjects participants were interested in talking about in future chats and here are some responses…

  • State funding formulas
  • A student led conversation
  • Transfer
  • Leadership development
  • Coaching/mentoring
  • More about Equity!

Stay updated with us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter so you can take part in our next chat! @CCRI_UW, #CCRIchat