Guiding Assumptions and Core Values
Our work is guided by the key assumptions listed below, the De Anza College mission and Institutional Core Competencies (ICCs) and a shared understanding of terms and concepts.
- We believe in developing critical practices for community transformation, which are rooted in equity, social justice and multicultural education.
- We believe that everyone is prejudiced; prejudice is learned and can be unlearned through a commitment to self-reflection, lifelong learning and courageous conversations.
- We believe that all students, faculty and classified professionals have the right to feel trusted, valued and safe, although discomfort in the process of dismantling systems of oppression is always possible. We strive for transformational conflict and acknowledge that conflict is a natural, synergistic part of the process of systems change.
- We believe in cultural humility as a path to equity and inclusion. Cultural humility requires a commitment to lifelong learning, valuing each person as an expert of their own lived cultural identity, addressing directly systems of power and privilege, and working for organizational consistency.
- Lifelong learning: We believe that everyone is a lifelong learner and that understanding issues of inequity and social justice is ongoing work, and thus, requires a commitment to ongoing learning and unlearning, inquiry and critical discourse.
- We believe that institutions are inherently biased, and power differentials exist that disenfranchise some and enfranchise others. To this end, we believe that by shifting the discourse, supporting diverse learning cohorts, creating allies, integrating the practices of multicultural education throughout the curriculum and learning community and cultivating equity champions and practitioners across the campus, our vision of a fully inclusive and high performing community will continue to shape the culture of De Anza.
- We believe that student and institutional success requires full community engagement involving students, families, faculty, staff, local schools and the surrounding communities.
- We believe that change is an individual and group process; students, faculty and staff learn the value and importance of social justice and cultural inclusion through peer-based dialogue, experiential learning, and individual mentoring and coaching support integrated throughout the fabric of the institution.
- We believe that there will be more questions than answers in this work and thus, developing critical thinking skills, dialogue, reflexiveness, inquiry and identity negotiation is essential to the practices of equity, social justice, multicultural education, systems change and integration.
- Last, like the DARE Task Force, “We believe in student equity, which can be achieved through the practice of culturally responsive curriculum, accommodating diverse learning styles, targeting historically undeserved populations, teaching and providing services in a culturally responsive way, participating in cultural competence development, and engaging students to understand the value of diversity.”
As a country, we are in a state of denial about issues of race and racism. And too many of our leaders have concluded that the way to remedy racism is to simply stop talking about race.
– Lani Guinier, civil rights lawyer and professor