ESCALA…I Believe in You!

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to be part of the ESCALA Education Summer Retreat and begin my journey in the Certificate in College Teaching & Learning in Hispanic Serving Institutions program with a cohort of colleagues from my campus. The core of ESCALA focuses on faculty development through a self-reflective framework. This builds throughout the retreat, by adding both concepts and tools to map one’s personal journey in meeting the needs of all students.

While there were many takeaways from my experiences in Santa Fe, New Mexico (a beautiful, very cultural town) both professionally and personally, some key highlights include:

  • having the opportunity to spend more time with colleagues outside of campus
  • deepening my understanding of cultural influences in learning (and teaching!) and how everything we do is woven with these patterns including the hidden rules/expectations of each
  • exploring context of cultures (framework for looking at culture); high and low context differences in the ways in which we engage, communicate, learn, etc.
  • building trust with students

Telling my students
“I Believe in You”


ós I gather the various nuggets of my experience at ESCALA, I plan to not only change a few activities in my course (and a few approaches), but am going to merge this work into a formal study in my classroom this year that is looking at a specific intervention to find out whether or not it influences a sense of belonging for first-year freshmen. My goal is to align this study with my ESCALA Certificate Project, which will include looking at equity data in my course (pre and post intervention). Deepening my own awareness/assumptions/biases/cultural contexts will help me to be more thoughtful and intentional about understanding and supporting all learners and the cultural capital that they bring to the learning experience.

In my faculty developer role, I am interested in how our institution might build on the ESCALA work and tools to create a sustainable model on our campus. I hear from faculty colleagues that have participated in ESCALA, that this framework provides a structure that motivates them in completing their project.

Key resources:

  • Classroom Cultural Context Inventory” to create a personal connection to the high/low context framework that will help educators connect their own contexts to the contexts of their students
  • Laura Rendon’s Cultural Capital List

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