Bias Response
April 2022 - December 2022

Sponsor: Student Success Council

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

American River College embarked upon a holistic redesign intended to transform the student experience. Foundational to this work, its Strategic Plan Goal 3 calls for the College to ensure “an equitable, safe, and inclusive teaching, learning, and working environment.” Furthermore, it asserts that “the College promotes liberation and honors the dignity, humanity, and contributions of all members of our community.” Accountable to this goal, the college developed its first Institutional Equity Plan. The implementation of the recommendations contained within this plan has shed a light on the need for the College to develop a model to address actions and behaviors that cause damage to the core institutional values of equity, safety, inclusion, liberation, and honoring the dignity and humanity of all members of the college community. Examples of such actions and behaviors include instances that fall in the categories of hate, microaggression, implicit and explicit bias on members of the College community. Collectively referred to as bias incidents, concrete examples include threatening telephone calls or mail (including electronic mail), graffiti, physical assault, stalking, vandalism, destruction of personal property, harassment, or coercion.

This project is proposed to provide a recommended model for responding to acts of bias upon members of the ARC community. As a whole, this model should reflect that at ARC inclusion and the relationships between individuals are valuable and important. Also, this model should foster an environment that further promotes employee development and retention in support of the college mission. While the model should be responsive to all forms of bias, given the college focus on Disproportionately Impacted Populations at ARC and our Resource Panel on Retaining Faculty and Staff of Color, this Bias Response model should include specific focus on racial bias, Tribal bias, LGBTQIA+ bias, and intersectional forms of bias. 

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

This project will consider bias response as a strategic mechanism to enable the college to achieve its strategic goals. The project team is expected to carefully consider how the college might best create a comprehensive, integrated, and intentionally sequenced bias response model in support of the following goals:

▪ Strategic Goal 1: Students First

▪ Strategic Goal 3: Exemplary Working and Learning Environment

▪ Strategic Goal 4: Vibrancy and Resiliency

Underlying all of these goals is the institutional imperative: a commitment to social justice and equity that strives to uphold the dignity and humanity of every student and employee.

The project will consider questions such as:

▪ How can a bias response model be structured to foster ARC’s commitment to inclusion, social justice, and equity?

▪ How can recommendations of the Institutional Equity Plan related to bias response be integrated? 

▪ How can this Bias Response model be designed to address the College's disproportionate impact on Black, African American, Native American, Latinx, AAPI, and LGBTQIA+ students and other disproportionately impacted groups?

▪ How can recommendations of the Professional Development and Training Plan related to bias response be integrated?

▪ How can a bias response model assure all members of the college community who experience or witness an act of bias receive support and access to resources?

▪ Which resources (internal and external) are available and needed to provide a comprehensive, integrated bias response effort?

The charge of the project team is limited to the planning process including steps such as assessment, analysis, strategy design, and developing recommendations. Actual implementation of a bias response model and strategies are beyond the scope of work. 

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

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

1) Gather resources to inform the planning process such as initial insights from the institutional equity planning process, promising practices from other institutions, other relevant research, and DI Project Team Reports.

2) Assess the current state of ARC practices related to bias response, such as the Crisis Assessment Support Team (CAST)

3) Assess practices and efforts at the College that pose barriers to an effective bias response model

4) Consider the composition/membership of a bias response team that would be most effective

5) Project the future needs of a bias response model considering the ARC Redesign, the rapidly changing environment, and ARC student population, including disproportionately impacted groups.

6) Consider training and development needed for employees who participate as members of a bias response team, as well as for members of the broader college community

7) Identify clear priorities for bias response at ARC

8) Develop recommendations that are actionable

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

Deliverables to be completed and/or submitted for approval:

1) Draft a recommended bias response model including:

a. Purpose

b. Recommended team composition/membership roles

c. Team responsibilities

d. Member responsibilities

e. Training needed for members

f. Intake process to handle reported incidents of bias

g. Review/response process

h. Timeline for response

2) Other responsibilities to consider for the bias response model:

a. Monitoring campus climate (data/research)

b. Advocating for prevention of incidents of bias and hate.

c. Assisting campus groups and recommending educational programs

d. Monitoring current world events that may potentially trigger bias incidents 

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

The project will be considered successful when:

1) A draft report containing a bias incident model has been completed

2) Actionable recommendations are identified in the report

3) A draft of recommendations is considered through established governance channels

4) The adopted recommendations are available to serve as a roadmap for institutional bias response efforts

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:

▪ ARC’s mission, strategic goals, and commitment to social justice and equity and the value of inclusion are central to this work.

▪ New training needs will accompany much of the anticipated work of the ARC Redesign.

▪ Equity requires focusing resources to specifically support the College’s disproportionately impacted groups, including Black, African American, Native American, Latinx, AAPI, and LGBTQIA+ students.

▪ Human interaction is impacted by the complexities of social dynamics and world events, manifesting as incidents of bias and hate

▪ The higher education environment and the world of work are both changing extremely rapidly. Coping with change while mitigating damage brought about by incidents of bias is a necessary strand of community college professional development.

▪ Bias response expertise may need to be obtained through a variety of internal and external opportunities that have varying associated costs. While it is recognized that available resources are limited, the team’s focus should be placed on designing an effective model. The team is also encouraged to provide options and alternatives that may be aligned to future resource constraints.

▪ In order to effectively realize the goals of ARC’s strategic plan, this project should consider a model appropriate for various types of employees, including the dynamics of supporting a mobile workforce.

▪ Recommendations should consider a bias response model that builds internal capacity (e.g., train the trainer) and provides just-in-time learning resources as well as ongoing development.

▪ The proposed deliverables will be developed in a manner that advances ARCs efforts regarding LRCCD Board Policy 1.2.12 which holds all employees accountable to “ensure an atmosphere in which controversial issues can be presented fairly and in which the dignity of each individual is maintained.”

▪ The content, style, and format of the plan should be concise and accessible to the average person (not written for an academic audience).

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:

▪ Consideration should account for the intersection of this project and the CAST model

▪ Priorities will need to be aligned to the overarching framework of the Institutional Equity Plan

▪ This project needs to align with work involving the implementation of the Professional Development and Training plan

▪ The implementation of recommendations may be subject to resource constraints.

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?)

▪ Various implications are likely related to equity and inclusion in response to alignment of bias response to the recommendations of the Institutional Equity Plan.

▪ There may be staffing, technology, and/or facility needs related to the provision of bias response team model.

▪ Opportunities may exist to partner with HR in the development of the bias response team model

▪ Data collection and analysis is likely to be needed to determine the effectiveness of the recommended bias response team model once implemented.

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