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Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges

Author Bio(s)

Rachel Angel is Coordinator of Student Support Technologies at the VCCS System Office. Mazhar Anik is an Assistant Dean at the School of Business at J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College. Sylvia Clay is the Engineering Program Head and an Instructor at J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College. Lorraine Justice is an Administrative Officer for Student Support Services at Rappahannock Community College. Cheri Maea is Director of Enrollment at Germanna Community College. Gena McKinley is an Associate Professor of English at Rappahannock Community College. Tim Merrill is Associate Vice President of Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness at J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College. Nicole Munday is Associate Director of Assessment at Germanna Community College. Aaron Rosenthal a Decision Support Systems Reports Coordinator at the VCCS System Office.

Abstract

In 2013, Chancellor DuBois convened a Task Force on Diversity with the aim of making the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) a model for diversity by “increasing the demographic diversity of the VCCS so that teaching faculty and leaders look more like the communities we serve” (Chancellors Diversity Task Force, 2014, p. 3). The hard work of the Task Force members culminated in a report that summarized their findings and recommendations, including a “Call to Action” list of 11 steps, many of which have been implemented or are in progress. Several of these key initiatives have put the VCCS on track to meeting its diversity goals: the adoption of a VCCS policy statement on diversity and inclusion; the hiring of a Chief Diversity Officer and appointment of College Diversity representatives at each of the 23 VCCS colleges; the formation of diversity steering committees at each college; and the creation of an online Diversity Dashboard database which provides “institutional and system-wide longitudinal data on gender and minority status” (p. 12). We commend these efforts and would like to build on the foundation provided by the Task Force. Furthermore, we maintain that the success of the Complete 2021: Educating for a Competitive Commonwealth VCCS Strategic Plan depends upon increasing diversity and inclusion across the colleges, particularly in the hiring and retention of more diverse faculty and administrators. Although increasing diversity on college campuses has many benefits, improving student success and completion arguably being the most significant, we believe that campus diversity is intrinsically valuable, apart from the many benefits it affords institutions. This report offers recommendations from the individual to the system level.

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