Embracing the heart of our mission

Recognition of the need for change is only the first step. Our students and alumni brought that need to light and now the responsibility is on all of us in the College community to make it happen. The commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is ongoing, and this is how we are devoting ourselves to this cause--both now and in the future.

Statements from President Hammond

I am thankful for the activism of our Black students, alumni and allies. I am proud of their efforts as students to make North Central College a better place, and there are things in place now on our campus that are the direct result of these efforts. For example, every single student, staff, and faculty member today receives training around diversity and inclusion. While our Black students and alumni should be proud to have been catalysts for this change, we should be ashamed this was not already in place. We have tried to do good work along this journey but we have made mistakes. I have learned that there is still much more to be done before we begin to resemble our vision of a diverse and inclusive community. In order to take the next steps in making greater change on this campus, I am committing to several things:

  1. I am aware that our students and alumni are collecting stories of their experiences. I support that effort, and importantly, I want to see them and hear them. Additionally, I want the entire campus community to see them and hear them, so I can work with others to ensure that these stories can affect our actions moving forward.
  2. I will host an online Town Hall so that students as well as staff, faculty and trustees of the College can discuss opportunities to make us better.
  3. At the recommendation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, I am committing to a campus-wide climate study during the upcoming academic year.
  4. I will require each faculty search committee and each staff hiring manager to report to me on their efforts to recruit, hire, and retain persons of color.
  5. I will require regular reporting of student retention data by race, as an important measure of our efforts.
  6. I will meet on a regular basis with our Black students, faculty, and staff to listen and learn more while continuing our progress.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the North Central College Strategic Plan

In May 2017, the College’s Board of Trustees adopted “Pathway to A Brilliant Future: The North Central College Strategic Plan.” The Plan has more than 200 tactics that roll up to 18 different strategies, supporting 4 overarching Strategic Imperatives. The Strategic Imperatives are “Student Learning and Success,” “College of Destination,” “Culture of Excellence,” and “Diversity, Inclusion, Global Engagement.” The Strategic Plan continues to guide the College’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts, with specific DEI strategies and tactics embedded throughout the Plan from its adoption.

Importantly, the College’s plan was developed to be flexible and adaptable, without a particular end date. Rather, the Plan continues to evolve in response to the changing needs of our students. To that end and since the plan was adopted in 2017, the College has added several tactics to expand our DEI efforts. In spring 2019, President Hammond established the College’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, which was charged to, among other things, “Review existing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives throughout campus, including strategies and tactics within the Strategic Plan, revisit all timelines, incorporate new ideas, and reprioritize all activities and timelines accordingly.” 

The Task Force has made recommendations that have resulted in additional institutional DEI commitments that are now reflected and tracked in the Plan. The Task Force and our staff in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will continue to both inform and advance the College’s Strategic Plan.

You are encouraged to review the College’s Strategic Plan in its entirety.


President's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force

Task Force History and Charge

As stated in its Strategic Plan, North Central College aspires to “Thrive as a diverse, inclusive, and globally engaged community … ” In Spring 2019, the discovery of racist material in the College’s archives, reports of racist incidents on campus, and a Black Student Association (BSA) forum where students shared the harm they experience from overt racism and forms of microaggression were reminders that there remains much work to do on this important Strategic Imperative.

In light of those events, which lent greater urgency for advancing our diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, the College established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, consisting of students, faculty, and staff. This Task Force operates in a manner consistent with the College’s Strategic Plan and complements ongoing efforts and initiatives by certain campus groups including the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence (CAFÉ), the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT), the Bias Education Team (BET), Cardinal Safe Zone, the Title IX office, Human Resources, the research team engaged in further study of the College’s archives, and the working group specifically addressing the series of demands made by BSA. 


It is the charge of the Task Force to:

  • Identify the needs of underrepresented members of our community and make recommendations for initiatives that will be ongoing with a clear intention to effect permanent cultural change on matters of diversity, equity and inclusion; 
  • Solicit input for doing so from all College constituencies including students, faculty, staff, members of the Board of Trustees, and alumni; 
  • Review existing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives throughout campus, including strategies and tactics within the Strategic Plan, revisit all timelines, incorporate new ideas, and reprioritize all activities and timelines accordingly; 
  • Ensure ongoing accountability throughout the campus community on all diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; and 
  • Engage in capacity-building work as a group, such as diversity, equity, and inclusion workshops. The Task Force will: 
  • Deliver monthly updates to the Presidents Council; 
  • Host at least one campus community forum each semester and schedule additional forums in conjunction with the implementation of new initiatives as warranted. 

Task Force Membership


The original membership for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force was determined in collaboration with Faculty Speaker Dr. Lou Corsino, the faculty Steering Committee, leadership of the Black Student Association, the Office of Student Affairs, and the North Central College Cabinet. Faculty and staff members are expected to serve a three-year term to provide continuity and capacity building. Student members are invited to serve at least one year. When vacancies occur, the Task Force will provide a list of names of possible replacements to the President for consideration.

 

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Co-Chairs

  • Dr. Stephen Maynard Caliendo, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences 
  • Dorothy Pleas, Director of Multicultural Affairs

Administrative Support

  • Marilyn Zydlo, Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs and Strategic Initiatives

Faculty Representatives

  • Dr. William Barnett, Associate Professor of History; Chair of the Department of History
  • Dr. Suzanne Chod, Associate Professor of Political Science; Coordinator of Gender and Sexual Studies
  • Dr. Marco Martinez, Associate Professor of Mathematics; Coordinator of Actuarial Science
  • Dr. Alicia Okpareke, Associate Professor of Education; Education Assessment Coordinator
  • Dr. Donnavieve Smith, Associate Professor of Marketing

Staff Representatives

  • Dr. Rebecca Gordon, Assistant Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Title IX/504 Coordinator
  • Sharon Merrill ‘99, Director of Human Resources
  • Kamelotte Gregory MA ‘20, Assistant Director, Center for Social Impact
  • Susan Kane ‘02, Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator

Student Representatives

  • Davin Allen ’20, MA ’22, graduate
  • Kimberly Garibay ’23, undergraduate
  • Morolake Gòkè-Pariolá ’23, undergraduate

Cabinet Liasion

  • Abiódún Gòkè-Pariolá, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Past Members

  • 2019-20 Dr. Kimberly Sluis, Vice President for Student Affairs and Strategic Initiatives
  • 2019-20 Keinesha Balkcom, Accounts Payable Specialist
  • 2019-20 Juan Sanchez ’20, undergraduate student
  • 2019-20 Jeff Thorne, Head Football Coach
  • 2019-20 Izaiah Webb ’20, undergraduate student

Campus Forums

Students walking towards Wentz Science Center

September 3, 2019, Stevenson Hall

Update on Task Force work, invitation for community sharing, questions and answers

Students outside of Boho

November 13, 2019, Stevenson Hall

Two sessions centering on microaggressions, designed to help participants gain an understanding of what implicit bias and microaggressions are, the science behind these concepts and how to prevent imposing them on others

Jefferson Plaza

Spring Forums

All spring semester forums were cancelled in light of the campus closure due to COVID-19

Listening Sessions

This summer, President Hammond had the opportunity to host several listening sessions with several groups including:

  • Black students;
  • Black student athletes;
  • the African American Alumni Association Board;
  • LatinX students;
  • The Student Governing Association (SGA);
  • Black staff;
  • Black faculty.

Here we have provided several themes that emerged from the Listening Sessions he hosted so far. The information gathered from these Listening Sessions will inform additional actions we will take toward creating a more inclusive North Central College.

Listening Session Themes

During the listening sessions, students, student athletes, faculty, staff, and alumni expressed a desire for:

  • Greater representation on campus of BIPOC students, student athletes, faculty, staff, and coaches
  • Establish greater resources and additional support for BIPOC students/student athletes, faculty, staff, and coaches
  • Review evaluation systems in order to more formally acknowledge the invisible labor of BIPOC faculty and staff
  • Increased mental health support for BIPOC students
  • Increased training on diversity and inclusion, anti-racism, and allyship
  • Evaluation of existing bias-related policies, procedures, and consequences
  • Evaluation of how BIPOC student and student athlete images are used in promotional materials
  • Required class on race
  • Improved transparency in communication
  • Increased alumni engagement
  • Greater parent feedback

Campus Climate Study


The process to identify a climate survey began in the Task Force in Fall 2019. The Task Force evaluated a number of climate survey instruments. After evaluation, the Task Force recommended that the College proceed with administering the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium’s Diversity and Equity Campus Climate Survey.  In Spring 2020, a small group of faculty and staff worked to develop additional questions to be included in the Climate Survey. The group plans to administer the survey to the campus in Fall semester 2020 after soliciting final input from a faculty, staff and student working group.

Students sitting outside of the wentz science center

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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