This feature was published in the latest edition of Affinity Magazine! Click here to check out the magazine in its entirety. 

Columbia College is committed to providing an environment that encourages inclusion and equity for every student and employee. That goes for all races, ages, religions, gender identities and sexual orientations, in all of our venues.

The Columbia College Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee
(Photo by Kaci Smart)

To that end, and to ensure that the college is doing everything it can to maintain a welcoming community for all, President Scott Dalrymple created the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee in the spring of 2016.

This group of 12 representatives from three different locations was chosen by a panel of the president’s Administrative Council to enact and oversee diversity initiatives for the college.

Keith McIver, director of Development and chair of the committee, says that the group has already identified and assigned four sub-committees to tackle different parts of the diversity, equity and inclusion picture.

There’s the assessment sub-committee, chaired by James Smith, director of Adult Higher Education Campus Admissions; training, chaired by Dr. Teresa VanDover, associate professor of Education; programs, chaired by Kandace Anthony, assistant director at Columbia College- St. Louis; and policy, chaired by Alisa Buck, director of project management for Technology Services.

“We want to ensure that throughout the institution, we are committed to these values and principles,” McIver says. “I’m happy that this committee was formed not as a reaction. I think it’s good we are proactively engaging our community and volunteers.”

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee works to maintain a place for open discourse at Columbia College, support activities that promote diversity and inclusion, coordinate efforts with campus departments and conceive of ways the school can fulfill its vision as an accommodating learning, teaching and working environment.

“I’d like to see, and we’ll work with other stakeholders for, diversity in our faculty representation,” McIver says. “It’s my hope that we are able to increase diversity as it is recognized throughout the college, in all areas.

“It is a hot topic across the nation, but it’s good work. We’re all committed. Let’s go. It will take more learning, talking and engaging across the spectrum.”