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St. Charles Community College Advances Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts
Embedded in the mission of St. Charles Community College is a promise to celebrate diversity and prepare students to succeed in a global environment. To help advance this mission, in 2017 SCC approved a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan which includes goals focused on increasing the success of racial minority students, closing the gap to ensure a more diverse faculty and staff and providing a welcoming and inclusive environment, just to name a few.
With the advent of a new academic year, institutions of higher education, including SCC, have faced many challenges. In addition to delivering instruction and support services amid COVID-19, the news has been filled with stories that depict acts of violence and racial injustice against African Americans. According to Martha Garcia Kampen, St. Charles Community College chief diversity officer, “Many national events, including the death of George Floyd and recent shooting of Jacob Blake, have deeply affected many people in our region.”
Kampen sees her primary goal as helping make SCC a welcoming, inclusive campus where everyone feels a sense of belonging. “I believe the more we understand about other people, the better we understand ourselves. The better we understand ourselves, the more effective we will be in contributing in a positive way to the world.”
Though COVID-19 has come with many challenges, SCC has embraced the virtual space to continue facilitating conversations on a variety of issues. Starting in September, the Multicultural Experience and Hidden History-Uncomfortable Conversations Series will touch on topics like race, social change and more. As part of the curriculum, the college has established courses such as African American History Since 1877, Intercultural Communication, Introduction to Global Studies, Sex, Gender and Society and History of Latin America. Additionally, students have the opportunity to earn a Diversity Certificate of Specialization.
According to Dr. Barbara Kavalier, SCC president, the College is launching several new initiatives this fall aimed at advancing critical diversity strategies, including identifying opportunities for students to engage in critical conversations about race, improving hiring practices to increase diversity among faculty and staff and creating a new multicultural center for students.
“We are already making great progress on several fronts, but this is just the beginning,” said Dr. Kavalier. “We have to do our part to address racism, inequities and injustices.”
In addition, Dr. Kavalier is establishing the President’s Council on Race and Diversity which will include faculty, staff, students and community representatives. The purpose of the Council is to explore opportunities for expanding awareness and understanding of racial issues and to identify strategies for further growth as an institution.
“We must engage in these critical conversations," explained Dr. Kavalier. "We must take action to do better and be open to change as we fulfill our diversity goals and advance our mission."
Through these efforts, SCC is better positioned to help lead our community toward a more inclusive region. We invite you to learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at St. Charles Community College.