Already and Not Yet

This idea comes up at my church around Christmastime, and it makes me think of the CRTL Program’s work to build culturally responsive and culturally sustaining institutions. We are already celebrating students’ own cultures and knowledge bases through reading diverse authors or exploring the lives underrepresented people. We are already encouraging the study of the voiceless throughout history, whether through narratives of enslaved peoples or oral histories of Native Americans.  We are already building empathy within our classrooms by sharing student stories of being stereotyped for wearing a hijab. We are already empowering students to take charge of their education through collaborating with them on building the syllabus. We are already doing all this.


Maura O’Hare Hill
Assistant Professor, English
Co-Director CRTL Program

But we do not yet have equity. We have not yet closed the opportunity gap. With Whites making up 82% of faculty across the country, we do not yet have a faculty that represents our students. We still call them “gatekeeper courses.” We still have a debate about whose standards are valid. We are not there yet. Why not? Writing for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Pamela Newkirk references a kind of collective forgetting of the evils of segregation, and the desire for “drive-by diversity” as a few of the reasons we have not yet fulfilled the promises of the Civil Rights movement. Newkirk suggests that there is simply a lack of intention on the part of administrators in higher education. After a summer of protest, some schools are acknowledging the demands of their students for an education that reflects them and their lived experiences. But after a semester of upended teaching, will we have the energy and the focus to follow through? Without intentionally placing diversity at the center of decision-making, we are going to be stuck in “not yet” for a while.

At the 2019 CRTL conference, Dr. Chris Emdin encouraged all the attendees, and all who want “already” to be a reality, to get PhDs and to become administrators, to be in the room where it happens. That’s quite an investment of time, money, and effort, with no guarantee of a seat at the table. Leaving the classroom will be a sacrifice for many of us. But consider the impact it might make to take what we are already doing with our own students and bring it to the entire school, district, system, or campus where equity is not yet apparent.


Why Diversity Measures Fail: (

Already and Not Yet Read More »

How we Chose to ‘Rise from the Ashes’ for Fall Focus

This summer I had the opportunity to work with the most wonderful colleagues from CCBC and how we came together is a blur. It was a moment in time catapulted by the images and recordings of unnecessary acts of violence against people of color. Our desire to do more to demonstrate and educate others that this behavior is unacceptable, is what brought us together. The idea started on a whim when Professor Ann Kaiser Stearns contacted me.

Photo of Andre Ifill

Andre’ Ifill
Assistant Professor, Wellness
Member, CRTL Advisory Committee

 I honestly communicated with her that I wasn’t psychologically in a good place because of personal past experiences with excessive use of force. She asked if there was something she could do to help, and I said, “stand and fight with me.” Standing on the sidelines isn’t enough. Almost like it was out of a movie, she said she knew some people at CCBC that are ready to fight. Next thing I know, literally later that day, we are on a Zoom call, no permission from CCBC to do anything at this point, throwing ideas out. We finally decided on what to do and asked CCBC President Dr. Sandra Kurtinitis if she could allot us the time at Fall Focus, the opening meeting for all faculty and staff, for a special presentation. She said yes, and trusted us to properly educate those who are open to being anti-racist. Off to work we went.

At first, we had big plans and soon came to realize that our biggest issue was time. How do you take hundreds of years of systematic inequality and condense them into 75 minutes? We wanted to include the right message, music to set the tone of urgency in addressing this and most importantly other members of the CCBC family to share their experiences, so we can see how systematic racism has affected so many members of our own family. Overall, I believe that we covered what we needed to and the overall talent of those in our virtual meetings showed up in the final product. (Watch our presentation here). The feedback was positive in most cases from the CCBC community. Unfortunately, there are some that refuse to examine the facts and face the truth about systematic racism. What I do know is that we helped inform those who wanted to learn more. There is still more work to be done though. The fight doesn’t end until true equality and equity is achieved for everyone.

One last “Thank You” to Ann, Ingrid, Amy, Vicki, Patricia, and Sakina for all the long hours and hard work that went into our presentation.

How we Chose to ‘Rise from the Ashes’ for Fall Focus Read More »

Welcome to the CRTL Blog

Fall 2019

The fall has been a busy time for all. Many of us returned enthusiastically to our classrooms, whether in community colleges, four year colleges or universities, or as teachers in K-12. We have met our students, and are now immersed into a semester nearly over. Final grades will be posted in a few weeks and conferences are being held. We are doing the work we love!

CCBC’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning Program (CRTL) team are busy as well. Our trainings started in August when we introduced a new module on Implicit Bias and Restorative Justice. We were excited to open this discussion at CCBC. Our intention is to help our students as they cope with unconscious bias and micro-aggressions in hurtful encounters with faculty, staff and sometimes their peers. More about the new module in another post.

The CRTL directors, Tamisha Ponder, Maura Hill and myself, felt that a great way to stay in touch with you, educators committed to doing equity work, was to use our website to communicate directly with you. We will post a blog monthly to do just that.

As our CRTL conference chair, I wanted to address a question we get each year. This is ususally in the form of a conference survey question. Why do we always talk about race? Consequently, I decided I wanted to tackle this important question. First, I suggest that instead of posing this question to us or others, that some self-reflection should be taken. The RIQ – reflection, interpretation, and inquiry (Hollins) we often talk about as part of this work would cause a reverse question: Why not talk about race? My answer: Race undergirds all in this country. Without the creation of and institutionalization of race and racism there would be no need to discuss race. Further, it is perhaps the most important aspect of equity work. Race itself is in every room we enter. It is most certainly in our schools. To ignore it is to allow the intended and unintended inequities in our society to continue unchecked. Also, for those who pose the question, perhaps your other question is Why don’t I want to talk about race? Does it make you uncomfortable? Why? Take your time, perhaps in a written reflection to answer the question.

Attendant to this survey question is why don’t we talk about other inequities? Well, we don’t play the game of competing inequities. However, we constantly acknowledge other inequities in our CRTL work, including at our conference. We speak on inequities around ethnicity, gender, gender identification, learning differences, disabilities, sexual orientations, and more. We acknowledge and discuss the myriad of diversities when we discuss Culture and Race in our trainings and at our conference. But, while doing that, we will never stop talking about race.

Our 2020 conference theme is Infusing Classrooms and Institutions with Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and will be held on Thursday, April 23 and Friday, April 24, 2020 at the Maritime Institute. Registration and Call for Proposals are open and information is available on our website. Our Train-the-Trainer Institute will be held pre-conference on Wednesday, April 22nd.  More about that is coming as well.

As the year closes, classes end, students scatter, and we anticipate holidays and a New Year, stay in touch. Share your own stories of equity work at your institutions with us. Send us a conference proposal and register a group. We have new information, research, and data to share with you and a brand new module. Like us on Facebook and Twitter to get involved.

We look forward to seeing you in April 2020!

Jadi Z. Omowale
6th Annual CRTL Conference Chair

Welcome to the CRTL Blog Read More »

Recap: The Magic of the Work

As was true at the Pre-conference Institute April 2018, the November Train-the Trainer Institute brought together educators who are striving to improve equity for students and staff at their institutions. The two-day collaborative experience strengthened hopefulness and grounded all in contemplative practices that will help us sustain efforts to move our institutions from the fixed orientation of the status quo to the growth orientation of inclusion and sharing.

As one participant said at the end of April’s Institute, “This was magical!”         So it was this time, too.

Recap: The Magic of the Work Read More »

Accomplishments Academic Year 2017-2018

[SlideDeck2 id=1080]

Here is a list of the many activities completed this academic year:

  • We successfully convened the 4th Annual CRT-L Conference featuring Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings and Dr. Kimberly R. Moffitt
  • Launched a Train-the Trainer Institute at the CRT-L Conference; 40 educators from all corners of the country participated.
  • Conducted a 5-day (15 contact hours) Winter 2018 CRT-L Seminar
  • Two semester-long CETL CRT-L Adjunct Series (4 two-hour modules each)
  • Four two-hour training sessions with Mount St. Mary’s College
  • Conducted “What is CRT-L?” workshops for CCBC’s President’s Leadership Academy, Academic Development Instructors trainings, and the whole-college Professional Development Conference
  • In June, we completed the intensive 8-day CRT-L Seminar with 15 participants
  • Now offering a pre-conference training at Conference on Acceleration in Developmental Education (CADE) in National Harbor, D.C. June 2018 (See


Accomplishments Academic Year 2017-2018 Read More »

Summer 2017: Trainers offer Interactive Preview of CRT-L to Public School District in Morristown, New Jersey

In August, two trainers of the Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning Program (CRT-L) at CCBC travel to Morristown, New Jersey to present a three-hour workshop previewing the content and process of the CRT-L. The successful session paved the way for further collaborations and dialogue via CRT-L modules workshops.

Summer 2017: Trainers offer Interactive Preview of CRT-L to Public School District in Morristown, New Jersey Read More »

CRT-L at CCBC is collaborating with Mellon Foundation & Johns Hopkins University

The Mellon Foundation has presented our CRT-L program with a unique and exciting opportunity. Doctoral students and post-Docs at Johns Hopkins University received training in our CRT-L modules this spring in preparation for teaching at CCBC and elsewhere. CRT-L trainers will conduct four two-hour workshops at the Homewood Campus of Johns Hopkins. The program will continue each semester for the next two years.

CRT-L at CCBC is collaborating with Mellon Foundation & Johns Hopkins University Read More »