About the EpiCenter
The EpiCenter strives to build community and capacity among all employee groups to make SMC a place where everyone belongs and realizes their potential.
The EpiCenter supports the Equity mission of Santa Monica College as well as the Vision for Success through coordination and facilitation of professional learning and growth opportunities for all employee groups that are grounded in the principles of equity-mindedness: race-conscious, action-oriented, institutionally focused, systemically-aware, and evidence-based. By offering a variety of opportunities tailored to the needs of all employees, the EpiCenter strives to be the center of growth, development, and professional excellence for all while also cultivating community and joy in our daily work.
Executive Summary – The IEPI Steering Committee is proposing the creation of a comprehensive professional development center, based on a shared leadership model, to serve all employees at SMC. The vision of the Equity-minded Professional Innovation Center, the EpiCenter, is to build community and capacity among all employee groups to make SMC a place where everyone belongs and realizes their potential. Research suggests that comprehensive professional development for faculty, classified professionals, and administrators is one tool to help close equity gaps (Condon et al., 2016; Desimone et al., 2002; Elliott & Oliver, 2016; Perez et al., 2012). The EpiCenter also strives to be a tangible demonstration of Santa Monica College's strong commitment to serving our Black and Latinx students, who experience the greatest equity gaps. This plan assumes that all employee groups will be able and encouraged to participate in professional development activities. All employee groups share a commitment to student equity, inclusion, and completion, as well as maintaining currency and building knowledge and skills in their roles. All groups will focus on building equity-mindedness in opportunities designed specifically for their constituencies, and they will come together across the institution when appropriate. The IEPI Steering Committee hopes to help change the culture of professional development at SMC through both incentives and accountability. The Committee envisions supporting employee participation and leadership in various EpiCenter-supported and facilitated activities with either time, money, or flex credit (for faculty,) per contractual negotiations, whenever possible. In return, the Committee will strongly encourage employees to apply and share their learning with colleagues via workshops, department meetings, or professional development days, and will provide opportunities to do so. Our goal for the next strategic plan cycle will be to codify a plan for employees to earn units through their participation in professional development opportunities to incentivize our colleagues to learn and grow here and share their learning in-house with others. By offering a variety of opportunities tailored to the needs of all employees, the EpiCenter strives to be the center of growth, development, and professional excellence for all while also cultivating community and joy in our daily work.