Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Schools That Are Advancing Diversity

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Schools That Are Advancing Diversity

Article excerpt

Each year, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) honors community colleges who are models that serve as exemplars in reimagining institutions not as they are, but as they should be.

The winners will be announced at the AACC annual meeting taking place in New Orleans on April 22-25, 2017.

The nominees for the Advancing Diversity category include the institutions listed below.

Hillsborough Community College--Florida

According to the journal Community College Review, Hillsborough Community College is the ninth-largest of Florida's community college systems. Minority enrollment is 53 percent of total student enrollment, and most of the minority students are Hispanic. The school's diversity has grown by 6 percent over five years.

The college has worked on expanding its diversity initiatives in recent years, and the efforts of the Diversity Council have been integral to this mission. One of the council's jobs is to review existing initiatives and submit recommendations. "Courageous Conversations," a collaborative speaker series that examines current events and policies that impact the community, is one such successful diversity initiative.

In 2016, panelists discussed unequal access to mental healthcare, disproportionately affecting minorities. non-English speakers and the economically disadvantaged. "An Unexpected Journey: The Life of a Trans Woman in America" explored the experiences of two transgender women. A third Courageous Conversations session delved into different perspectives on immigration policies and their impact on undocumented students.

Other than these sessions, the college celebrated November as Native American Month and also dedicated a day to celebrating Hispanic heritage. The college promotes a Dr. Martin Luther King Day of Service, offering "awards to organizations or groups to develop and complete a service project that will positively impact the community, while honoring Dr. King's legacies of non-violent activism, racial equality, service to others and social uplift."

Lee College--Texas

At Lee College, minority students constitute 56 percent of all students, and most of the minority students are Hispanic.

Lee College was recently named a finalist in the American Association of Community Colleges Advancing Diversity Award category, which recognizes colleges that have significantly contributed to advancing diversity in community college leadership, within the community and within higher education as a whole. …

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