Now in its eighth year, the Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges (MPPWCC) examines the extent to which diversity and inclusion are ingrained in the workplace culture of two-year community and technical colleges. Diverse: Issues In Higher Education works with the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) on the annual MPPWCC project.
Institutional leaders answer the MPPWCC web-based survey, which examines workplace diversity, staffing practices and work environment. For example, one section assesses the structural diversity of the institution and relevant departments in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation and disability status. Categories such as family friendliness, salary/benefits and professional development opportunities help determine the list.
There are more than 1,100 community colleges in the U.S. which educate more than 12 million students per year. This year’s list of the Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges includes some familiar names and some first timers. Each institution seeks out and values diverse faculty, staff and administrators who are committed to meeting students’ needs and working with them to achieve their goals. In alphabetical order, here are this year’s Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges:
Located in Texas, Clarendon College certainly felt the impact of the pandemic. Enrollment dropped and several people left their positions, but President Tex Buckhaults says there have been some stellar recent hires. “Much of what we’ve accomplished over the past 18 months has been hiring good people, letting them do their jobs and providing the support they need to be successful,” says Buckhaults. “We’ve had several retirements. To me, a good sign is when people work until they’ve put in 30-plus years.”
Community College of Allegheny County
A public community college in Pennsylvania with four campuses serving more than 40,000 students, Community College of Allegheny County returns to the list. It offers associate degrees, certificates and diplomas. “CCAC is once again honored to receive this prestigious national recognition,” says Dr. Quintin B. Bullock, president of the Community College of Allegheny County. “Our faculty, staff and administration are dedicated to promoting diversity and equity in support of all individuals regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion and mental abilities.”
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Part of the Florida College System, Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) serves nearly 50,000 students and offers some four-year degrees in addition to associate degrees and short-term programs. “It is an honor to receive this recognition in response to our efforts and commitment for equity, diversity and inclusion as well as to make sure all students, faculty and staff know they are valued and respected,” says Dr. John Avendano, president of Florida State College at Jacksonville. “I truly believe the collegewide commitment to student success permeates the work we do, and thanks to this united effort, the FSCJ family is positioned to serve our students well into the future. Moreover, our commitment has also provided the college community with a deep fulfillment in the work we do.”
Malcolm X College
For the second time in three years, Malcolm X College, which is part of City Colleges of Chicago, is named to the MPPWCC list. “Our work life is such a big part of our everyday life, which is why it is important to do what you love,” said President David Sanders. “[This acknowledgement is] because of the love of the work we do and the love we have for our faculty, our staff and our students. What makes Malcolm X unique and special is the fact that together we are transforming lives and have doubled-down on our commitment as a team to help our students find life success through academic excellence with intention and compassion.”
McLennan Community College
Diversity and inclusion are central tenets of McLennan Community College, which serves more than 9,000 students. It is one of only two community colleges located in Waco, Texas. “Receiving this designation from NISOD and Diverse: Issues In Higher Education is a true honor,” says Dr. Johnette McKown, president of McLennan Community College. “This directly reflects the commitment of our board, administration and employees to uphold our mission to ‘educate our students — improving their lives and enriching our community’ while continuing to reflect our core values daily: People, Inclusiveness, Integrity, Communication and Excellence Matters.”
Montgomery County Community College
Another college returning to the list, Montgomery County Community College is a public institution in Pennsylvania. In addition to its main campus there are two satellite campuses. “It is our honor to receive this national award for six consecutive years, and it is testament to Montgomery County Community College’s longstanding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” says Dr. Victoria L. Bastecki-Perez, president of the college. “I’m proud of the steadfast, collective efforts of our board of trustees, faculty, staff and administrators and the work they have done and continue to do every day to make everyone feel at home, respected, valued and heard on our campuses.”
National Park College
With the motto of “Find Your Place,” National Park College in Arkansas serves students in both credit and non-credit programs. “We value our employees’ dedication to our students’ success, and we know an investment in our employees will always pay off,” says Dr. John Hogan. president of the college. “National Park College is intentional about promoting diversity, equity and inclusion on our campus. It is woven into our strategic plan, our academic objectives and it is supported in our budget planning process. While we have made significant strides, we know our work must continue and we are committed to identifying additional ways we can support our underserved populations.”
A technical college in Wisconsin returning to the list, Nicolet College’s motto is, “Nicolet is more than a college; we’re a community.” “Nicolet College is pleased to again be recognized for our work in diversity, equity and inclusion,” says Kelly Haverkampf, director of employee relations and organizational development. “Our goal is to continue strengthening a culture where all who interact with the college feel welcomed, respected and valued. Our college-wide diversity, equity and inclusion committee is leading the way in the work to embrace educational practices and activities that create a sense of belonging for every student and employee. This recognition brings visibility and validation to our work.”
Northeast Lakeview College
Founded in 2007, Northeast Lakeview College (NLC) is the newest of five community colleges in the Alamo Colleges District in Texas. “A great team makes a difference, and I credit our faculty, staff and administration for their resiliency, flexibility and continued dedication to support each other and our students during challenging times,” says Dr. Veronica Garcia, president of NLC. “Recognized in Most Promising Places to Work in 2019, 2020 and 2021, I am inspired by NLC’s commitment to our value of ‘Respect for All’ and the strides we have made to create an inclusive and diverse community.”
Northwest Vista College
Also part of the Alamo Colleges District, Northwest Vista College in Texas was established in 1995 and today has enrollment of more than 17,000 students pursuing associate degrees and technical certifications. “Northwest Vista College faculty, staff and students have worked together to create a place that has been recognized as one of the Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges for the third time,” says Dr. Ric Baser, president of the college. “We know that our work and our journey continue toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive culture for all of our stakeholders. We are committed to creating an environment that is equitable for all.”
The one Canadian entry on the list, Olds College is an agricultural college located in the province of Alberta that is part of the Alberta Rural Development Network. The college offers more than 30 programs designed to advance the agriculture industry and states as its goal ‘transforming agriculture for a better world.’ All programs align with this social purpose. Situated in an area rich with the history of indigenous people, the college fosters mutual respect and trust.
Pierpont Community & Technical College
Appearing among the MPPWCC for the fifth year, Pierpont Community & Technical College in West Virginia has a mission: “To provide accessible, responsive, comprehensive education that works.” Dr. Anthony Hancock, interim president of the college, says community colleges serve people on the periphery often unseen in higher education. “People that I work with here are part of this community and they see the strife and challenges that north central West Virginia has faced over time,” says Hancock. “They’ve weaved into the fabric of the community. It’s the people who are on the frontlines doing the work that make this one of the best places to work.”
Prince George’s Community College
Located in Maryland, Prince George’s Community College serves people from the county as well as Washington, D.C. “Our employees are one of our most valuable assets, and it is our responsibility to treat them with care,” said Dr. Falecia D. Williams, president of the college. “We often talk about improving organizational culture. This requires us to go beyond what employees can do for the organization to how we can build meaningful relationships and invest in our employees. Our talented team of faculty and staff are at the heart of fulfilling our mission to serve our students, and we are grateful for their partnership.”
Southern Crescent Technical College
A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, Southern Crescent Technical College offers not only associate degree programs, diplomas and technical certificates, but it also has free online professional development courses to facilitate career advancement. “It is such an honor to be included as one of Diverse: Issues In Higher Education’s 2021 Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges,” says Dr. Alvetta Peterman Thomas, president of Southern Crescent Technical College. “As a college, our faculty, staff and administrators work diligently to promote equity and inclusion and provide all students with equal access to an exceptional educational experience. Our college-wide commitment to student success remains a top priority as we strive to build strong students, strong careers and strong communities in all that we do.”
St. Philip’s College
Part of the Alamo Colleges District, St. Philip’s College is both a historically Black college and a Hispanic-serving institution. “Since its inception in 1898, St. Philip’s College has always valued and sought to create a campus climate that fosters diversity and inclusiveness,” says Acting President Randall Dawson. “Our historically significant commitment was grounded in our philosophy to educate and train the children and grandchildren of recently emancipated slaves. We have always responded to the needs of our community, which is rich in ethnic, cultural and socio-economic diversity. St. Philip’s College provides student advocacy services and promotes academic excellence with an ethos to encourage leadership skills. We serve diverse populations, including those challenged with issues and concerns faced by racially minoritized and marginalized students pursuing higher education.”
Wayne Community College
In 2020, Wayne Community College, located in North Carolina, was presented Employer of the Year by the Mayor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities of the City of Goldsboro. “This college’s human resources department and the associate vice president over it ensure that this is an attractive place to work with practices such as the myriad of professional development opportunities, support of supervisors that results in support for all employees, and the practice of putting people in positions that foster their success,” says Dr. Thomas A. Walker, Jr, president of Wayne Community College. “Attitude and atmosphere affect everyone, and a good place to work becomes a good place to learn.”
This article originally appeared in the May 27, 2021 edition of Diverse. Read it here to learn more about the study’s origin and methods.