Howard Community College Wins 2018 National Equity Award from Association of Community College Trustees
Columbia, Maryland – The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) presented Howard Community College (HCC) with one of its highest honors – the Charles Kennedy Equity Award – at its 2018 Leadership Congress on October 26 in New York City. The award recognizes exemplary commitment by a community college governing board and chief executive officer to achieving equity in the administration and delivery of the college’s education, programs, and services. The award also honors leadership in setting policies that promote and enhance opportunities for institutional diversity, inclusion, and equity.
“The Board of Trustees and I are honored to receive this award on behalf of the faculty, staff, and students who live the college’s mission and provide pathways to success for everyone,” said Dr. Kate Hetherington, president of Howard Community College. “Howard Community College is committed to an inclusive and equitable environment that develops contributing members of today’s global community.”
The college has had a diversity plan in place for nearly 30 years, and a committee of employees reviews and updates the plan annually. The plan establishes guidelines for ensuring equal opportunity and improving cultural diversity in recruitment, employment, academics, retention of students, and the overall experience at the college. Additionally, each budgeted staff member and full-time faculty member is required to participate in at least two diversity educational sessions every year. These sessions, which are offered throughout the year, address such topics as race, gender, ethnicity, social class, disabilities, wellness, and cultural proficiency.
For students, HCC offers successful initiatives such as Howard P.R.I.D.E., which encourages the continued academic, professional, and personal development of Black male students, and Ambiciones, a supportive community designed to meet the unique needs of Hispanic/Latino students. Other programs focused on supporting students include Career Links, which assists single parents and displaced homemakers achieve their educational goals, and the Student Support Services TRIO Program, which provides customized academic support services to students who are low income, first generation college students.
Within the Howard County community, HCC maintains its commitment to equity. HCC is a member of the Howard County Executive’s #OneHoward Steering Committee, which led HCC to host eight of its #USPEAK dialogues over the 2017–2018 academic year. HCC also proudly hosted Howard County’s Longest Table event, which was organized by the Choose Civility initiative of the Howard County Library System. Hundreds of community members gathered on the HCC campus for a shared meal and conversation about issues ranging from race relations to cultural infusion in the county.
The Charles Kennedy Equity Award honors a former trustee at Joliet Junior College in Illinois. The late Charles Kennedy was a founder of the ACCT Minority Affairs Assembly, which became the ACCT Diversity Committee.
Located in Washington, DC, AACT is a nonprofit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern over 1,200 community, technical, and junior colleges in the United States.