BHCC Invests in Cultural Wealth by Supporting Asian/Pacific Islander Students
Friday, January 4, 2019
In an article in Community College Daily on the unique challenges community colleges face in addressing the needs of Asian/Pacific Islander (API) students, President Pam Eddinger shares how Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) is leading efforts to reduce the achievement gap of its API students by focusing on their cultural wealth.
In 2016, BHCC was designated an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) by the U.S. Department of Education and received a $1.7M Title III AANAPISI grant to better serve its API students. Fifteen percent of BHCC students are Asian American, including students from China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos.
Building upon its successful model streamlining developmental education, BHCC used the AANAPISI grant to accelerate and compress its English as a second language (ESL) program and provide success coaching to API students so these students, many of whom are immigrants, children of immigrants or first-generation college students, could surpass English language proficiency requirements entering college-level coursework faster.
Furthermore, the College has gone beyond restructuring its ESL curriculum to create an inclusive environment for its API students by focusing on social connections and social capital in its outreach.
“We’re pulling in lived experiences,” says President Eddinger, “There’s always more than one way to engage the community.”
In 2018, BHCC established the Center for Equity and Cultural Wealth to engage faculty in developing culturally relevant, equity minded and locally grounded curriculum; and in 2017, BHCC collaborated with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center to open a new instructional center at the Pao Arts Center.