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Episode 15 Transcript

Michael Hayes 03/29/2021 41

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Guilt in a Space That Is Yours

Time: 44:50


students, first generation college, faculty, learning, people, first generation students, student affairs, professors, campus, chico state, developing, higher education, csu system, support, community, rebecca, experiences, discussion, work, generation


Estela Zarate, He-Lo Ramirez, joshuah whittinghill, Teresa Hernandez, Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton, Introduction Music


He-Lo Ramirez 00:00

Heytanayem nikki yam sa He-Lo nikki Mechoopda Maidu. Hello everyone. My name is He-Lo and I’m a Mechoopda Maidu. We acknowledge and are mindful that Chico State stands on lands that were originally occupied by the first people in this area, the Mechoopda. And we recognize their distinctive spiritual relationship with this land and the waters that run through campus. We are humbled that our campus resides upon sacred lands that have sustained the Mechoopda people for centuries, and continue to do so today.


Introduction Music 01:02

Introduction Music


joshuah whittinghill 01:09

We are recording Teresa.


Teresa Hernandez 01:13

Hello, everyone, welcome back to our listeners, this is going to be another episode of our podcast. It’s been an amazing topic today. So thank you, for everyone who’s listened supported us thus far. Again, to introduce ourselves, we are first generation one of many podcasts. Our mission is to create an archive of discussions with and about first generation student experiences in and out of the classroom. We hope to continue raising awareness and understanding provide voice for students and alum as well as present resources for faculty, staff and students working for and collaborating with first generation students. So very excited to have our listeners tune back in. Of course, we all know I’m not doing this by myself. And this wouldn’t be possible without my co-host, joshuah whittinghill. What’s up, josh?


joshuah whittinghill 01:55

Hey, Teresa today’s you know, an amazing day in Chico we had, we had almost 24 hours of rain. And now today the sun is out. There’s not a cloud in the sky. I’m so excited. Because a it’s that, but my kids are home on a four day weekend, which means they can leave the house and go outside though and actually get their energy out and go have fun with you know, and go have fun with their friends outside and enjoy that. So it’s I’m excited for the day. It is an odd feeling to be working when they’re on vacation and around so much. But it’s so yeah, yeah, it’s still fun. And it is today’s episode is has been long in the development to get it going. I think I asked both of our guests if they would be interested back in June. So almost, you know, close to at least what, eight, nine months ago. And it just takes time to get these things developed. But thankfully, they are here today. And we’re going to learn more about them and what they do. It’s one of our new episodes we’ve had where we have guests who are coming from outside of Chico State’s campus and community. And so that’s wonderful to be spreading the awareness and discussions more throughout the CSU system as well. One of your colleagues from San Francisco State was on episode number two. So that was one of the last times we had an outside of CSU Chico. Guest. So this is wonderful.


Teresa Hernandez 03:15

Yeah, it’s gonna be an awesome.


joshuah whittinghill 03:16

Yeah yeah and so, like usual, we have a quote to start for the day. And this one comes right from some of the reading that both of our guests are going to talk about that they use in their work. And this is from a book called Teaching Across Cultural Strengths by Alicia Fedelina Chávez and Susan Diana Longerbeam. The quote is, we encourage everyone to try not to feel like you need to know every culture thoroughly in order to be completely sensitive. Just try incites, sensitivity, awareness and cultural responsiveness develop through our efforts over time. And that definitely is a powerful and moving statement in the work of diversity, equity inclusion, people are often worried about am I going to say the right thing Am I going to understand I don’t know, I can’t connect with these students or my colleagues for whatever the purpose is, or reason. But it’s just about trying to listen to understand and continually develop. And even after you do it for 10, 20, 30, 40 years, whatever it is, you’re still learning and developing because each person you meet is going to bring a different experience and different understandings of where they’re coming from just because they might be part of a culture or a group that other people you know, doesn’t mean they bring the same experiences. Quite often I share it. It’s important that we look at as people there are there are outcomes that we all can connect with. Like Have you been happy? Have you been sad if you’ve been angry? Have you been upset? Have you been let down? Have you been disappointed? Have you been elated? Those are easy to connect with. And then it’s about learning and understanding and listening. What was the journey that we’ve all taken to get to that final outcome because those are the shared things, but along the way, we you may have shared experiences, but we have common outcomes and, and then, you know feelings and we can have great discussions about it. So, to get right into it, our first guest is Estela Zarate, is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Cal State University Fullerton, where she teaches future education leaders. Her research publications address the trajectory of immigrant students in US schools, including the connections between schools and families. She has co-developed teaching development workshops to address the learning experiences of first generation college students. Welcome Estela. Great to have you


Estela Zarate 05:39

Thank you for having me here.


joshuah whittinghill 05:41

Oh, yeah, no, it’s great. It’s good to see you again. We were able to meet over the summer through one of your learning experience, learning communities you have that you’re doing to the CSU system, along with our next guest, so it’s gonna be great to hear more about what you’re planning and doing for this upcoming summer as well. All right.


Teresa Hernandez 06:00

Awesome. Perfect. So I’m super excited also to introduce our next guest on today’s episode. So it’s my pleasure to introduce Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton. She who joined Educational Leadership department faculty at CSU Fullerton in the fall of 2015. With almost 30 years of educational leadership experience in higher education. She was a first generation college student earned her PhD in Education from the Claremont Graduate University. Her research interests include identity development, building social justice Coalition’s first generation college student success, and the persistence of underrepresented students and student affairs professionals in higher education. Welcome, super excited to get to know a little bit more about you Rebecca, how are you?


Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton 06:39

I’m doing well. Thank you. So happy to be here.


Teresa Hernandez 06:43

Perfect. Awesome. So with a little intro to our guests, let’s get right into the meat of today’s topic. So I kind of have a two parter question for you both. It’s up to you both to see who wants to answer this first. But before we jump into it, can you both share your beginnings and how did you get into higher education and more specifically into the work that you’re doing specifically now in higher ed?


Estela Zarate 07:08

Okay, so I’ll start. So I am from Houston, Texas. And I attended Rice University as an undergrad. And like most first generation college students, I was pretty lost about what to major in what to study. And there was one course that I took towards the end of my time at Rice, that was with Dr. Angela Venezuela who wrote Subtractive Schooling. It’s a pivotal book, and enlightening book about English learners and Texas. And I took a course with her and my senior year, I believe, at that point, I was a math and economics major, so it’s too late to change to Sociology. But it completely sparked my interest around themes of race and schooling and education in the US. So I worked actually in finance and management consulting for a couple years, and made my way eventually to being a college admissions counselor in Northfield, Minnesota at Carleton College. And I toured that country, advising kids about college and presenting about Carleton College and, and through my travels, I the differences between schools that serve wealthy families and those that serve poor families is so stark. And I wanted to learn more about it. I wanted to understand, you know, how that happens, how we can live with that. And that is what was the impetus for me to begin graduate studies and education and I went to UCLA. I am the advisee Dr. Ron Gallimore and Dr. Daniel Solorzano. So those were my two critical mentors. And that’s how I’ve ended up here at Cal State Fullerton. And most recently, we were approached. Rebecca and I were approached to facilitate a workshop around teaching first generation college students. And we took it on as a you know, let’s see where this goes. And this is now our fifth year, fourth year doing this. So it’s been great.


joshuah whittinghill 09:31

That’s wonderful. I when I when you say Daniel Solorzano, for me, it’s like this name that’s just at the top of all these articles I’m running across and this sort of mythical person, so right, so to meet someone who actually knows that it’s a real person, that’s great.


Teresa Hernandez 09:47

But I was like, Ah,


joshuah whittinghill 09:50

Yeah, he’s actually real. He is super grounded, amazing, supportive, human being. And I became his advisee. He when he I think he had just been promoted to associate professor. So, technically the beginning of his career, so yeah.


Teresa Hernandez 10:10

That’s amazing.


joshuah whittinghill 10:10

That’s Great. Rebecca, do you want to share a bit? Yeah.


Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton 10:14

So I love telling the story. Ever since I was little, I would say I’m going to college and everything. That’s great. And then when you get older, they say, what are you going to study? I’m like, What do you, I gonna pick something? Well, what do you like? I’m like, I like music. Oh, you’re going to study music? Sure. That’s what I’m going to study. Then they start saying, well, where are you going to go? Like, I don’t know. So I went to my one music teacher at Bell High School and said, I’m going to study music. Where should I go? He said, Oh, my son graduated from Chapman. I said, Okay, that was it. I left. That was the complete extent of my college exploration. Went to the counselor said, I’m going to go study music at Chapman, can you order me a book, took the book home. And my dad made me mad, because he looked at the price tag and said, We can’t pay for that. I said, you’re not paying for anything. I’m paying for it. Then I spent the rest of the year applying for scholarships. And I’m so old it was with a typewriter. So this was sad, sad times. Loving Chapman, um thought I was going to be a music teacher. So I have a K-12 music educator teaching credential. And as a first generation college student had no idea that prop 13 was now decimating the arts in public schools. So I had no career prospects, and a lot of loans. So I’d been active in college and looked at my advisors and said, what do they pay you? What do you do? They said, yeah, we don’t do this for free. I work in student affairs, and here’s how you can get a master’s degree. I thought, Okay, well, I’ll get a master’s degree that still counts for career credential, I’ll just stay in school. And I don’t have to pay my loans yet. After that, I fell in love with Student Affairs, working in all the departments that support students outside of the classroom, and ended up getting a PhD at Claremont working with Dr. Darrell Smith. And I fell in love with the idea of working in higher ed teaching in higher ed. And I always wanted to be a professor. But I’d been in administration for so long, people kept saying, Are you sure are you sure you want to transition. And finally, I just said, I’m doing it. This has always been my dream to teach. I’m doing it now. And so, so excited to be at Fullerton, and so excited that not only have we been able to do professional development for our own faculty at Fullerton, but now through the CSU chancellor’s office, we’ve been able to expand this to doing online education, with the Institute for teaching and learning. And we did it before the pandemic. So when the pandemic hit, we were ready to continue doing the work. And this year, we had so many people that wanted to participate, we actually had to recruit some of the participants to be discussion leaders, because we had so much interest. So I know that people are really excited about this topic. So thank you for hosting us today.


joshuah whittinghill 13:16

Yeah, this is this is I mean, it’s so inspiring to hear the sort of the origin stories and where people come from. And in higher ed, we all have such different experiences of how we got to where we’re at what we’re doing. So it is always fun to hear and learn about it. So, okay, so we have a we have a whole bunch of questions and ideas, and we’ll see where we get to with for the day to day. Both of you have mentioned extensive work, you know, then working with first generation students. Can you talk a little bit about what are some of the similarities, you see, for first generation students through the years of your time in higher education?


Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton 13:53

You know, one of the things that I think is consistent, that I’m actually trying to convince my students to stop doing is sometimes I find that the first generation college students are just so grateful to be in higher education, that they will accept oppressive practices, people who are treating them in a stereotypical way. One person tells them no, and they except the first no that they get. And as I progressed in my career, I remember the first time that I saw colleagues say, No, I’m not going to cut my budget by that percent. And here’s why. And I thought you could say no, while alright because I found that just like the first generation college students, as a first generation administrator, as a first generation faculty member, sometimes if you don’t have somebody that teaches you how to challenge the system, you’re not willing to take that risk. And I found that students often do that. And I think that now lately, students are more willing to challenge institutions and to ask for the changes that they need. And they’re being met with first generation, faculty, staff, administrators, who understand what they’ve experienced, and who’ve already started making those changes in higher education that we all know need to happen. So that actually is something that I think is similar across generations.


Estela Zarate 15:39

I think for me, one of the similarities that I see is the sense of underlying anxiety or worry maybe about what happens after I’m done with college, right? Because there isn’t, it may be that in your immediate circle, that is your family, there isn’t a map, you haven’t seen that trajectory of what happens after college through a career progression. And not so long ago, probably one of the last few times we were able to meet in person, I was meeting with a group of first generation college students. And one of their first questions was, how did you find a job after college? Right? And I remember feeling that anxiety as a first generation college student and thinking, what happens after this? Am I gonna find a job? And, you know, and all through life, I just haven’t had that mapped out for me. And I and I felt that from that student, and it brought me back to this general sense of anxiety. I’m like, Okay, I’m doing this. I’m all I’m killing it. Because I’m doing well, I’m almost done with with my major. But then what happens after that?


joshuah whittinghill 16:55

Yeah, these are they’re both really connected to because, for me, what come what came up when you both were talking was this idea of transparency, right, the difference of the theory of transparency in the practice, we talk about that a lot in higher education of taking theory and making it practice that, that transparency has become more of a practice in people that are in positions on campuses, actually talking more openly about what policies are in place, what’s happening with policies, what’s happening with students, as they, you know, persist and graduate, those kind of things have become more forefront discussion points, it seems like over the last five or 10 years, if I if you want to be generous, maybe 10 years, but for sure, five years, it’s more and more, you know, so that has been a great thing. And in the work you’re doing is pushing that, you know, forwards in different ways to help support students as well. And I know, Teresa, you’re gonna have to get going soon. So if you want to take us to the next question before you have to leave.


Teresa Hernandez 17:57

Yeah, I had a quick comment on kind of what you said, Rebecca. Yeah, I might tune out in a little bit, we’ll see. It’s 50-50. But I was, I don’t know you. I feel like so the years that I’ve gone through my educational journey, and all that time I’ve spent in doing my undergrad and my Masters, I’ve always felt kind of, you kind of just pinned it right here right now what it was that I sort of feel I could add into my trajectory in and being in school is feeling afraid or feeling like I don’t know how to push back, like knowing that there’s this situation where I thought to myself, okay, this isn’t fair that I’m experiencing this, or this isn’t fair that my friends are experiencing this. But what can we do? How do we do that in a manner where you know, it’s, it’s, you’re still being the professional that you are, you’re still being kind of just playing the game in that world, if that makes sense. And not knowing exactly how to navigate there, or not even knowing the foundations to get started on it. So I think that’s, that’s like a perfect point is, is taking what you know, you don’t really deserve in that system, yet not knowing what to do about it, because you don’t know how to go about finding that solution. So that’s crazy. I feel like I was just like


Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton 19:14

That’s true, right?


Teresa Hernandez 19:16

Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, it’s crazy, crazy things to think about. And I’m sure our listeners are having their own little light bulbs going off, too. So one thing I also want to hit on is before time’s up is, so we mentioned you both developed to facilitate a CSU system wide learning community to enhance faculty and staffs ability to support first generation students. So the community is based on the framework of cultural strengths. Can you share what teaching across cultural strengths is, and we can have a Estela start and then Rebecca, if you’d like to follow.


Estela Zarate 19:16

That’s true.


Estela Zarate 19:51

You know, there’s probably different takes on exactly what it is. I think for me, I think about this framework as helping faculty understand who they are culturally first, right. And I don’t mean like, understanding what their, you know, native ancestry is, you know, what nationality their grandparents were or what foods their parents cooked. It’s about understanding how the way that we think what the faculty think about teaching and learning is grounded in the way that we were raised. Right? It’s culturally based, that this idea of standing up in front of a classroom to lecture, it’s a cultural practice, it’s not universal, it’s not necessarily the best way to learn. It’s right. It’s all it’s, it’s, it’s relative. And it’s culturally centered. So that’s the number one thing that it means for me. And the second thing to learn, that I think this framework allows faculty to learn is that students are coming from a different place, and so that it becomes our responsibility to meet them where they’re at. So simply, that’s to me what it means in practice.


Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton 21:06

The other thing that I love about this model and this cultural strengths framework, is I think, higher ed for a long time, kept referring to first generation college students in a deficit minded way. Oh, what help do we have to provide them? Oh, what extra supports are we going to have to pay for because I don’t know if they’re going to make it. And what the framework looks at is, these young people have been speaking two languages, translating for family at doctor’s appointments in lawyers, offices, they’ve navigated immigration, they’ve now navigated their immigration statuses, they’ve navigated some challenging socio-economic situations, and they are so strong. And the reality is that we can help them believe that they bring all of those strengths into higher education, and that they will also be able to navigate this system of higher ed. And one of the things that’s interesting is looking at faculty and asking faculty to think about the impact that they have on students lives, faculty are actually late to join the first generation college student conversation. In student affairs, there have been many special programs, many initiatives that haven’t necessarily crossed over and connected to faculty. And students have benefited so much from that time with faculty all you know, the research points to that. So how can we have faculty understand that sharing their life experiences with students in the classroom, talking about are they somebody who likes working in an individuated way on their own, versus somebody who likes working in groups and integrating what they’re learning with their community and their family, that, you know, in the US, we very much privilege the individuated model of learning. Learn what I’m telling you to learn, tell it back to me the way that I told you get tested on it in a certain way, show me that you’ve memorized this. And then you can get a good grade in my class. And that’s what I think the faculty really come out of this work looking at their own pedagogy so differently.


Estela Zarate 23:38

Rebecca, when you mentioned, the cultural framing, first generation students as culturally deficit pair and culturally deficit way, just last week, in our Academic Senate, it was a very heated discussion around general education requirements, and you know, to add them to add or to take away and you don’t, I won’t bore you with the details, but one of the points of contention was students will take longer to graduate if we have more GE’s. And the reasoning that was provided was the students that we serve meander until they find a major, right and framing it that way as if individuals are choosing to meander. It’s a culturally deficit framing of the students that we serve. Right? Um, it was a you know, another context we for other students, we might refer to them as exploring. So we, you know, this is still something that we we have to buy in our language, and all of that trickles down into the way that we teach in the classroom.


Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton 24:49

Oh, true.


joshuah whittinghill 24:51

Yeah. And, and it can be in in trying to support faculty and students in seeing something different though, it can be a difficult process to get comfortable because people are very comfortable with the status quo of how teaching goes. But what you mentioned that, hey, there’s a certain way we’re going to present the material, you’re going to write a paper, or you’re going to do a presentation for the class, or you’re going to have this sort of, you know, summative assessment. And that that doesn’t work for majority of people, as we know. And we’ve seen over the years, not just talking about first generation students, but but people. That’s not a very fun or engaging way to be learning processes. And so as someone who was a meander, but I was never referred to that, and that comes with some of my white privilege, I was always often like, hey, you’re exploring, learn more about what you want to do. Okay, there comes a point where you should also say, hey, you should graduate and leave because you’ve been here. And that never was said to me, I was part of the group and not so much me. But in general, higher education wasn’t really sort of pushing the let’s get people to graduate quicker until I was done, it kind of became this process of let’s look at four year and six year rates. And let’s look at this. And let’s help seniors who have more than 100, and whatever number of units and I finished right before that all kicked off, but I was that for it took me nine years to get my bachelor’s degree because I was exploring, right, but but it was looked at very differently in those days in that time, and then in my culture, and the way I you know, present outwardly to the world. So some male privilege, some white privilege, all these different privileges that come along with that. But then, when I graduated, I was immediately rushed into working with first generation students, unknowing what was going to be happening and what I was going to be learning about what’s going on in the world, because I knew nothing really about it, except I liked working with EOP. And I liked the advisors there, and the students I met were always, you know, engaging. And then after a year or two was like, oh, wow, there’s real life happening. Yeah, so that’s a big part of this process is like, we hear this, like, we got to be data informed. That’s what is, you know, data driven. Okay, that’s difficult, but data informed might be a little bit better. And then even then, we have to bring life to that data, because the data can’t be all of it. And unfortunately, you’re talking about some of the discussion at your Senate, you know, on your campus, the Senate discussions is, where are the people in this discussion, right? Where do these lives and these what’s happening with the students can talk about all this different culture, all this different capital, you mentioned. And it really does get to the point, there’s so many different ways there’s, you know, we can look at funds of knowledge, we can look at community cultural wealth, we can look at a different things that then encapsulate it and explain it very differently. But that difficult part I was getting at when you start to try and implement these new things. Even if you really, really want to do it, it can be uncomfortable. Because all of a sudden, I started doing it a number of years ago, as I said, Okay, you don’t have to write a paper for this class, the end project, you can create a podcast of your own, you can do a PowerPoint, you can write a song, you can do a poem, you could do artwork that explains it, all these different things. And then 90% of students would get the final project. And then I got here’s my paper I wrote, because even they were uncomfortable, even though they wanted the choice. They didn’t know how to go about it. So I had to learn, okay, how do I help cultivate students, and let them see, hey, you know, you speak two languages, you know, you, you have already had two jobs, and you’re not even 19 years old, yet, you’ve already been doing these things in the world, you’re taking care of a grandparent taking care of, you know, younger siblings in your family, you’re all these things, what are the skills you have there? How can you use those in a final project, you like music, you write songs, write a song about this topic that you’re studying. And so it just takes that extra time as well. So in all of your work with cultural strengths, what are some you mentioned one benefit about sort of faculty engaged sort of questioning and looking at their pedagogy? But what are some some other real tangible examples of benefits you’ve seen come out of your work with teaching to cultural strengths?


Estela Zarate 29:01

Well, I’ll say that, I think that if you change assignments in a way that is that expands the number of students that you reach, and that connects with it, you actually it becomes more fun teaching. Right? So sometimes faculty ask, well, what assignment should I start changing? And like, the one that you hate grading. Right? Like, start there? And look at that, because chances are you hate grading it, your students hate writing it, or whatever, right. So hopefully all around it brings more joy to this profession into our practice.


Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton 29:40

Yeah, that’s so true. This faculty did a self assessment before they started the six month journey. And they all thought that the right answer was, oh, I definitely include groups and I Oh, no, of course I’m integrated. And then we have them analyze their syllabi. They come back and say, oh, no, but I might think that that’s what I do. But in reality, I’m very much privileging those who are individuated learners. And so they took on the challenge, and they said, Okay, I’m going to redo this assignment. And instead of just having students write a paper and send it to me, I’m going to have them write the paper and then talk to each other about it, or do peer reviews, or find a new way to show me what they’ve learned. And they said that the students did have a hard time trusting and believing that the faculty member meant it. Do you mean that? Or are you are you going to going to judge what I submit more harshly, because it’s not the norm. So I thought that was really interesting.


Teresa Hernandez 30:58

I find I find that when I think back to the professors that I had that most kind of influenced me in a positive way, and really supported me. And I saw as mentors, were really the the professors who did kind of these out of the box ideas for assignments, and you know how to go out into the community. When I went to, I went to San Francisco State, and a lot of them actually had us go into the Latinx district district in San Francisco and do some community work there. Even if our course wasn’t community based, it was more of like developing like that, you know, the relationship and a sense of belonging to, to whatever it was that we were learning about, and no other course really like put us out in the place that we were living in, like, we’re gonna be living there for five plus years in this city that we know, you know, some of us have come from NorCal, Southern California, and it’s kind of it develops that sense of belonging, and it helped a lot, because although some of my peers didn’t feel that sense of belonging on campus, at least we had the opportunity to start kind of developing that in the community. So which helped a lot. So some of those assignments were were amazing. And I still remember those professors, and they still keep in contact with them. And I was kind of like, You have no idea how that really changed me. And those are just more personable, who share a lot about themselves. I love that, for another one of my courses, when our professors would just play like her favorite song of the day, whether it was in English or Spanish, she would just start off with your favorite song. And I’d be like, Oh, my God, my mom loves that song, or we used to play that all the time. And we would cook and you just start developing these conversations at the beginning of class. And that was the one class where I was like, Oh, I’m gonna, you know, like scarf down my lunch, because I can’t wait to get to class like can be so cool. Like, it happens a lot. I don’t think I would ever think about that. But it was it’s been they’re amazing experiences you have. And so, and with that, I do have a question before I head out. So I just want to say thank you both for being here. Before I interrupt, I don’t want to interrupt your answers. And I can’t wait to contact both of you and get to learn a little bit more, because I’m definitely going to do that. And this is a for forewarning of that. So


Estela Zarate 33:01



Teresa Hernandez 33:01

Yeah. So in terms of, so I want to know, how does your work transfer to Student Affairs and those working with the students outside of the classroom? Whoever wants to take that one first?


Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton 33:14

Well, I think it’s me, because I’ve done both. Now. One of the things that I like to let faculty know about are the resources that people in Student Affairs have pulled together. And so as one of my recommendations of something to look for. There’s actually a whole Institute for first generation college students that has pulled together articles, they’ve pulled together research, they pull together model programs. And one of the things that we have the faculty do in our assignment is go look on campus first to see how first generation college students are represented. On their website. Are there special programs that are offered? How can they invite some of the Student Affairs professionals that are already working with first generation college students into the classroom, and they did that and the students loved it. The faculty loved it. They said, I didn’t even know these resources existed for our students. We also want to let faculty know that often Student Affairs has access to different resources than faculty do. And so they have money for guest speakers for programs for you know, Spring Break alternative programming. And so if a faculty member wants to have a ready and willing partner, the Student Affairs folks are usually ready to co-sponsor something to help push a program out onto the rest of the campus because those divisions are pretty large and they see students in so many different environments. So that’s what I would tell faculty is, you know, Find the one person whose name is associated with first generation college students and just say what can we partner on. And I know that they will find somebody who’s so happy to actually talk to a faculty member, and be able to get into the class and do and to support the students.


joshuah whittinghill 35:19

Yeah, I love that bridge I, I’ve been fortunate enough to really be on that bridge ever since I was hired and EOP, because I always wanted to be a professor. But I didn’t go about it the right way. Or I didn’t know how to go about it. And I thought, Oh, well, here’s this job, it’s full time, I’m gonna take it because my partner and I, my wife and I, we need security, we need insurance, we need benefits, we need health to live. So So I jumped at it. And it became a great opportunity, as I learned, but then shortly thereafter, I was also able to be hired as faculty in multicultural gender studies. So not just become faculty, but become faculty, the department that was really focused on a lot of the discussions, we’re having better than connected to first generation students. Because we know first generation students come from all backgrounds. But just looking at some of the data if we generalize it from from smaller numbers, large numbers, we know that the number of white first generation students is much smaller when we look at the overall population. So a lot of these discussions around diversity, equity inclusion, connect all these students. So I’ve been really fortunate, like I said, to be part of this for 20 years, and really see and I often forget, and just think, oh, everybody knows what we’re doing. Everybody knows what’s going on. But that’s only the people I’m talking with. And then I meet someone new, and they say let’s do a project. So I if I did something with some business professors, around business students, and their use of music and studying and how it may impact their, their persistence, and their connectedness and their independence. And when I when I mentioned how many first generation students there were stuff on campus, and then inside of the Business College, the professor, professors went, Oh, I never really thought about that. And I just thought that they knew because these are really knowledgeable, and on top of it, and the students love them. And they’re great professors. But as far as just first generation, understanding was very different. Because it wasn’t part of a discussion for a lot of different. It’s not a lot of you know, until recently, it hasn’t been that that point of discussion. Now. It’s becoming more and more of that talk. So it is great to see happening, you know, on campuses, not just in CSU system, but across the country, as well. We’re seeing more of that come about. Before we have a few minutes left. Thankfully, we did say goodbye to Teresa, and hopefully she has a great weekend out there. If you’re listening to this on Monday, you might wonder why we’re talking about the weekend. But hey, we’re recording on a Friday. Right? So before we go, can you share a little bit about what you’re planning for the next CSU system wide learning community around this and maybe how people can or when they’ll be able to access it or how they can access it to join that.


Estela Zarate 38:03

So we do want to offer this in the summer. And we have tentative support from the Institute of teaching and learning. So hopefully it pans out. And I think one of the ways that we want to expand this is to bring in more colleagues to help us facilitate to spread the dissemination of this model. I think that’s the the overall goal. So Rebecca, and I need to think about and talk about what sort what, how do we do that, right? Like, do we, there’s always a question we face every summer is a breath or death? Do we target fewer campuses and go deep there? Or is the idea to reach as many campuses as possible? So that’s, I mean, that’s any program, you have to address that question. But yes, it’s in the works for the summer. Maybe we share with you a website where it might get announced that you can post but it’s the Institute of Teaching and Learning in this chancellor’s office.


joshuah whittinghill 39:12

Okay, yeah, for sure. We’ll we’ll put that in the show notes. There’ll be a link to that definitely in there. And, and I do recommend, if it does come about to fruition, again, would be wonderful for our whole, you know, CSU system for our students for everyone involved because I was I was fortunate enough, as I mentioned able to take part of it last summer. And then as a result, there was a group that took part in it the summer before and one of those Celina Phillips, she is an AG professor at Chico State and, and she reached out to me and a few other people on campus, who then helped her develop curriculum and an FLC at Chico State that was 10,000 1st generation Wildcats. And so that was that was a result of her being part of this. You know your community two summers ago. And it turned out great. And she was actually even a guest on our podcast. And we did a whole episode on being first generation and working in agriculture. It was a wonderful episode to hear. But she gained so much from that she shared and then brought it to campus to really encourage other people. So, so if it comes about and you see the information in the show notes, or you see a random thing about what’s the first gen happening through the institution of institution of teaching and learning Well, okay, jump on. And if you have a chance, you will not regret it.


Estela Zarate 40:30

We would like to clone Celine also.


joshuah whittinghill 40:35

Oh, yeah, she is wonderful, for sure. She’s so passionate. So you know, and knowledgeable and innovative, and all the creative, all the fun and all that stuff. But students, students do love her and what she does to help support them in their understanding and being sustainable when it comes to agriculture, especially with livestock. And that’s her her main focus, but it is, it is good. Let’s see. So we are unfortunately, like I say we’re constrained by this social construct of time. And we’re, we’re running out of this 60 minute gap of time that was created for us. So before we go, if you would like to this is our chance to share any recommendations for the listener. All right, so Estela, do you have a recommendation for our listeners today?


Estela Zarate 41:32

You know, whenever I face a question about how can I teach this concept or that activity better, I’d like to go and check out what K-12 teachers are doing. Because they’re thinking about this 24 seven. And there’s a blog called The Cult of Pedagogy that brings a lot of good ideas together, and is she also has a podcast. So if listening is your thing, that’s another way to do it.


joshuah whittinghill 41:59

Excellent. Thank you. That is great. I was out playing basketball with my neighbor. He’s a K through 12. Teacher. And I said, What’s up? What do you think about he goes, Well, I’m thinking about my next lesson plan. And so that’s all he was doing. Right? That’s what he was doing was playing basketball, preparing a lesson plan. So excellent point, Rebecca, what do you have to share with listeners,


Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton 42:16

My recommendation is that listeners go and visit the website for the Center for first generation students success. It’s funded by the suitor Foundation, and NASPA, which is a student affairs professional association, is hosting and pulling together as many resources as they can, about how to support the success of first generation college students. So they’ve really amassed so much information. So whenever you need an article or a statistic to prove that the work that we’re doing is important, and that it matters, and that it makes a difference. They will have whatever you need.


joshuah whittinghill 43:00

So that is a wonderful site, if you haven’t been there, once you get there, you’ll be there for days and days. It is it’s extremely extensive. But it’s fun. It’s like you know, I keep telling people in different workshops, I’m, I’m facilitating and organizing and, and even students in class, I say, hey, once you get on the internet, I think of it as a video game I’m from I’m a kid from the 80s. And let’s click a bunch of buttons and start seeing what comes up next, and play with the next thing and go there and click that and, you know, so so it’s one of those areas that you can do it and just play with it and play it and keep going and keep learning and grab stuff you can use and other stuff, just leave it there. But you might at least read it and be like, Huh, that was interesting and informative, because you can’t use it all. Okay, and so on. So my recommendation for the day is another podcast. This one is run and hosted by a couple of students from Texas A&M University, and their podcast is First Gen Aggies. So it’s another great podcast about first gen and so I recommend listening to that they have they have about four or five episodes, they just posted a new episode. If you’re listening to this, it is February 12, 2021. And they just posted a new episode earlier this week. So again, this is this has been our amazing episode with Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton and Estela Zarate both from CSU Fullerton and for Teresa and I thank you both so much for being here and sharing your insights and expertise. I know one hour is not and does not capsulate all the things you do and can do and talk about but we really appreciate your time, energy and commitment to in bettering and empowering our communities.


Estela Zarate 44:43

Thank you for having us.


Rebecca Gutierrez Keeton 44:45

Thank you.


joshuah whittinghill 44:46

Yes, yes. Goodbye, everybody.

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