ESCALA's unique approach

Changing the culture of institutions means changing the culture of how we do the work. 

We believe that changes in behavior take time, however, and for that reason we do not do 'one-shot' workshops or ascribe to that professional development model. 

Instead, we have developed a holistic approach to change based on Bandura's Social Learning Theory (1977) and Lave and Wenger's Situated Learning and Communities of Practice (1991). 

ESCALA's unique approach is to treat our participants as assets to their organization.  We do not believe that people learn well when shamed for not having known. We create opportunities for staff and faculty to dialogue together to develop greater empathy and common purpose in working towards Latinx success. We also help practitioners fill in gaps in their knowledge by providing readings and resources that are the most relevant and practical for people who are doing the work with students. 

Even the most resistant faculty or staff member can become an equity leader, given enough opportunities to reflect on their own data, the compelling research on culture, engagement and instructional practice, and coaching and peer support.

Watch our 1- minute video "ESCALA's Unique Approach" below to learn more about what to expect in our programs.


We invite participants to reflect on the current state of Latinx student experiences and outcomes at the national, institutional, and individual levels, and consider how their training in higher education perpetuates myths of culture-free teaching & learning.​ 

After our courses, HSI faculty and staff are empowered to use this reflection process continuously throughout their act as agents of change in their HSIs and improve Latinx student outcomes.


We teach HSI practitioners how to use speaking and listening protocols to build trust and relationships with Latinx and marginalized colleagues at their HSIs. They learn to pay attention to how they use space in discussions and be more mindful of how to create spaces in their courses and work with students. We believe that this communication equity is key to moving HSIs toward building a culturally responsive community for Latinx students. 


All of our courses feature equity-based exercises that ask faculty and staff to make small but concrete changes in their actions with Latinx students. Participants receive supportive feedback on their work from facilitators and coaches which bolsters their confidence to continue reflecting on and changing their practice. Our scaffolded approach and insistence on change, however small, build autonomy and capacity in faculty and staff to sustain the changes beyond our courses. This supportive community that we create through collective action is why many of our alumni want to continue their work with us and become trained as facilitators and coaches.