James Gray, co-chair of the college’s Equity in Excellence project that is studying gaps in African-American academic outcomes and presenting methodologies in an effort to improve them, has been asked to speak June 30 at The National Forum on Education Policy annual conference in Washington D.C.
The event is presented by the Education Commission of the States, and brings together hundreds of governors, legislators, chief state school officers, higher education officials, and business leaders from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and three territories. Gray was invited to participate by Matt Gianneschi, a former vice president at CCA and ex-deputy executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education.
“I’ll be speaking to legislative staff about concurrent enrollment classes,” Gray said. “It’s going to have an equity-bent to it as well, because the demographics of our college have changed very much so with concurrent enrollment and the ASCENT program. And so it will be, in part, about providing services to students who we haven’t been able to reach before.”
It’s been a busy few weeks for Gray, who presented a keynote address May 29 at the University of Southern California. The Center for Urban Education at Rossier School of Education asked Gray to address representatives from 24 California community colleges who for several years have been required to submit student equity plans that weren’t tied to goals or funding.
“My speech was giving them an idea of what it was like for us going through a year of our equity training,” Gray said. “So, I basically just talked about some of the results we found, and the adjustments we’ve since made.”
Some of that change revolves around hiring practices and dealing with biases that may emanate from students receiving different types of undergraduate training in math prior to college entry. CCA's yearlong investigation by its equity evidence team currently is finalizing initial recommendations resulting from its formal inquiry process.