This week, the Board of Trustees declared April 2021 as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Month. This reflects your work as faculty, classified and confidential staff, and managers to create a more welcoming environment.
We also acknowledge that this is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Thank you to the college Title IX offices for working together to raise awareness, support victims, and provide prevention education. A listing of activities can be found here.
We additionally recognize Community College Month. This year, first lady Dr. Jill Biden is bringing renewed attention to the national importance of community colleges. In fact, there is serious consideration for $12 billion in federal funding for community college infrastructure.
Even with high-profile champions, we still have our work cut out for us – beginning with the recovery of enrollment lost to changing demographics, larger changes in higher education enrollment patterns, and the effects of a global pandemic.
Recovery starts with new connections with unserved and underserved communities. Welcoming new communities of students also requires programs to empower their career interests and academic goals, while meeting the needs of employers.
This past year has seen a rapid growth in holistic services. The expanding role of community colleges as social service and emergency relief providers does come at a cost, alongside ever-increasing instructional costs.
We must continue our advocacy work to secure necessary resources to remain both operationally and fiscally sound. In this task, we are not alone. For community colleges across the United States, now is our time to be heard.
John Weispfenning, Ph.D.