Key Focus Area 1:
Addressing racial injustice collegewide
Equity in Action
Where we are
Collegewide diversity and inclusion activities are now championed by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The office – with the support of the Centre for Engaged Inclusion, the Cesar Chavez Learning Center, and dedicated faculty in diverse disciplines – has stretched beyond traditional monthly celebrations of minority groups and marginalized communities to build a dense network of support services and groups available to all students year-round.
Five areas of focus
Two such groups – Men About Progress and LUCERO – are designed to promote equity at LCC by supporting and encouraging the educational success of two underserved groups, Black males and Latino students, respectively. A newly launched group, called Women Inspiring Scholarship through Empowerment (WISE), is designed to mentor and support women in their educational pursuits. These groups are, of course, open to all students who want to participate, but are targeted in their services.
Other programs and groups are designed to be broad in appeal. For example, Chief Diversity Officer Tonya Bailey hosts monthly student-focused discussions called "On and Poppin'," and ODI has transformed the college's existing common reading program into a more discussion-focused program called Beyond the Book that features four selections supporting DEI themes each year.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion also oversees or supports several programs designed to educate employees on DEI and support them in living their lives authentically. The office launched the RISE Institute to offer LCC's educators a model to improve teaching and therefore student success through Critical Pedagogy and Universal Design for Learning. The RISE Institute has since received the 2020 Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers award for Equity in Education. Further, ODI supports cultural awareness committees year-round, including Black History Awareness, Women's History Awareness, Hispanic Heritage Awareness, Native American Heritage and the LCC Prism Alliance, which empowers employees to maintain a safe and inclusive environment in which individuals of all sexual orientations and gender identities can lead their lives openly and authentically. Additionally, ODI is heavily involved in the promotion and training components of LCC's chosen name and pronoun initiative.
Further, ODI is essential in training employees on how to make sure our recruitment and hiring practices are equitable and inclusive. Employees who participate in these trainings are known as inclusion advocates, and serve on full-time search committees to help mitigate bias in the selection process. Additionally, the chief diversity officer is a selection committee member for all full-time police officer positions and is a member of the Vacancy Management Review Team (VMRT), which reviews and approves hiring plans for the college. See key area 4 for more information about this critical work.
The chief diversity officer is working closely with the Center for Data Science and Human Resources to identify what data should be captured and how it should be analyzed and reported. We know it is critical to measure our progress and use data to identify gaps in our efforts, and we are committed to building a data-centered approach. Once appropriate data metrics are established, we hope to train "equity leaders for inclusion" in our employee body who will measure, track and use established reporting tools to record progress toward goals.
Where we are going
The Equity Action Plan is a collegewide initiative. It is influenced by and builds on the ODI "Let's Get Working" campaign, which serves as an umbrella for many of the existing student and employee programs.
Employee understanding and buy-in is critical to the long-term success of the Equity Action Plan. Therefore, one of the first steps to progress is normalizing the idea that DEI is a need intrinsic to the success of our students, and not an add-on or side program in the college's offerings. To this end, the college plans to take the below action steps:
- Require DEI training for all employees, and engage employee and student leaders in further cultural competency and implicit bias training.
- Provide an opportunity for Executive Leadership Team members and relevant staff to engage in National Equity Project training.
- Create an Equity Toolbox for Educators to support DEI activities in the classroom.
- Continue coordinating and facilitating activities and programs that will address racial injustice and promote DEI at all LCC locations.
- Launch a Diversity Fellows Program to create a pipeline of talent and diversify workforce. The focus of the Diversity Fellows Program is to introduce early-career diverse faculty to teaching and management opportunities at the college, and make sure they receive outstanding mentorship and support to increase future success and retention as faculty or mid-management support.
- Establish Community Conscious Coalitions of LCC faculty, staff and students who engage in peer-to-peer collaboration and ideation to advance DEI in their department or area of work. These coalitions will serve as engines for change, leading DEI discussions and moving a diverse community of people in a common direction.
- Hold campuswide DEI focus groups with students and key community stakeholders.
- Work with the college's Marketing Department to diversify images and languages on LCC's website and social media to reflect our community.
- Secure additional human and financial resources to support ODI operations, including dedicated DEI professionals.
- Establish a DEI grant program for underrepresented students.
- Create annual division and program DEI assessments, which will feed our diversity, equity and inclusion annual report.
- Coordinate an annual DEI transparency workshop with the Board of Trustees to review annual DEI activity and metrics.
As we carry forward the work of the Equity Action Plan, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will be responsible for monitoring and overseeing progress. However, the on-the-ground enactment requires the effort and commitment of all college employees and students, as well as our alumni and broader community. This work is hard, meaningful progress will require all of us to work together.