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Waubonsee Receives Equity Award

The Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) recently awarded Waubonsee Community College with its 2012 Equity Award.

The award was created in 2010 to recognize exemplary commitment by an Illinois public community college board of trustees and its chief executive officer to achieve diversity, equity and inclusion in the college’s education programs.

With accessibility and value among the college’s five core values, Waubonsee’s diversity has been a defining characteristic throughout its history. In recent years, the U.S. Department of Education designated Waubonsee a Hispanic-Serving Institution and subsequently awarded the college the $3.2 million five-year Title V grant, “Removing Barriers to Success.” The grant and other college initiatives combine to positively contribute to degree and certificate completion at the college. 

Diversity, inclusion and equity permeate Waubonsee’s culture. A Diversity Plan is one of the Major Support Plans within the college’s Strategic Planning Framework. Multiple student groups focus on issues of diversity. Programs such as health care interpreting, legal interpreting and translation uniquely enable bilingual community members to find rewarding careers. The Adult Education Department serves local residents through English as a Second Language (ESL), General Education Development (GED) and Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes. Other community programs such as the Aurora Community Technology Center and the Employment Skills Program at Hesed House help underserved populations improve their lives through education.

Much of Waubonsee’s diversity efforts stem from the work of the college’s Diversity Leadership Council, which formed in 2008. The council includes broad college representation including students, faculty, staff and administrators. Work initiated by the group has included the planting of a “Peace Pole” on the college’s Sugar Grove Campus and institution-wide employee diversity training.