At KCC, diversity is a key philosophy – and it is part of the college’s philosophy statement.
When KCC defines diversity, it includes differences in identity (e.g. race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, physical or cognitive disability, country of origin), affiliations (e.g. religious, political, and cultural) or life experience (e.g. military service, learning style, occupational choices).
KCC defines inclusion as the open engagement with diversity in the classrooms, the hallways, the workplace and the greater community in a manner to increase awareness, acceptance and understanding of the valued differences within our community.
In August 2016, the Embracing Diversity Committee was formed as part of continuous quality efforts at the college. Though that project officially ended in May 2018, it had enough impact that it was decided the committee should continue its work. KCC welcomed Whitney Mittons as coordinator of equity, diversion and inclusion in early 2020.
Presently, Embracing Diversity is one of five committee options given to KCC employees.
Diversity point people
Dr. Deisy Anderson
Anderson is KCC's multicultural student services coach and chair of the KCC Diversity Committee. She provides campus and facility tours, advocates for student needs, mentors and coaches students and students’ families. She establishes community relationships, teaches Spanish, facilitates Arts and Heritage Day for Education at the Farmer’s Market, translates publications, attends workshops, and conducts research.
Dr. Francesca Catalano
Catalano a key leader in the LGBTQ community, is passionate about social justice, and is a mentor for faculty, staff and students. She also coordinates the college's food pantry, aptly named "Food for Thought." Catalano is associate dean of the Math, Science and Engineering Division.
Mittons is the coordinator of equity, diversity and inclusion, and provides leadership for KCC’s diversity initiatives on campus and in the community. She advances conversations about race and racism, and is working to open an EDI center on the Riverfront Campus.
Jessica Oladapo, professor
Oladapo is co-chair of the KCC Diversity Committee, and a sociologist whose passions are centered around social justice and equity. She teaches Sociology, Racial and Ethnic Relations, and Marriage and the Family at KCC. Outside of the college, she is a mother to four world-changers in their own right. She also operates a small business which trains corporations and other entities on inclusive practices.
Several student clubs at KCC have missions and activities related to diversity and inclusion.
Create leadership role modeling and institute a culture change process that supports creating and sustaining an environment that is aware of, open to, and respectful of differences. We began this work by developing Mission and Vision Statements.
Diversity Mission Statement
KCC is committed to fostering a community of inclusion that promotes equality and acceptance for all students, faculty and staff. This climate of respect will forge relationships, celebrate differences, and underscore the similarities of all its constituents. KCC expressly commits to a process to review, enhance and coordinate issues and programs associated with faculty, student and staff equity, access, opportunity and success.
Diversity Vision Statement
KCC is committed to creating a culture of diversity where all constituents feel supported to succeed to their fullest potential. Promoting multiculturalism and diversity within all departments at the college. Upholding a climate of equality and the expression of the individual. Advancing the concepts of diversity and inclusion within the confines of scholarship. Advocating for equality and inclusion for all groups, particularly LGBTQ, multicultural, women, veterans, first generation students and students with disabilities. Addressing acts of intolerance. Creating an academically enriching and supportive climate by offering campus dialogues on inclusion. Celebrating our rich cultural history, including Spanish Heritage Month, Red Flag Campaign, Native American History Month, Black History Month, Women’s’ History Month, and LGBTQ events. Identifying and promoting coursework that speaks to diversity and inclusion.
Compare the population demographics of faculty, staff and students. Implement a comprehensive college-wide recruiting strategy to attract, hire, and retain diverse employees.
The committee compiled demographic information on gender and race/ethnicity for students, faculty, administrators and staff. One key finding was that comparatively, there are considerably more minority students than there are faculty and administrators. The committee has spent time discussing and reviewing hiring procedures to confirm that the process was inclusive.
Compile all current KCC efforts related to diversity and inclusion. The committee compiled a catalogue of all current activities related to diversity and inclusion in order to identify gaps.
Evaluate (or integrating if needed) intercultural perspectives into the curriculum. Pursuant to 100 ILCS 205/9.21 (from Ch. 144, par. 189.21) Sect 9.21, general education requirements to earn a degree must include coursework on “improving human relations to include race, ethnicity, gender and other issues related to improving human relations to address racism and sexual harassment.” The committee identified courses in the current KCC catalog with direct or indirect course objectives related to these issues.
Influence attitudes and behaviors of the college community through formal/informal learning and education. The committee identified historic milestones related to diversity and inclusion in all groups and partners with student organizations/stakeholders to offer monthly events recognizing and celebrating these dates. In May of 2017 KCC’s president, Dr. John Avendano, set goals for the upcoming year to increase the number of under-represented students on campus by 3% and establish new strategies to increase student success of these students. To address this charge, a faculty member/multicultural coordinator began a research project designed to review and recommend best practices for the recruitment, retention and strategic enrollment management of under-represented students.
Following are some of the events and activities presented or supported by the Embracing Diversity Committee.
Safe Space — The Gay Straight Alliance has launched a Safe Space Imitative, designed to help students see visible demonstrations of support. Faculty and staff can post a Safe Space sign and have on hand a packet of resources to help at-risk LGBTQ+ students.
GSA Summit — The GSA group, in conjunction with the KCC Foundation will host a statewide GSA Summit on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 at KCC’s Riverfront Campus. GSA groups from area high schools as well as colleges and universities across the state will be invited. The keynote speaker will be Brian Johnson, the CEO of Equality Illinois. Breakout sessions will include presentations on mental health, starting and sustaining a GSA at a school, college or university and a testimonial from a transgender speaker.