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Ready for Equity? A Cross-Cultural Organizational Framework to Scale Access to Learning-Ready Classrooms That Support Student Success

Summers & Beers, 2019 / Journal of Teaching and Learning With Technology / August 2019

There is a national urgency in higher-education to close the achievement gap and increase graduation rates for first generation, low-income and underrepresented minorities, and classroom environments are integral to student learning experience. The authors propose shifting learning space discussions away from building an historically small number of active learning spaces, towards a larger number of what they term “learning-ready classrooms,” which apply universal design principles to support the multiple teaching identities and philosophies of faculty and the physiological, cultural, and cognitive needs of all students. Equitable access to learning-ready classrooms means they must be built at scale, so it is imperative to earn campus-wide commitment to this goal by honoring the multiple perspectives and priorities of members of all six cultures of the academy, as identified by Berquist (1992) and Berquist and Pawlak (2008). This article proposes a cross-cultural organizational framework, embodied in the example of a Classroom Readiness Committee (CRC) charter, that unites and aligns the different organizational perspectives of its members through clearly articulated mission, vision, functions and belief statements. Preliminary findings suggest that institutions can engage and mobilize multiple stakeholders towards the common goal of providing equitable access to learning-ready classrooms as long as the goal aligns with the core values and priorities of the institution, is clearly articulated and communicated, and honors the perspectives of the six cultures of the academy.