The Washington Community College Statewide Consortium for Research & Equity: A Progress Report

Irene Shaver
Program Manager for Experiential Learning
Bellevue College

The Washington Consortium for Undergraduate Research and Equity (WA CURE) is a collaboration of faculty, staff, and administrators from the 34 Washington Community and Technical Colleges tasked with developing an equity-based state-wide undergraduate research program. Though college-wide undergraduate research programs at community colleges are a developing trend, most undergraduate research experiences tend to rely less on institutionalization and more on instructor-level efforts which limit widespread access to diverse students who stand to benefit the most from such experiences. As it begins its work, WA CURE is tackling two core questions: 1) How to best balance the ethical need to build equitable systems from the ground up with the practical necessity of working with existing resources and structures, and 2) How to best foster and facilitate the new structures, experiences, and relationships that are needed to develop the vision, practical skills and resources, and networks to drive equitable systemic change? This poster considers what it means to drive systemic change and capacity-building within an equity framework and summarizes the equity-based collaborative design process, specifically: 1) our developing theory of change and equity framework, 2) creating a distributive leadership structure based on shared visioning, collective learning and inquiry, and 3) preliminary findings from a baseline survey of WA CURE participants. This work makes a valuable contribution from a community college perspective to the undergraduate research ecosystem and for centering equity in systemic change processes. By engaging in an institutional and statewide emergent change process this project not only has the potential to impact the 369,709 students in the Washington state community and technical college system but also provide a model for other state systems enacting equity-based change.


Robin Datta, Edmonds College, Lynnwood, WA; Wendy Rockhill, Central Seattle College, Seattle, WA; Valerie Sundby, State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, Olympia, WA; Ann Murkowski, North Seattle College, Seattle, WA; Kyle Hammon, Adjunct (multiple institutions), Longview, WA; Jenny Liou, Pierce College, Puyallap, WA; Matthew Loeser, Yakima Valley College, Yakima, WA; Anita Harker, Whatcom Community College, Bellingham, WA; Travis Kibota, Clark College, Vancouver, WA