Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Highlighting the Value of Diversity in Acadamia

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Highlighting the Value of Diversity in Acadamia

Article excerpt

A mandate from the top down remains key to the successful implementation of diversity initiatives.

IT IS MY BELIEF THAT THERE REMAINS MUCH WORK TO BE DONE IN, THE AREA OF DIVERSITY AND multiculturalism in higher education. In 2007, there continues to be any number of community colleges and four-year institutions that have yet to even acknowledge the reality that such a need exists.

Nevertheless, I am pleased to be a part of an innovative, progressive, two-year community college that is not only talking the talk but walking the walk on these issues.

Founded in 1967 during the peak of the civil rights movement, College of the Mainland is well grounded on the principles, values and ideals of an educational democracy, in which all persons will have access and equal ability to participate in the educational process. This community-oriented, forwardlooking community college district has made enormous strides in fostering awareness of and appreciation for diversity, multiculturalism and global interdependence in higher education.

As executive director and in-house counsel for our Office of Diversity & Equity, I am proud to be instrumental in one such area of development and achievement. My position was created in the fall of 2003 by C of M President Homer "Butch" Hayes to not only direct, coordinate and evaluate employee recruitment programs, but to support the college's previously existing diversity initiatives. Within a year, our newly formed Diversity Council had developed and began implementing a three-year strategic diversity plan aimed at strengthening recruitment and hiring practices.

Every member of the Multi-Culture Team completed an eight-hour diversity sensitivity training workshop that highlighted the value of diversity in academia and examined the obstacles towards its achievement. At least one of these diversity representatives serves on each search and selection committee. It is the duty of the chairperson of each committee to meet with me to ensure that we are reaching out to and attracting the most qualified minority applicants. Our efforts include identifying professional associations and/or industry publications that target historically underrepresented educational professionals. It is also important that the search committee have diverse members, including members whose positions would be organizationally aligned with the incoming employee's. This would ensure that the committee had a vested interest in selecting the most qualified candidate.

Initiation of such aggressive, intense and comprehensive programs has not been without its challenges. …

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