INCLUSIVITY IN THE nclca
The National College Learning Center Association (NCLCA) represents a diverse body of educators who are dedicated to promoting excellence among learning center personnel. To that end, it is imperative to recognize and celebrate that our members are as diverse as the students we are called to serve.
NCLCA unequivocally stands proudly and firmly in support of our diverse membership and those we serve, and we are not tolerant of hatred or discrimination as it relates to gender identity or expression, sexuality, ethnicity, race, religion, ability, nationality, or any element of a person’s identity. We recognize and celebrate the contributions of our members from historically disenfranchised and underrepresented groups.
Why we believe this is important:
We see you, hear you, value you, and welcome you!
The students we are called to serve represent diverse backgrounds and identities. The following actions are NCLCA’s best practices that can be implemented by learning center professionals to embody a commitment to inclusivity directly in their roles and operations:
#1. Prepare your staff to support the goal of learning centers as agents of equity
Understand, utilize, and communicate an equity mindset over a deficit mindset (refer to the work of Dr. Estella Mara Bensimon on this topic).
Incorporate the NCLCA Inclusivity Statement in your learning center website, training materials (similar to an ethics statement), and/or a training handbook (written and/or electronic).
Develop financial success modules and information for underfinanced students or link to such resources on your website.
Ensure that the demographics of your service providers are at parity with those of the students they serve.
Implement anti-bias training for all service providers, and ideally implement some that are specific to fields with disproportionate success rates across populations.
Ensure tutors, peer coaches, SI/PAL leaders, graduate assistants, and professional staff receive solution-focused diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training (which can be part of CRLA tutor training curricula). Some examples include:
Cross-cultural communication workshops
Ally / Safe Zone training
Reducing and eliminating microaggressions
Engaging in microresistance to microaggressions
Inclusive language, pronouns, and supportive behaviors training
Anti-bias trainings, cultural humility, white privilege and fragility
Neurodiversity awareness and intentional inclusion practices
#2. Evaluate the representation and reach of your programs
Evaluate marketing strategies to ensure inclusive language that welcomes and attracts underrepresented students to use services.
Partner with access and equity programs on campus. Each program will be unique. Determine their students’ needs and work collaboratively to develop content.
Collect and analyze data related to utilization rates and student success measures of diverse and underrepresented communities in comparison with majority populations. Identify reasons for differences and work with campus partners to close opportunity and achievement gaps.
Recruit a diverse and representative body of students to serve as employees and on your learning center’s advisory board.
Collect data on incoming students identified as underprepared and develop specific resources, services, and/or courses that target this population. Work collaboratively with campus partners to ensure this population is supported through your center. Develop specific student success measures for this population and analyze the impact of academic support.
Evaluate access to online support and online tutoring among diverse and underrepresented populations, and work with campus partners to address gaps or deficiencies.
Identify courses that have disproportionately high failure and withdrawal rates for under-represented groups and design support services specific to those courses.
Create representative and equitable hiring procedures to ensure representation of diverse populations. Implement varied student staff recruitment methods and representation goals.
#3. Make your support publicly known
Incorporate your commitment in your learning center’s mission and/or values statement.
Display the NCLCA Inclusivity Statement prominently in your center.
Consult with campus experts on your learning center’s marketing materials (printed and electronic) to ensure messaging is inclusive, welcoming, and authentic.
Participate in tabling events and resource fairs for diverse and underserved student populations (e.g., Disability Offices, LGBTQIA+ centers, Cultural Centers, etc.) to market services and recruit student leaders.
Hold recruitment events specifically for diverse community members and/or promote such opportunities for paraprofessional positions through appropriate campus centers.
Publicly celebrate successes achieved by diverse and historically underrepresented students using your center’s services. Ensure that you have an equity-minded approach in these communications.