Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts
A Message from President Hammond
Thank you for visiting this page, which will provide you and everyone in the campus community with ongoing updates regarding the College’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. This is an important moment in history, and we have a lot of work to do to make North Central College a more inclusive institution. As president, I’m committed to this work.
On this page, you’ll find an open-ended form that you can complete as a way for the College to collect anonymous feedback from the campus community. This is one of many ways I and others on campus will listen and learn as a way of informing the actions that will be taken. I invite you to use this form, and I welcome your comments.
I will also be hosting several listening sessions, some of which are already scheduled and listed below. I look forward to these listening sessions as a way to interact with students, faculty, staff and alumni in smaller groups. These sessions will allow for the honest, candid exchange of information as another part of my commitment to listening and learning. This dialogue is critical as part of our educational mission, and I hope you will participate in these sessions.
You will also find information on this page regarding the College’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force, including its charge and membership, and the resources that the task force has shared with the campus community. I’m grateful for the efforts of the task force and others on campus who are working to make North Central College better. I invite you to visit this page often for continuing updates and expanded information.
Thank you for your continuing engagement in this important effort!
Schedule of Listening Sessions
- Black Student Association Executive Board, Tuesday, June 16
- Black Staff, Tuesday, June 23, 2 p.m.
- Black Faculty, Thursday, June 25, 10 a.m.
- Latinx Student Board, Thursday, June 25, 5 p.m.
- Student Government Association Board, Thursday, June 25, 3 p.m.
- Black Students, Tuesday, July 7, 11 a.m.
- Black Student-Athletes, Tuesday, July 7, 2 p.m.
- African American Alumni Association Board, Wednesday, July 8, 2 p.m.
Diversity & Inclusion Focused Events
A number of different offices and departments from across the College regularly host events and offer activities that focus on the topics relevant to their diversity and inclusion work and initiatives. Recent events have included:
July 13, 2020: Project Re-Connect viewing and discussion of the film "Just Mercy"
Hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs
The viewing of this film prompted discussion around the country's criminal justice system and the role white supremacy plays, as well as how people's lives are affected by poverty and how greater justice would impact/influence poverty.
July 12, 2020: Faith and Racism Discussion
Hosted by the Office of Faith & Action in collaboration with the Office of Multicultural Affairs
This discussion centered on racism in the United States and how it is intertwined with racism from slave-promoting church leaders in colonial times to today's calls from faith leaders coordinating marches and rallies for justice and equality. The conversation was an opportunity to reflect on our beliefs and discuss our faith connections to the moral challenge of racism and the opportunities we have to combat it.
June 9, 2020: Black Lives Matter: Empathy, Repentance, and Action
Hosted by the Office of Faith and Action
This presentation was given by Director of Faith and Action Brian Rainville as part of the 12:5 Summer Series.
June 10, 2020: Panel Discussion On "Advocacy & Activism"
Hosted by the Center for Social Impact (CSI)
Part of CSI's Social Impact Live series, this panel discussion featured current students and alumni discussing ways to get involved with advocacy and activism and how these methods can be used effectively for social change. Student activists shared their experiences, strategies and lessons learned as they continue to raise their voices and fight for equity and racial justice.
May 12, 2020: Focus: Lament.Listen
Hosted by the Office of Faith & Action
This panel discussion with Focus leaders and Mikel Mays and Haven Denson was hosted by college chaplain Rev. Eric DoolittleFe
February 24, 2020: Movie Dialogue Event "Beyond Borders"
Hosted by the Latinx Student Association and the College's Movie Club
This event included a screening and discussion of the Documentary "Beyond Borders"
February 10, 2020: Know Your Rights/Ally Workshop
Hosted by the West Suburban Action Project (PASO)
Representatives from the organization PASO and Aurora's Rapid Response Team facilitated a workshop on how to be an ally to undocumented students and understanding your rights with ICE.
February 5, 2020: Undocumented Students: What Access to Higher Education and Completion Looks Like Now
Hosted by the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies
This presentation was given by Northern Illinois University's Coordinator for Undocumented Student Support and member of the Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education offering an overview of the current immigration narrative impacting access and completion to higher education.
Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT)
The College’s Bias Incident Reporting system is a mechanism for individuals to report a bias-related incident, such as discrimination, harassment or a hate crime, whether as a victim or witness to the incident. Reports are promptly reviewed by the College’s Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT), founded in 2016.
After a Bias Incident Report is received, a member of the BIRT meets with the affected party(ies). The BIRT may consult with and refer to the following areas for review and response to the incident:
- Academic Affairs (if the incident involves a member of the faculty)
- Bias Education Team (for response based on education/trends)
- Behavioral Intervention Team
- Campus Safety or Law Enforcement
- Human Resources (if the incident involves a college staff member)
- Residence Life (if the incident took place in the residence halls)
- Student Conduct/Dean of Students
- Title VI Office/Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
The BIRT may also perform one or more of the following actions:
- Identify members of the community who may be affected by the incident and need assistance or support
- Evaluate appropriate communications to effectively inform the campus community and affected groups about bias incidents and responses
- Provide information about the college’s commitment to equity, inclusion, academic freedom, and freedom of expression to affected parties
- Recommend or provide coaching, education or mediation
- Refer affected party to local resources
BIRT membership includes:
- Dorothy Pleas, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Multicultural Affairs
- Rebecca Gordon, Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
- Kevin McCarthy, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
- Steven Weaver, Assistant Dean of Students
- Julie Williams, Assistant Provost for Student Success and Dean of Academic Services
- Tatiana Sifri, Director of the Dyson Wellness Center
- Andrew Zobac, Director of Residence Life
- Ashley Klco, Director of Campus Safety
- Mary Spreitzer, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources
- Susan Kane, Associate Athletic Director
Bias Education Team
The College’s Bias Education Team (BET) was established in 2017 to support an inclusive atmosphere that fosters respect, embraces differences and welcomes diversity on campus. The Team works to provide education and learning opportunities to prevent and educate the community about bias-related attitudes and behavior. The BET works closely with the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) to identify and address trends on campus and across the nation with a goal of reducing incidences of bias and hate on campus, and to promote a healthy, inclusive campus community.
The BET consists of members of the campus community including students and staff from the following departments:
- Multicultural Affairs
- Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
- Student Affairs
- Residence Life
- Campus Safety
BET membership includes:
- Dorothy Pleas, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Multicultural Affairs
- Rebecca Gordon, Assistant Vice President of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
- Stephania Rodriguez, Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs
- Steve Weaver, Assistant Dean of Students
- Augustine DeBacco, Assistant Director of Residence Life
- Ariel McWillie, Area Hall Director
- Kamelotte Gregory, Assistant Director of Social Impact
Diversity and Inclusion as part of the College’s General Education Curriculum
North Central College’s General Education curriculum, Cardinal Directions, includes instruction regarding diversity and inclusion:
- All incoming students, whether first-year or transfer students, are required to participate each semester in a diversity and inclusion workshop delivered by the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
- All students are required to fulfill three Mission requirements, so named because they link directly to the College’s mission. Each speaks to issues of diversity and inclusion: U.S. Power Structures courses focus explicitly on inequality in the United States; Global Understanding courses expose students to diverse cultures and power inequalities among nations; and Ethical Dimensions courses ask students to learn about diverse ethical traditions and practices.
- The Community Engaged Learning requirement for the General Education curriculum typically involves engagement with issues of diversity.
- Five of the eight interdisciplinary connections (iCons) are devoted to studying and understanding diversity and inclusion in a meaningful way: Challenging Inequity, Engaging Civic Life, Thinking Globally, Being Human, and Experiencing Place. The iCons titled Sustaining Our World, Examining Health and Innovating the World include courses that challenge students to think about diversity and inequality in relation to those themes.
- The Senior Seminar CARD 400 requires graduating seniors to work in teams to solve real-world problems. Collaborating with others from varied backgrounds gives students the opportunity to apply what they have learned about diversity and inclusion. Moreover, the real-world problems are often (but not always) focused on issues related to diversity or inequality.
The Town Hall was moderated by Dr. Donnavieve Smith, Associate Professor of Marketing and a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. The following individuals joined President Hammond as panelists:
- Erin Bishop ’93, Vice Chair, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees
- Dr. Stephen Maynard Caliendo, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force
- Dr. Abiódún Gòkè-Pariolá, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
- Dr. Rebecca Gordon, Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Title IX Coordinator
- Jim McDermet ’92, Chair, Board of Trustees
- Dorothy Pleas, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Multicultural Affairs; Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force
- Martin Sauer, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Athletics
- Dr. Kimberly Sluis, Vice President for Student Affairs and Strategic Initiatives and a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force
Diversity and Inclusion in Athletics
As part of the College’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, the Athletics Department is taking a number of action steps, which are the beginning of changes that will occur within the department. Additional changes will come based on feedback from the athletics community, the Athletics Diversity Council (ADC), the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force, and other groups.
- The Athletics Department is creating an Athletics Diversity Council, consisting of students, coaches, staff, alumni, and faculty that will help provide guidance and perspective along with establishing goals and benchmarks to mark our collective progress. The ADC membership and charge will be announced by August 10, 2020.
- The ADC, in conjunction with the DEI Task Force and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, will plan and host forums on racism in society and athletics to provide a deeper understanding of Black history and experiences in our culture, and to engage student athletes, coaches, and administrators in meaningful dialogue. The fall semester schedule for these forums will be announced by September 1, 2020.
- The Athletics Department is making a commitment to further diversifying its staff to include more Black coaches, assistant coaches and other athletics staff. In doing so, the department will seek guidance from the ADC and the DEI Task Force to identify and change systemic barriers in recruitment and hiring practices, and the department will train its search committees on preventing implicit bias in the hiring process.
- The Athletics Department—including student athletes, coaches, staff, and administrators—will participate in extensive anti-racism and allyship training.
- The Athletics Department will launch a “Be the Change” social-media campaign this fall, which aims to give student athletes, as well as coaches, administrators, staff members, and teams, the opportunity to share their own commitment to being anti-racist.