Disproportionate Impact: LGBTQIA+ (2020-2021)
July 2020- May 2021

Sponsor: Student Success Council

Project Background and Need (Why is the project necessary?)

ARC’s vision is to transform the future of all students through inclusive, equitable education. In order to realize this vision, and achieve its mission, the college must contend with the institutional factors that contribute to existing disproportionate impacts. The approach to this work is further defined through ARC’s ongoing commitment to social justice and equity as well as its strategic plan. ARC’s first strategic goal asserts that it will consider students first in its practices: “The college engages and connects students early and often to people, programs, and services as an integrated educational experience. By providing personalized, proactive support, the college fosters relationships that ensure all students, particularly the historically underserved and marginalized, persist, learn, and succeed.” As an active step towards honoring its commitment and working towards its vision, the college is utilizing a series of project teams to intently focus effort on remedying disproportionate impact in an effort to eliminate the opportunity gap.

In 2019-2020, project teams were used to develop recommendations for equitable practice to better support the educational pursuits of African American, Latinx, and Native American student populations. Two additional project teams have been initiated for 2020-2021 to expand ARC’s process of reflection and scrutiny so that it can improve its practices. The LGBTQIA+ Disproportionate Impact project team is needed to gather information and craft recommendations to minimize barriers and foster an environment that will equitize student success for the LGBTQIA+ student population. 

Project Purpose and Scope (What is the project expected to encompass? What are the boundaries?)

The Disproportionate Impact (DI) projects are intended to create a cohesive strategy that (1) is designed to engage students from disproportionately impacted populations to enable their persistence and timely completion of their educational goals; and (2) has the potential to be effectively run at full scale. The scope of this project would focus on serving students that identify as LQBTQIA+, while also recognizing the intersection with other DI populations since the majority of LGBTQIA+ students in California Community Colleges are also students of color.  

During the project, the team will explore and document aspects of the LGBTQIA+ experience as well as suggesting changes that have the potential to create a more equitable learning environment at ARC. A report will be produced that will familiarize the reader with the intended population (e.g., inclusiveness of the LGBTQIA+ acronym) and factors that contribute to disproportionate impact such as the historical exclusion and marginalization of LGBTQIA+ students in education. Specific to ARC, the team will identify institutional barriers as well as recent institutional efforts that influence this student population (e.g., ARC Pride Center). Considering this background and existing literature/sources, the team will identify motivators that contribute to the success of this student population as well as potential methods that might be adopted. Recommendations will then be developed for institutional practices designed to equitize the success of LGBTQIA+ students. These recommendations will be guided by ARC’s Institutional Equity Plan and aligned to other collegewide efforts such as Guided Pathways.

The project team will be primarily comprised of individuals who can contribute knowledge of national, statewide, and local research regarding LGBTQIA+ experiences in higher education; first-hand perspectives of the lived reality of this disproportionately impacted population; and/or those who have supported them as allies. The charge of the project team is limited to the development of the report and design of the recommendations. Actual implementation is beyond the scope of this project. However, participants on the team may subsequently be engaged in implementation through their regularly assigned job duties.  

Project Objectives (What is the project expected to achieve?)

Successful completion of this project is intended to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Define the LGBTQIA+ student population for the readers of the report (assuming that the reader is unfamiliar with the acronym).
  2. Review and briefly summarize the historical exclusion and marginalization of LGBTQIA+ individuals in U.S. education.
  3. Provide a profile of LGBTQIA+ students at ARC that conveys demographics and disproportionate impact while also recognizing relevant data limitations; expand upon this profile with descriptive information about recent efforts that influence the current student experience (e.g., ARC Pride Center).
  4. Identify institutional barriers that perpetuate systems of power and privilege that contribute to the equity gap and affect the experiences of LGBTQIA+ students at ARC.
  5. Provide a literature review or exploration of other sources which outlines high impact practices that could better serve the LGBTQIA+ student population. Identify motivators (academic, personal, spiritual, cultural, etc.) that inspire and produce positive outcomes for LGBTQIA+ students, as well as self-efficacy.  
  6. Considering the Institutional Equity Plan, the college’s efforts in Guided Pathways, and the literature review, identify an appropriate methodological framework of high impact social justice practices, services, and teaching methods that would best serve LGBTQIA+ students at ARC.
  7. Offer clear recommendations for equity-minded practice that are designed to eliminate the equity gap for LGBTQIA+ students.

Project Deliverables (What items will be produced during the project?)

Deliverables to be completed and/or submitted for approval:

  1. Executive summary (1-2 pages) that highlights key findings and captures the recommendations
  2. Full report that includes the following sections:
  • Introduction - acknowledge the project team; discuss purpose and approach
  • History and Context – define LGBTQIA+; briefly summarize historical exclusion and marginalization in U.S. education
  • Profile of LGBTQIA+ Students at ARC – highlight data and other aspects of the current experience 
  • Institutional Barriers and De-motivators at ARC – list or describe the issues that are believed to contribute to disproportionate impact
  • Motivators and High-Impact Practice Models – identify motivators and describe promising practices found in the literature or in use at other institutions
  • Recommendations – provide actionable recommendations

The team may insert additional sections or subtopics to better explore the topic and convey the team’s perspective. Appendices may also be used to offer additional supporting information.

Success Indicators (How will success be measured or determined?)

The project will be considered successful when:

  1. Deliverables are accepted by the Student Success Council and the Executive Leadership Team.
  2. Recommendations for better serving LGBTQIA+ students are available to the college by the end of Spring 2021.
  3. A comprehensive report describing the historical context, literature review, barriers, and high-impact practices related to the education of LGBTQIA+ students is available for inclusion in future professional development efforts. 
  4. The proposed design of college efforts for serving LGBTQIA+ students is sustainable, affordable, manageable, intentional, focused, scaled, and aligned with other college-wide efforts (e.g., Guided Pathways).

All of these indicators can be thoroughly accomplished through completion of the stated project objectives. 

Project Assumptions (What conditions are believed to exist?)

The project team was authorized based on the following assumptions:

  1. LGBTQIA+ faculty, staff, community members, and students are available and willing to create recommendations for practice for their communities. Allies of the LGBTQIA+ community may also participate in the project.
  2. Implementation of the Institutional Equity Plan will serve as the guiding framework for the work of this team.
  3. Proposed strategies to serve these disproportionately impacted student populations will be aligned with collegewide efforts (e.g., Guided Pathways) and scalable for all students.
  4. The college is ready and willing to listen to and act upon the recommendations from the identified DI group (LGBTQIA+).
  5. The project will consider how existing successful programs, such as the PRIDE Center, might be integrated within the overall design. Additionally, given that the majority of students who identify as LGBTQIA+ are also students of color, attention should be focused on integrating the recommendations of the previous DI teams (i.e., African American, Latinx, and Native American) to best serve the intersectional needs of ARC students.
  6. The project was initiated in the midst of remote operations due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Project meetings and team-based work will be conducted remotely and/or provided the option of remote participation throughout the duration of the project. In developing recommendations, the team should consider that there is ambiguity to whether the college will be operating in a fully on-ground, fully remote, or blended model over the next few years. While individual recommendations might be specific to a particular operating model, the overall strategy should be flexible and relevant in any of these scenarios.
  7. Three DI projects have already been completed (African American, Latinx, and Native American) and two additional projects (LGBTQIA+ and API) are scheduled for 2020-2021. While each project serves a unique community, the Student Success Council and Executive Leadership Team consider the deliverables holistically to ensure implementation of a cohesive institutional strategy for eliminating the equity gap across all DI populations.  
  8. The college will provide the resources needed to create professional development in support of the recommendations provided by this team and aligned to the existing plan for institutional professional development (which was influenced by former DI project teams).
  9. Disaggregated data from a recent campus climate survey is available based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity (as well as intersection with race/ethnicity).

Project Risks, Constraints, or Dependencies (What factors might impact the project? How might the project intersect with the internal or external environment including other projects?)

The project team should be aware of the following known risks, constraints, and/or dependencies:

  1. Some of the proposed work touches on district processes and systems (e.g., curriculum, websites, pathways). Decisions made at the district level could affect the team’s ability to produce the deliverables according to the proposed timeline as well as the viability of future implementation.
  2. Intersectionality of LGBTQIA+ students with other groups (e.g., students of color, foster youth) makes it very likely that recommendations of previous and/or future DI populations may also apply to individual LGBTQIA+ students. The recommendations of the previous DI project teams (African American, Latinx, and Native American) will be available for review at the time this project begins.
  3. In forming the charter, a team composition is proposed that represents multiple interests and perspectives. However, it is also recognized that the LGBTQIA+ community is diverse and that no one person can represent the experiences of everyone in the group. 
  4. There is a risk that members of the college community who read the report will not be ready or willing to accept the recommendations, and that existing systems of power and privilege could pose a barrier to the recommendations being heard. However, this work is needed and it is a risk worth taking.

Other Considerations (What are the anticipated implications related to equity and inclusion; research and data; district policies and regulations; district and/or college-wide practices; college-wide cross-functional relationships; and resource needs such as staffing, workload, technology, and space/facilities?)

  1. Ongoing support from the Research Office will be needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the college’s efforts at closing the equity gap.  Assistance may also be needed to extract data for the specified DI population for inclusion in the deliverables or to access relevant data from the recent campus climate survey.
  2. There may be significant implications for college-wide practices, relationships, and resource needs; however, the exact nature of these implications is unknown until the recommendations have been formed.

Project Timeline/Key Milestones

Standard Description of Project Stages

Project Stages Description
Initiation Activities leading to the authorization and chartering of a project team
Preparation Activities which occur once a team is authorized and can be conducted independently to plan, schedule, and setup the project (project management steps)
Team-Based Work Activities which occur in a collaborative environment in which the project team works based on the scope of the charter
Formal Review Activities by which deliverables are submitted to the sponsoring council for formal approval; may involve a sequence of governance review including ELT and/or other entities; formal review may result in acceptance of the deliverables; request for the project team to revisit the design/refinement stages; or abandonment of the project
Closure Activities to celebrate the success of the project and archive the artifacts of the work completed

Planned Governance Flow of Deliverables

Project Stakeholders (Who has a vested interest in the project? Who will it impact?)

Communication Plan (How will information be shared with the stakeholders?)

Based on the previously stated stakeholder list, the general plan for sharing project information is as follows:

Conflict Resolution

Any matter of significance which cannot be resolved by the project leads may be referred to the appropriate administrator (typically the chair of the sponsoring council) or to the President's Executive Staff (PES). Any significant change in charter scope will require approval of a revised charter by the Executive Leadership Team (ELT).

Project Membership

Project Organization, Roles, and Responsibilities

Role Responsibilities
Project Leads
  • Prepares, leads, and follows up on meetings (see details of the Role of the Chair in the ARC Governance Framework)
  • Communicates the project to various stakeholders, and when appropriate, solicits feedback on dradt deliverables through informal review processes
  • Submits the final deliverables to the sponsoring council for approval
Project Steward
(may be one of the leads or a separate individual)
  • Manages the project on behalf of the sponsoring council
  • Drafts the charter in consultation with the sponsoring council's chairs
  • Conducts preliminary research to gather information on promising practices, product options, or other relevant materials to inform the project
  • Develops a work plan based on the charter to organize, sequence, and schedule the work of the project team within the available time frame
  • Reports progress to the sponsoring council
  • Maintains and archives project documentation at the conclusion of the project
  • Assists the project leads as needed
Team Members
  • Participates in all project meetings and activities
  • Supplies valuable knowledge and perspective (often based on the individual's responsibilities or role at ARC)
  • May be assigned specific project tasks to complete outside of project meetings
  • Assists with the "heavy lifting" that is required to accomplish the project deliverables
External Consultant
  • Provides expertise and assistance from an external (non-ARC) perspective
Executive Sponsor
Large, high-impact projects only:
  • Champions the project from the executive level to secure buy-in and ensure viability
  • Communicates project purpose and vision
  • Allocates appropriate resources to support effective development, execution, and institutionalization
  • Maintains awareness of project status and helps mitigate risk
  • Mediates conflicts and facilitates dialogue to resolve project issues
  • Assumes other responsibilities as appropriate based on the project scope

Student Participation

The student voice contributes a diverse perspective to ARC project teams and is highly valued. As project teams have widely varied meeting schedules which can require a substantial time commitment, a flexible set of options have been defined to ensure that project dialogue and deliverables are influenced by the student perspective.
Please check one or more boxes below that indicate the methods the project lead/co-lead intend to use to facilitate student participation during this project.
Method Description Compensated?
ASB Appointment Associated Student Body (ASB) appoints two students to serve on the project team and attend all meetings. This option is considered the standard method of representation. Yes
Student Resource Panel In consultation with ASB, create a student resource panel that is called upon by the project lead/co-lead to provide student input at key points during the project. The resource panel may be an existing group of students (e.g., Sages) or a temporarily formed group assigned to the project. Yes
ASB Direct Involvement Lead/co-leads work directly with ASB to be placed on an ASB agenda, present the project concept, and solicit input from students during a regularly scheduled ASB meeting. No
Student Survey or Focus Group Project conducts a student survey or focus group through the Institutional Research Office and uses the results to inform the work of the project team. No, but incentives may be provided on a case-by-case basis.
Student Forum or Gallery Walk Project holds a student forum or gallery walk during which large groups of students can provide input in response to narrative or visual prompts. ASB would be asked to assist in publicizing the date/time of the event to the student constituency. No
Other (please specify intended methods) TBD – methods for collecting input from the college as a whole (including students) are yet to be determined