College ranks high for diversity, inclusion program

By Stephanie Wallace

JJC has been named one of the top diversity employers for 2021 by DiversityJobs. Ranked among 57 other education employers across the country, the success is accredited to JJC’s “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” Plan.

The plan started in July of 2020 and is led by its director Dr. Escortina Ervin.

Using her upbringing in poverty and firsthand accounts of witnessing systematic issues regarding people of color, she “implemented principles of diversity, equity and inclusion through program management, student affairs and faculty development.”

“I believe a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion is most effective when embraced by executive management and supported holistically across campus. Both staff and students need to see a reflection of themselves on campus,” Ervin said.

The plan itself covers a span of three years and revolves around the school’s seven core values: Respect, Integrity, Collaboration, Well Being, Innovation, Quality, and Sustainability and is carried out by “The President’s Diversity and Inclusion Council.”

“The President’s Diversity and Inclusion Council will promote collaboration and communication to achieve JJC’s diversity and inclusion goals as well as other objectives identified in the college’s strategic plan,” the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Council said.

One of these objectives is broadening the diversity among JJC professionals, faculty, counselors, librarians, and service workers. In these groups specifically, females and ethnic minority groups are underrepresented. To combat this, the application pool has been increased.

“For staff, we increased this application pool by six percent, and for faculty we increased this application pool by eight percent,” Judy Mitchell, president, said. “This is a start, but we know our efforts need to continue to make a lasting impact.”

Other efforts on the council’s part include, increasing student support, celebrating institutional diversity, increasing civic participation, and fostering and cultivating new and existing partnerships through open and flexible dialogue.

“I asked our campus community at the start of the fall semester to make a pledge with me…This mindset has nurtured a spirit of support that I know propels Joliet Junior College and its community through the significant change we are experiencing,” Mitchell said.