GRCC named ‘Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges’

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Beverly Shannon, right, teaches an English class at Grand Rapids Community College. Courtesy GRCC

Grand Rapids Community College was one of 16 schools in the nation to be named a 2020 Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development and the publication Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

The award is given to schools that have made a commitment to diversity through best in-class student and staff recruitment and retention practices, inclusive learning and working environments, and meaningful community service and engagement opportunities.

“Achieving equity is a strategic goal at GRCC and an important focus of all aspects of our work,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “Addressing disparities in education and the workforce is essential for us to serve our students and our community as a whole. We are still a work in progress and have much more to do, but we are honored by this recognition.”

In 2018, the community college established the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It is responsible for developing a strategy that is focused on equity and inclusion.

Grand Rapids Community College also changed its Office of Human Resources to align hiring practices with a project called HireReach, a collaboration between West Michigan Works! and Talent 2025.

“The ‘all-hands-on-deck’ philosophy is paramount to advancing diversity and social justice,” said Dr. B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, GRCC’s chief equity and inclusion officer. “I am thrilled to be a part of an institution that cultivates cross-department partnerships to meet equity goals.”

The award is determined by using a national study employing a web-based survey approach to obtain information from NISOD member institutions.

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education is a biweekly publication covering issues pertaining to underrepresented minorities in American higher education.

The other schools receiving the award are Blinn College, Community College of Allegheny County, Garden City Community College, Greenville Technical College, Harrisburg Area Community College, McLennan Community College, Montgomery County Community College, Nicolet College, Northeast Lakeview College, Northwest Vista College, Parkland College, Pierpont Community and Technical College, San Antonio College, South Seattle College and Truckee Meadows Community College.

“We are proud to honor these colleges for their sustained commitment to diversity,” said Edward J. Leach, NISOD’s executive director. “We are also pleased about the large number of applications this year. It shows that a growing number of colleges appreciate how critical diversity and inclusion initiatives are to their campuses and communities.”

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