Since our founding in 1966, Waubonsee has provided programs and services to more than 320,000 students and community members – and each year, we grow more committed to the importance and relevance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). DEI matters at Waubonsee because we embrace the idea that Waubonsee is more than college, Waubonsee is community college. And as a community college, it is important for all members of our community to be seen, heard, accepted, and supported. When a prospective student, parent, faculty, or staff member walks across one of our four campus locations, visits our web site, or interacts with us virtually, we want them to feel like they belong, connect, and relate to the experiences and histories of the people around them.
In the past 10 years, the percentage of minority students enrolled at Waubonsee has increased more than 40% - a change reflective of the changing demographics of the college district. While enrollment of minority students has increased, Latinx and African American students graduate at lower rates than their white peers. Working with the Partnership for College Completion and their Illinois Equity in Attainment initiative, Waubonsee is working to close those gaps. Our Equity Plan identifies five institutional strategies including developmental education reform, increased use of disaggregated data, a diverse hiring plan, Latinx student engagement, and African American student engagement.
Building upon the success of Waubonsee’s Connect4Success student success coaching program, which improved student retention rates 13-15% above those of non-participants, Waubonsee has launched the TRIUMPH and C.A.M.I.N.O.S. (Creating Alliance through Mentoring and Inclusive Navigation of Opportunities for Students) programs. Designed for male students of color and Latinx students, the TRIUMPH and C.A.M.I.N.O.S. programs focus on pairing students with mentors from Waubonsee or our community. Listen to some of our former TRIUMPH students on the impact the program and their mentor had for them. Students and mentors may learn more about and apply to be part of these dynamic programs at the links above or by contacting the Dean for Students office at email@example.com or (630) 466-6686.
We are successful as a community college when our student body reflects the diversity of our community. At Waubonsee, we also strive to reflect that diversity within our workforce. As one of our area’s largest employers, we seek to be an employer of choice. To help achieve that goal, we continue to work to increase diverse hiring and to create and maintain an inclusive working environment. Our Sustained Dialogue series provides space to learn about and discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion through a variety of lenses. And this fall we are launching Employee Resource Groups to help build a greater sense of belonging, community, and representation among employees.
An African Proverb states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This proverb speaks to the heart of who we are as a community college. Together, we have come far. And, together, we will go even further!