Changing Campus Culture

Making North Central a College of Destination for diversity, equity and inclusion

As we seek to build our campus into a place where everyone feels protected, acknowledged and valued, we know we have a lot of work to do. Read on to find out more about the improvements we’re working hard to create.

First-year Incoming and Transfer Students

  • 2019-20 Calendar Year:
    • The College implemented online training to educate all incoming students about implicit bias and microaggressions.
    • Welcome Week Programming: Mohammad Bilal.
    • All first-year and transfer students received an in-person diversity and inclusion session as part of their First Year Experience course curriculum.
  • 2020-21 Calendar Year:
    • Welcome Week Programming: Austin Channing Brown, the New York Times bestselling author of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness.
    • Expansion of First Year Experience (CARD) course by including a spring semester webinar session on anti-racism.
    • Eight-hour Anti-racism and Ally training is being developed in response to feedback from the 2019 Black Student Working Group.


Cardinal Directions general education program

  • All incoming students, whether first-year students or transfer students, are required to participate in two diversity and inclusion workshops (one each semester) delivered by the Office of Multicultural Affairs. In addition, instructors of all first-year and transfer seminars choose an event or workshop that their students are required to attend. As of fall 2020, the faculty is having conversations about whether to require instructors to choose only from those events or workshops that speak to issues of diversity and inclusion.   
  • All students are required to fulfill three Mission requirements (so named because they link directly to the College mission), each of which 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 typically involves engagement with issues of diversity.  
  • Five of the eight iCons--larger themes around which students shape their general education path--are devoted to thinking about diversity and inclusion in some meaningful way. Challenging Inequity, Engaging Civic Life, Thinking Globally, Being Human, and Experiencing Place do so most explicitly. The remaining three iCons--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 as well.  
  • The Senior Seminar, CARD 400, requires graduating seniors to work in teams to solve a real world problem. The ability to work in teams with others from diverse backgrounds gives students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned about diversity and inclusion. Moreover, the real world problems are often (but not always) focused on an issue related to diversity or inequality.  



First-year and transfer student gateway experiences

The first-year experience portion of Cardinal Directions is a yearlong exploration of the notion of "place." Students enroll in two separate courses, one of which builds skills in writing and the other in public speaking, that serve as gateway experiences and are designated CARD 101, 102 or 200. Both courses provide content related to the transition to college, as well, but the notion of "place," broadly construed, is a central thread that galvanizes the experience for all students. The transfer experience includes a focus on community engagement in addition to the notion of "place." Faculty have discretion to focus these discussions in a variety of ways, and many choose to engage students in explorations of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Some examples include:

Students during welcome week
  • Exploration of the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Hate Map," including the existence of groups in Naperville, with discussion of the role of higher education in addressing pervasive white supremacy--particularly in the context of hate groups
  • Examination of Erika Sánchez's “I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” and Natalie Moore's “The South Side”
  • Reading and discussing chapters of the North Central College historical volume “A Promising Start,” with focus on the College's presence during the 20th-century Civil Rights Movement
  • Students choose one of seven pubic addresses that center on place (e.g., Yeonmi Park's "Escaping from North Korea in Search of Freedom" and Mario Cuomo's "A Tale of Two Cities") to critically analyze
  • Reflection on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech through the rhetorical concept of Kairos
  • To find a sense of place through technology and online platforms, students consider how one's "world identity" can be blurred as we seek to establish a sense of community through online participation

Anti-Racism Education and Training

2018-19 Academic Year Diversity and Inclusion Training Highlights

  • Search Committee Members: Four-hour workshop on implicit bias and search committees facilitated by Dr. Pauline Kayes, President of Diversity Works, Inc.
  • College Managers: Four-hour workshop facilitated by Dr. Victoria Farris
  • Student Affairs Staff: Four-hour workshop facilitated by Dr. Victoria Farris
  • The President’s Cabinet: Three-hour workshop facilitated by Dr. Victoria Farris and Dr. David Jones
  • The President’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force: Two, four-hour sessions facilitated by Dr. Victoria Farris and Dr. David Jones (session 2 only
  • All student-athletes received a mandatory 90-minute diversity and inclusion training in which each team established inclusive team norms facilitated by Dr. Rebecca Gordon, Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Jessica Vasquez, Peer Health Education Coordinator and Campus Advocate;
  • Dr. Kathy Obear (The center for transformation and change), and Dr. Tanya O. Williams, Ed.D. (Authentic Consulting) co-facilitated a day-long diversity and inclusion training for coaches and Athletics Department administrative staff;
  • The women’s lacrosse team participated in a facilitated discussion about the climate on the team;
  • The women’s lacrosse team and lacrosse coaching staff participated in a six-hour experiential training on diversity and inclusion facilitated by Dr. Tanya O. Williams.

2019-20 Academic Year Diversity and Inclusion Training Highlights

  • Annual staff and faculty online implicit bias training through Human Resources
  • Two-day Dialogue Across Difference training facilitated by Essential Partners for interested faculty, staff, and students.
  • ​​​​​​​Student Affairs Staff: Training facilitated by Dr. Victoria Farris and Dr. David Jones

2020-21 Academic Year Diversity and Inclusion Activity and Training Highlights

  • Welcome Week Programming: Austin Channing Brown, the New York Times bestselling author of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness.
  • Expansion of First Year Experience (CARD) course by including a spring semester webinar session on anti-racism.
  • All first-year and transfer students received an in-person diversity and inclusion session as part of their First Year Experience course curriculum.
  • Provost’s Third Annual Fall Faculty Colloquium: Dr. Sumun L. Pendakur, Chief Learning Officer, USC Race & Equity Center, Fierce Imagination: Purposeful Teaching for Today, Not Yesterday.
  • A number of student athletes in a variety of athletic programs participated in, and/or organized, initiatives surrounding racial injustice. Student athletes participated in/organized marches and protests in their communities, and coaches facilitated discussions with their respective teams. Those activities are summarized below.


  • Women’s Basketball
    • Women’s basketball has held monthly initiatives since the beginning of summer, sharing articles and holding Zoom discussions on different topics regarding racism.  The coaching staff has challenged their student-athletes to register to vote and are canceling all athletic related activities on November 3, 2020 to allow student-athletes to vote and volunteer at polling stations. The team also had Black Lives Matter shirts made and are selling them with all proceeds being donated to the North Central Black Student Association. Additionally, Mitrese Smith, a current student athlete, organized a protest in her hometown that saw a turnout of over 500 people and was attended by Coach Bax, Brittany James and Allison Pearson.
  • Women’s track & field team
    • ​​​​​​​The women’s track & field team organized a Run-a-Thon with all proceeds to be donated to the Black Student Association to help them continue their important efforts on our campus, and the Chicago-based organization called My Block, My Hood, My City to support their mission of providing resources and assistance to underprivileged youth, and Black owned business around the city. This was a completely student organized event, led by Joli Lavieri, and the men’s track & field team was also invited to participate in the event. To date they have raised over $3,700 and are still accepting donations.
  • Men’s and Women’s tennis teams
    • ​​​​​​​The men’s and women’s tennis teams have been scheduling Zoom meetings discussing racial injustice and how they can instill positive changes into society.  Members of both teams have also been participating in protests and rallies in their hometowns.​​​​​​​
  • Football team
    • Hosted six virtual discussions about social injustice. Videos, print materials (e.g. Letter from a Birmingham Jail), and guest speakers were used to frame and facilitate these discussions.​​​​​​​
  • Softball team members
    • Softball team members requested a facilitated discussion by the Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Director of Multicultural Affairs about diversity and inclusion.
  • ​​​​​​​Student athletes, coaches and administrative staff will receive immersive training on diversity and inclusion during fall 2020.
  • ​​​​​​​Coaches and athletics administrative staff will receive an NCAA training on LGBTIA+ issues in athletics.

Diversity and Inclusion Events

CAFÉ Series

New Faculty Academy

A session with Megan Paustian and Dorothy Pleas to critically reflect on campus climate and connect faculty to raise awareness of diversity and inclusion initiatives. Projects included making an inclusive teaching practices inventory and crafting a DEI statement.

Megan Paustian bell hooks presentation

Diversity Discussion Series

Led by CAFÉ Associate Megan Paustian and launched Fall Term 2018, this is a series on diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education. Each term/semester, CAFÉ hosts two reading roundtables featuring a brief article or book chapter to read in advance and then discuss in an informal setting. The set of readings brings in research on student learning and campus life, theorizes the big-picture aims of higher education, offers simple tools for effective teaching and mentoring, and helps us think about our role in creating a more equitable education for an increasingly diverse student body.

Speaker at event

Guest Speakers

Nov 2019 – Cia Verschelden (right), Ph.D, Vice President Academic & Student Affairs at City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College & Author of ”Bandwidth Recovery: Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Resources Lost to Poverty, Racism, and Social Marginalization” 

Jan 2020 – Jennifer Pusateri, Universal Design Consultant at the University of Kentucky's Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT)



March 2019 – ”Race on Campus: Debunking Myths with Data” (J.J. Park) with Marco Martinez

March 2020 – Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder with Mindy Diaz & Nicole Rivera 

Fall 2020 – ”Teaching across cultural strengths: A guide to balancing integrated and individuated cultural frameworks in college teaching” (Chávez, A. F., & Longerbeam, S. D.) with Jennifer Shah & Jennifer Keys


Speaking event

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at North Central

North Central College strives to grow in diversity, equity and inclusion through the work of our faculty and staff, the openness and honesty of our students, the support of our alumni, and the continuing commitment of the entire North Central community. Share our journey with us and discover how we are working to be the change and become a true college of destination.

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