What We Do
We utilize a global-minded, community-based, and equity-focused approach in working as a collaborative partner with the 34 community and technical colleges in our state. We strive to support our colleges as they build stronger pipelines to and through postsecondary education; integrate culturally responsive and antiracist curriculum into the teaching and learning process; mitigate racial bias in their hiring practices; foster a sense of belonging by creating inclusive campus environments; implement equitable guided pathways to high wage careers; provide ongoing training on equity and antiracism to faculty, staff, and students; and leverage data and analytics to ensure equity-minded decision-making. As the doorway to higher education for many first-generation, low-income, students of color, our colleges are well-situated to positively impact the success of our systemically minoritized students and the communities in which they live.
Learn more about the ever-growing equity efforts across our system of colleges, within our agency, and throughout our state.
Our system’s 2020-2030 Strategic Plan aligns with a bold vision statement approved by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges in June 2019:
“Leading with racial equity, our colleges maximize student potential and transform lives within a culture of belonging that advances racial, social, and economic justice in service to our diverse communities.”
Our goal in this strategic plan is to double completion rates across-the-board for all students by 2030, and to improve completion rates faster for students of color.
The strategic plan identifies three goals:
- Achieve educational equity for students who are historically underrepresented in higher education. Eliminate inequities in college access, retention and completion for students historically underserved in higher education. Eliminate inequities in wages and university transfers.
- Improve completion rates for all enrolled students across all types of programs and credentials — workforce degrees, transfer degrees, certificates and apprenticeships.
- Increase access and retention among populations who can benefit the most from college access. This includes young adults, working adults, low-income people, people of color, immigrants and single parents.
Please see the full Strategic Plan 2020-2030 document for more information.
In addition to the system's strategic plan, the equity department team adopted an internal 2022-2024 Equity Plan which includes 4 core priorities: 1) every hire matters; 2) cultivating a cultural climate; 3) ensuring lifelong learning; and 4) system alignment.
Our Equity Plan includes activities specifically tailored at mitigating biases within our hiring processes from recruitment through selection and retention; assessing the agency's cultural climate for any gaps and potential growth areas; supporting and scaling antiracist training opportunities; and aligning with the equity efforts of the broader college system.
The Equity Plan will be set in motion this upcoming January 2022 and includes offering equity learning opportunities throughout the year, conducting a full scale climate assessment, establishing support for professional development of employees, and integrating a racial equity review tool.
During the WA State legislative sessions, we recommend important policy direction in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and antiracism by monitoring and evaluating legislative agendas and actions; analyzing data and other information; tracking bills and their amendments; communicating with legislators and their staff; and providing testimony.
The 2021 legislative session garnered rich support and historic investments in our college system's equity efforts with the passage of SB 5227- requiring diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism training and assessments at institutions of higher education and SB 5194 - providing for equity and access in the community and technical colleges. Given the legislative investments and the multitude of initiatives and promising practices already underway for supporting students of color and other minoritized populations on many of our campuses, WA's community and technical college system has great opportunities to advance its equity work forward in a substantial way.
The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team provides ongoing interpretation, guidance, and support to our colleges for implementing the legislative equity initiatives through a series of information sessions, a shared repository of resources, conducting one-on-one meetings with college executive teams, and an open door policy for any inquiries and/or requests for assistance.
Please also see SBCTC Legislative Newsfor updates on Washington State bills.
The strong emergence of executive-level equity officers across many of our colleges helped to establish the first Diversity and Equity Officers Commission (DEOC), a formal statewide collective that meets regularly throughout the year and reports directly to the Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges (WACTC)- Presidents group. The DEOC works to advance racial equity and establishes goals to address power, privilege, and oppression, both within the CTC system and at each of the individual colleges.
The equity department works to center the expertise and intellect of the DEOC and lends ongoing support and guidance as they continue to grow as a group.
Closing racial equity gaps in access and completion at Washington state’s 34 community and technical colleges is a moral and economic imperative that is reflected explicitly in our system’s vision and operationalized on our college campuses through the strong, collaborative leadership of our equity-minded presidents/chancellors and trustees.
In tandem with the DEOC and in support of their efforts, the WACTC Presidents and ACT Trustees groups recently created robust equity committees to help integrate this work from their roles as leaders on their campuses and throughout the college system.
The Higher Education Diversity Collaborative began in October 2020 as a sector-wide convening of the diversity and equity officers from WA's 2-and 4-year colleges and universities, and was a collaboration between the WA State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, the Independent Colleges of WA, and the Council of Presidents.
Since its initial meeting, the HE DEI Collaborative's emerging purpose and scope includes a strategic framing of our work across our sectors, understanding the higher education landscape and our partnership within it, sharing promising practices for supporting students of color and other minoritized students in their higher education journey, and creating space to discuss difficult issues and challenges.
Throughout our system, colleges are developing and delivering an equity-centered learning agenda and professional development offerings focused on the complex concepts of racial equity; systemic, institutional, and interpersonal racism; culturally responsive pedagogy; social and economic justice; power and privilege; white dominant culture; belongingness; inclusion, accessibility, cultural humility, and more.
From our governor-appointed State Board members to the trustees, presidents, faculty, staff and students at our colleges, WA's community and technical college system continues to position itself to dismantle racism in all its forms and ensure diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environments.
Led by SBCTC's Student Success Center with funding from College Spark Washington, a college consortium is working to change the assessment model for English 101 classes, which have been identified as key gatekeeper courses in college. Anti-racist writing assessments are a way to ensure students in English 101 courses are taught and assessed without negative racial bias. The college consortium will share best practices throughout the college system.
With leadership from SBCTC's Student Success Center, all 34 community and technical colleges are fundamentally redesigning the college experience for their students. Under a national research-driven movement known as Guided Pathways, our colleges are reorganizing courses, programs, services, and supports into clear pathways that lead into careers and/or allow for seamless transfer to universities. Guided Pathways has been proven to be a powerful way to close equity gaps and improve completion rates among low-income, first generation college students, and students of color. Students receive step-by-step road maps through their certificates and degrees with a network of advising and support services to help students choose a certificate/degree path, stay on that path, and successfully complete their programs.
Our robust Research department tracks and analyzes student progress and success through a data-driven framework within the Student Achievement Initiative. Data tools identify key academic hurdles by race and income, allowing colleges to track their progress toward educational equity.
The Student Achievement Initiative also includes a funding component. Colleges receive a portion of their state allocation by earning "Equity Points" based on how many students of color reach academic momentum points that lead to, and through, college completion. Examples include completing the first 15 or 30 credits of college, or completing a college-level English or quantitative course.
By request of the WACTC Presidents group, our community and technical college system conducted several system-wide racial policy audits to eliminate barriers for students of color in the areas of admissions, financial aid, and precollege/basic education. Recommendations from these audits were reviewed and several implemented, including consideration of fee waivers for basic education, equity training for financial aid staff, and additional supports for undocumented students.
Last Modified: 6/6/22, 3:15 PM