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The Library will increase connectedness and belonging to a campus community that supports student success.
CCA Library staff will recognize and leverage the strengths of our diverse campus community to create and promote inclusive library spaces, resources, and support for student learning.
Belonging: The extent to which students feel personally accepted, respected, included, and supported by others[i]
Connectedness: Frequent interactions or affiliation with the same person or group[ii]
Diversity: Individual differences (e.g. life experiences, learning and working styles, personality types) and group/social differences (e.g. race, socio-economic status, class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, ability, intellectual traditions and perspectives, as well as cultural, political, religious, and other affiliations) that can be engaged to achieve excellence in teaching, learning, research, scholarship, and administrative and support services.[iii]
Equity-Minded: The perspective or mode of thinking exhibited by practitioners who call attention to patterns of inequity in student outcomes. These practitioners are willing to take personal and institutional responsibility for the success of their students, and critically reassess their own practices. It also requires that practitioners are race-conscious and aware of the social and historical context of exclusionary practices in American Higher Education. [iv]
Inclusion: Involvement and empowerment that recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of all people. An inclusive Library promotes and sustains a sense of connection and belonging; it values and practices respect for the diversity of its staff and patrons.[v]
This plan is a proactive attempt to be explicit, integrated and strategic in our approach to inclusion. We will work toward creating common values, language, and a focus on inclusion. We will invite individual Library staff to recognize that we are all responsible and accountable for equity-minded library services.
The Community College of Aurora (CCA) is currently the most diverse higher education institution in the state of Colorado. CCA was designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in 2017 and the college is more diverse than our service area, as a whole. In Fall 2019, 69% of those enrolled were students of color and 32% were Latinx.[vi] Our service area is 39% people of color, 27% Latinx. However, the Aurora Public Schools were 85% students of color, 55% Latinx. It is likely that our area high school demographics may impact future enrollment trends, continuing the increase in Latinx and other students of color. The CCA campus community is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion through Inclusive Excellence. The Library will support this community through proactively serving our students in ways that recognize, value, and respect our growing campus diversity.
The Colorado Master Plan for Higher Education[vii] has a goal to erase equity gaps while improving student success overall. CCA has responded by setting similar goals focused on student success while committing to an inclusive college culture. The Library is embarking on this plan in order to intentionally support institutional goals and values through planning that is framed through an inclusive excellence lens. To this end, the Library Strategic Direction, 2017-2020 includes the goal to “Intentionally design services to support equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This multi-year, phased plan will help us achieve this goal by guiding our strategies for spaces, resources, and support. The Library will endeavor to impact college success goals through our work to support student sense of belonging and engagement outside of the classroom.
In the 2019 CCA Student Campus Climate Survey, 82% of students agreed or strongly agreed that they felt a sense of community in their classes. The sense of community outside of the classroom is not as strong, with only 61% saying they agree or strongly agree that they have a sense of community outside of the classroom. Only 63% say they agree or strongly agree that they are comfortable participating in campus social life. In the third level of his hierarchy, relating to love and belonging, Maslow wrote that a person will “hunger for affectionate relations with people” and for a place in a group.[viii] It is imperative that students feel connected, supported, and valued in order to have a sense of belonging.[ix] Finding a sense of belonging has positive impacts on persistence, academic motivation, and academic progress.[x] [xi] [xii] Sense of belonging has been found to have a direct correlation to success in college for students of color.[xiii] a By prioritizing planning that works to increase sense of belonging we will strive to impact equity gaps for minoritized students.
The Inclusion Plan Cycle will run from April to March of each year.
[i] Goodenow, C. (1993). The psychological sense of school membership among adolescents: Scale development and educational correlates. Psychology in the Schools, 30(1), 79–90. (quoted from p. 80)
[ii] Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117(3), 497–529.
[v] Adapted from Ferris State University. Diversity Office. (n.d.) Diversity and Inclusion Definitions.
[vii] Colorado Commission on Higher Education. (2017) Colorado rises: Advancing education and talent development (Master Plan).
[viii] Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370–396.
[ix] Bodaghi, N. B., Cheong, L. S., & Zainab, A. N. (2016). Librarians Empathy: Visually Impaired Students’ Experiences Towards Inclusion and Sense of Belonging in an Academic Library. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 42(1), 87–96. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2015.11.003
[x] Freeman, T. M., Anderman, L. H., & Jensen, J. M. (2007). Sense of belonging in college freshmen at the classroom and campus levels. The Journal of Experimental Education, 75(3), 203–220. Retrieved from JSTOR.
[xi] Hausmann, L. R. M., Schofield, J. W., & Woods, R. L. (2007). Sense of belonging as a predictor of intentions to persist among African American and White first-year college students. Research in Higher Education, 48(7), 803–839. Retrieved from JSTOR.
[xii] Meeuwisse, M., Severiens, S. E., & Born, M. Ph. (2010). Learning environment, interaction, sense of belonging and study success in ethnically diverse student groups. Research in Higher Education, 51(6), 528–545. Retrieved from JSTOR
[xiii] Museus, S. D. (2014). The Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) Model: A new theory of success among racially diverse college student populations. In M. B. Paulsen (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research: volume 29 (pp. 189–227). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
[xiv] Based on:
American Library Association. (2011) Strategic Planning for Diversity.
Reyes, K.A. (n.d.) Developing a Strategic Inclusion & Diversity Action Plan: Lessons Learned from Research & Practice.(presentation).
Revised: October 2021