Phase 5: Scale
This fifth and final stage of the TLA Framework allows campuses to be intentional and aspirational about scaling their project efforts across additional pathways. Campuses will explore different factors that may affect scaling, including, but not limited to, obtaining support (financial and human resources) from leaders and senior administrators, garnering interest from faculty in other disciplines, and intentionally thinking about how to prioritize and sustain equity-centered practices.
As campuses implement their efforts within their identified pathways, it is important to assess how the TLA Framework process can be scaled across other institutional pathways and programs.
Consider these guiding questions as you move through the Scale phase.
- What key aspects of what has been learned throughout the TLA process should be scaled across additional pathways?
- What is needed to scale the project across other pathways at your institution?
- How might the core components for ensuring students are learning factor into scaling and mobilizing project efforts?
- What are the main factors at your institution that will affect scaling project efforts?
- What are the barriers to scaling?
- What are the opportunities for successful scaling?
- How can your campus team build capacity and advance stakeholder engagement for successful scaling? What professional development enhancements are needed to achieve your scaling goals?
- Who are the faculty, leaders, and administrators who could help make scaling possible?
- How can you effectively communicate project goals and successes to them?
- How will you measure progress? What are some indicators of successful scaling?
- What are the concrete ways your institution and institutional leadership will show commitment to scaling these efforts?
- How can your project efforts be scaled and leveraged to become a part of recruitment strategies for senior administrators?
- How will you continue to advance equity and equity-mindedness while scaling project efforts?
- What are your equity goals for scaling? What are the intended outcomes of your equity goals?
Complete the Scale of Adoption Self-Assessment—Again
As part of the final phase of the TLA process, the pilot campus teams revisited the Ensure Students Are Learning portion of the Community College Research Center (CCRC) Scale of Adoption Self-Assessment (SOAA) to compare responses against those from the beginning of the project. Completing the SOAA a second time helps campus teams understand which goals have been met since the beginning of the project, which components are now successfully at scale, and what elements of the work require more scaling support. Campus teams can compare the progress they have made and again consider what next steps are needed to ensure areas are at scale for all students on campus.
Campus Spotlight: Scale of Adoption Self-Assessment
At Crafton Hills College, completing an updated version of their SOAA helped to showcase the progress that was made in documenting student learning through means beyond transcripts. When the Crafton Hills team completed the SOAA in early 2019, they reported that helping “students document their learning for employers and universities through portfolios and other means beyond transcripts” was not a systematic practice at the time. The college had not adopted a portfolio method to document student learning outcomes, other than in their visual and performing arts programs.
After completing the SOAA again in 2021, the Crafton Hills team implemented and planned to scale use of Jobspeaker, a career-planning tool that helps students document their learning and skills obtained along their pathway. Students can then share their skills with potential employers, who are able to search job candidates based on the skills listed in their profile.
The Crafton Hills team is preparing to scale the use of Jobspeaker by engaging more faculty, staff, and students. In scaling this tool, the Crafton Hills team anticipates learning more about its functionality and exploring how such a tool can better meet the needs of individual students and enhance the overall student experience.
Institutional Commitment to Scaling
One of the most important factors in sustaining and scaling a large project is institutional support and commitment. This includes investing in financial and human resources to support participating faculty and administrators during the process of infusing the work into the institution’s strategic priorities and planning.
Recommendations: Institutional Investment
- Ensure that institutional leaders are publicly and personally invested in the work—top leaders such as the president, provost, vice president for academic affairs, deans, trustees, etc.—are important stakeholders to engage in the scaling efforts.
- Allocate financial resources to scale the work—this includes designated funds for faculty stipends, professional development, and project-related resources.
- Invest in technology that democratizes data and makes assessment more accessible.
- Allow release time for key personnel to focus on implementing and scaling project efforts—this will help build the capacity necessary to be successful.
- If resources are available and/or can be redirected, expand support for positions that will ensure the work is being done—for example, a HIPs Coordinator, Assessment & Academic Data Coordinator, etc.
- Create cross-college taskforces charged with coordinating and scaling the initiative—create a diverse taskforce that includes faculty, staff, and leadership from different departments, offices, and pathways.
Campus Spotlight: Investing in the Work
At South Texas College, the support of institutional leadership has been critical to scaling program learning outcomes assessment for transfer and documentation of student learning. As one team member described it at South Texas College, the institutional commitment to scaling was now “palpable”—the project moved beyond the phase of having to seek support and leadership commitment. Now, leadership is reaching out to the original faculty and team members to offer support, resources, and ideas for scaling efforts. This palpable commitment to scaling was manifested in two ways:
An existing collaborative between South Texas College and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and an emerging collaborative between South Texas College and Texas A&M University Kingsville, will help to align curricula and program learning outcomes across the three institutions. These collaboratives include program-to-program working groups of deans, chairs, and faculty from each of the Texas-based institutions, who will work together to align learning outcomes, with a focused interest on transfer students.
To scale efforts for documenting student learning through ePortfolios and comprehensive learner records, the South Texas College Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Director of Learning Outcomes created a taskforce to research and vet ePortfolio options, with the eventual goal of pursuing an institutional subscription. With an institutional subscription to an ePortfolio tool, South Texas College will be able to document and track student learning and employability skills across all pathways and programs.
Sustaining Equity & Equity-Mindedness through Scaling
Equity-centered practices should be considered and implemented from the beginning of the TLA process. The process should include clarity in terminology and equity goals should align with discussions on how those goals translate into practice within guided pathways. To sustain equity and equity-minded practices during the scaling process, it is critical that institutions are held accountable for their equity goals.
Recommendations: Equity Accountability
- Clarify your definition of equity and equity-mindedness from the beginning. Avoid using terms like “equitable,” “equity-minded,” and “equity-conscious” interchangeably.
- Intentionally define your equity goals and outcomes—ensure that there is a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve, and why. This is useful for creating institutional accountability as you continue to scale equity-driven efforts.
- When using language like “we seek to close equity gaps,” set aspirational goals and triangulate student data to define what student success looks like for all students. Do not set the standard of excellence and success based on what White or majority students are achieving (see Reimagining How We Define Equity Gaps, by Tia Brown McNair).
- Intentionally devise strategies that address the cultural or political mindset shifts that need to occur to implement equity-minded practices. Require that equity be a part of the institution’s guided pathways framework in transparent and accountable ways.
Campus Spotlights: Sustaining Equity Through Scaling
At Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC), successful scaling happens when intentionality and structural support come together. At the course and program levels, assessment plans now include a DEI narrative to help facilitate conversations about equity and to help faculty reflect on the meaning of equity within their individual disciplines.
The addition of DEI narratives to assessment plans invites faculty to use disciplinary language to strengthen conversations within the FLCC governance system (i.e., assessment committee) that reviews course and program assessment plans.
The structural support for these narratives comes from a peer-to-peer coaching model, where coaches help faculty members think through equity concepts and define clear equity goals and outcomes within their fields. Coaches help faculty members craft equity narratives that add intentionality to assessment plans, which become much more powerful than filling out a standard assessment plan form.
Once assessment at the program and course levels happens, faculty and leaders can reflect on the equity narrative and language recorded, and ask themselves “are we meeting the spirit of that narrative promise”?
To scale their equity efforts and ensure that their students of color receive improved academic support services, San Jacinto College leadership has embedded a strategic annual priority and college-wide objective for all employees to improve and expand their focus on DEI. This includes mandatory professional development activities and measured, instructional improvements.
Part of this strategic initiative is Mosaic—a college-wide, equity-centered mentoring and bridge program that connects African American and Black-identifying students with faculty and staff who share lived personal and educational experiences. The Mosaic program offers several benefits to students including:
- Connecting with dedicated professors and staff mentors with similar educational experiences
- Developing a deeper understanding of the culture of higher education
- Gaining tips, insights, and resources to ensure college success
As of fall 2020, 9.8 percent of the student population at San Jacinto College identified as Black or African American. The Mosaic program at San Jacinto College offers minoritized students the opportunity to define and map their college success with the help of mentors who have also experienced higher education as minoritized or marginalized individuals.
Scaling Professional Development
Building capacity and sustaining faculty engagement are critical for scaling efforts across other pathways. One of the most effective ways of achieving these goals is through targeted professional development opportunities. As the pilot campuses began to think about scaling their projects, many scaled professional development events surrounding equity and equity-mindedness, inclusive teaching, syllabus review, assignment design, HIPs, assessment, and instructional design. Many of the pilot campuses have partnered with or established a teaching and learning center to mobilize their professional development efforts and reach more faculty across other pathways and departments.
Campus Spotlights: Scaling Professional Development & Models for Scaling
Using an asset-based lens, the Houston Community College (HCC) team focused some of their attention on scaling professional development opportunities related to equity, asset-based teaching, and culturally responsive instruction. This focus for scaling was prompted by results received from HCC’s disaggregated VALUE Scoring Collaborative reports, which demonstrated persisting equity gaps in student learning across time and rubric dimensions within the Written Communication outcome (see the figure below for one dimension example). The results revealed clear implications for assignment design, teaching practices, and learning outcomes assessment design, leading the HCC team to reconsider how to design, deliver, and scale their professional development.
To scale equity-centered professional development opportunities in relation to the work being undertaken in their English and Government courses, faculty from the HCC team that were engaged in the project will help develop and deliver the professional development to faculty outside of their pathways. Utilizing this peer-to-peer delivery of professional development and cross-pathway learning, the HCC team will work to improve teaching practices and increase student engagement. Professional development also will target areas such as VALUE report analysis, instructional design, and learning outcomes assessment.
Kilgore College adopted models for scaling their assessment efforts across other programs at the college, with the eventual goal of scaling across all workforce programs. The models are designed to be continuous improvement cycles for programs, including a focus on professional development, redesign, assessment, and analysis.
Professional development: incorporating development opportunities for faculty such as VALUE scorer training, the AAC&U Institute on High-Impact Practices and Student Success, focused webinars, etc.
Redesign: redesigning lab instructions and assignments to incorporate critical thinking practices, and using performance descriptors from VALUE rubrics to redesign course assignments.
Assessment: utilizing VALUE rubrics and participating in the VALUE Scoring Collaborative student artifact scoring process to assess student learning outcomes and identify persisting equity gaps.
Analysis: analyzing assessment data and results to plan for and scale continuous improvements across all workforce programs.
- Complete the Community College Research Center’s (CCRC) Scale of Adoption Self-Assessment (SOAA) for comparative data on progress toward scaling since the beginning of the TLA process.
- Utilize the SOAA or a similar tool to understand what areas of the Ensure Students Are Learning pillar have been successfully scaled, and which areas require deeper inquiry and improvements to make scaling possible.
- To be successful in scaling efforts across your institution, it is critical that there is a strong commitment, dedication, and investment in the work from leadership and other key campus stakeholders.
- Financial, human, and technological capital are key to advancing project efforts—consider which stakeholders to engage and share results with, and which resources are needed to scale the work.
- Build institutional capacity by investing in current faculty and additional resources to ensure that scaling is happening effectively and equitably.
- To ensure that equity is being sustained during scaling, ensure that there is a clear understanding and institution-wide definition of your equity language, goals, and outcomes.
- Triangulate student data to define your equity language and to set your standard for success.
- Center equity in your institution’s Guided Pathways framework
- Research tools that will help you set your equity-centered goals and support accountability. Utilize the tools that work best within your institutional environment to discuss realistic short- and long-term equity goals, and to examine your teaching, learning, and academic support practices.
- Based on lessons learned and institutional data, how can you scale up professional development opportunities to maximize their reach for staff, faculty, and leaders?
- Partnering with other offices or centers on campus can help mobilize and expand your professional development opportunities and events, helping reach a broader audience of stakeholders.
- Utilize the faculty that were engaged in your pathways work to help develop and deliver professional development opportunities to other faculty. Their expertise and background in the work will help create effective, peer-to-peer training and learning experiences.
Engage with the resources below, selected to help campuses consider areas of focus introduced in the Scale phase.
- USC Center for Urban Education
- Reclaiming Racial Justice in Equity, Estela Bensimon
- Reimagining How We Define Equity Gaps, Tia Brown McNair
- Key Takeaways and Recommendations to Strengthen Guided Pathways, Tia Brown McNair
- CCRC Scale of Adoption Self-Assessment
- CCCSE Ensuring Students Are Learning Web Toolkit