Equity at Kish
We are committed to a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, focused on respect and fairness, in all aspects of the College experience.
Kishwaukee College’s values of equity and support are indicative of our commitment to ensuring all learners know they are welcomed and valued members of the Kish community. We believe everyone deserves an affordable, quality education, and any barriers or completion gaps must be addressed. For the College’s efforts, Kish was recognized with the 2022 Equity and Diversity Award by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association.
In the spring of 2019, Kish joined the Illinois Equity in Attainment Initiative (ILEA), the signature initiative of the Partnership for College Completion (PCC). Kish committed along with 27 other colleges and universities to one goal — eliminating the achievement gap for students of color and low-income students.
As part of joining the ILEA, the College created an equity statement to reflect its goals and commitment to all students. In 2022, the statement was updated as part of Kish's new Strategic Plan. The statement reads:
Kishwaukee College is committed to a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, focused on respect and fairness, in all aspects of the College experience.
The Kish Data Book provides disaggregated data by year related to current enrollment, retention, persistence, graduation, dual credit enrollment and success, etc.
Equity in higher education ensures all learners have what they need to complete their program. For some, financial assistance is needed. For others, it’s fulfilling basic needs like food or transportation support. Whatever the barrier, Kish has a host of resources to help students facing obstacles to completion. These include:
- The Champions Fund — provides emergency financial assistance to students facing hardship.
- Kody’s Cupboard — helps fight food insecurity for students in need.
- Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA) — a grant-funded program that provides resources like career counseling, travel reimbursement and financial support to those who qualify.
- TRIO Student Support Services — a federally-funded program designed to increase college retention and graduation rates.
- TRIO Upward Bound — serves qualifying DeKalb High School students with academic college preparation.
Kishwaukee College serves all learners and continues the great work to reduce barriers and to close the gap. We continue to execute our Equity Plan and implement the best strategies to support all students who choose Kish. You can find more of our current data and plans in the following:
Summary of Equity Activities (6/15/2022)
- Joined the Partnership for College Completion Illinois Equity in Attainment Initiative with 27 other Illinois colleges and universities
- All college Inservice to introduce equity commitment and professional development on closing the equity gap at the college
- Development of a college equity statement: We are committed to a sustainable culture of equity, focused on respect and fairness, in all aspects of the Kishwaukee College experience.
- Equity Statement displayed prominently across campus
- Equity webpage created
- Created Kishwaukee College Equity Plan
- Accepted into the PCC/Aspen Institute Equity Academy for Presidents and Cabinets Members
- Hired Associate Dean, Office of Instruction with 50% time for diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership
- Perkins Grant activities focusing on closing equity gaps in Career Technical Education
- Applying for Department of Education Title III Grant with focus on closing equity gap through Quality Online Instruction; Guided Pathways; and Expansion of Financial Literacy, Embedded Tutors, and Course Success Coaching
- Data disaggregation by special populations in Office of Institutional Research
- Created space and furnished new Intercultural Center (opened in September 2021)
- Identified staff member to include Intercultural Center coordination in job responsibilities
- Delivered diversity awareness events: Hispanic Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month, Black History Month, Transgender Awareness Month, Women’s History Month, Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Pride Month
- Completed event which raised $230 for the Frances Loubere Ally Activity Endowment
- Hosted events that focus on diverse experiences, heritages, and accomplishments of different cultures, including cultural competency training
- Delivered Faculty Lead Open Dialogue: Racist, anti-Racist, White Privilege & Black Privilege: A Dialogue of Curious Humans
- Integrated equity content into the Probationary Faculty tenure seminar series
- Sent CTE and adult education staff and instructors to: Forum for Excellence Conference Anti-Racist Education; Designing for Equity and Access; ILEA Summit Equity Speaks
- Several faculty and staff are attending “Building Equitable STEM Transfer Pathways” with Dr. Xueli Wang of the University of Wisconsin-Madison on April 14, 2021
- Contracted for a keynote speaker during FA21 Inservice to provide presentation and workshop to faculty and instructional staff about inclusive pedagogy
- Implemented a cultural competency professional development track and joined the Illinois Community College Diversity Council.
- Hired an Associate Dean in the Office of Instruction to oversee cultural competency
- Developed a Dialogue Series open to students, faculty, staff and community members to discuss current events and topics.
- Provide a monthly Diversity Digest, Quarterly Update Reports and Annual Equity Reports with the College community.
- Priority on hiring for diversity integrated into employee search processes
- Spring Professional Development Day Breakout Sessions: Diversity and Inclusion, Implicit Bias and Micro-aggression Awareness, and Diversity Blind Spots
- Enhanced interview process to focus on diversity and cultural competency
- Increased the total of Black and Hispanic employees and student workers over a five year period.
- Hired a Student Success Advisor to manage the At-Risk Program and assigned case load to position
- Set-up supportive service funds (Champions and WIOA) to address COVID digital divide (Laptop Loan Program and Internet Access Grant)
- Established Restart Program to remove barrier to return to college because of past debt to college
- Advising created Retention 4.0 Outreach Plan
- Partnered with Tutoring Services to develop and deliver Academic Success workshop series
- Developed Mental Health Matters Newsletter for students.
- Expanded support services for low-income students to include: SNAP benefit changes, Kody’s Cupboard Food Pantry, and virtual financial aid workshops.
- Introduced the use of interactive text bots to assist students with frequently asked questions.
- Expanded textbook loan to service transfer students and calculator needs of mathematics and science students.
- Perkins Grant provided CTE students with childcare stipends, mileage assistance, and uniform assistance.
- Redesigned the College’s payment plan to eliminate fees
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, provided free textbooks, childcare and transportation to help alleviate financial stress.
- Provided direct cash payments through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Created the Math Success Center to expand tutoring, virtual study rooms and additional resources
- Hired a Math Placement Specialist and part-time lead mathematics embedded tutor
- Library and Tutoring Services created new workshop series: Communication Strategies for Classroom and Workplace Success, Study Tips: Strategies to Stay on Track, Don’t Stop: Sitting with Challenges, How to Get the Most Out of Tutoring, Attitudes Towards College Courses, and Treasure Hunting in the Digital Library
- Expanded online tutoring through Tutor.com to include mathematics application in sciences, nursing, and computer science courses
- Streamlined the developmental math curriculum so students can more easily transition into college coursework
- Delivering Staff-Student Mentoring Pilot Program
- Completed developmental education focus groups with students, with follow-up survey planned for SP21
- Added student support links to the master syllabus templates in courses
- Expanded embedded tutors into developmental education and gateway course in English and Mathematics
- Awarded Catalyst Grant ($12,000) to assist with mentoring pilot
- Office of Instruction developing plan to improve the success rates in MAT 150 College Algebra and ENG 104 Composition II
- 100% of mentoring program students from Fall 2021 registered for courses in the subsequent term, compared to 83.9% of the general College population
members of Kish’s PCC team
Dr. Laurie Borowicz, President
Dr. Joanne Kantner, Chief Academic Officer
Dr. Michelle Rothmeyer, Vice President of Student Services
Barbara Leach, Interim Vice President of Instruction
Pernevlon Ellis, Associate Dean
Matthew Crull, Director of Research and Data Management
Dariana Lee, Director of Student Success
Graciela Horta, Coordinator-Student Outreach
Dominica Blalock, Associate Professor
Joseph Przybyla, Assistant Professor