Equity at Kish

We are committed to a sustainable culture of equity, focused on respect and fairness, in all aspects of the Kishwaukee College experience.


The College’s values of inclusion and accessibility 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.

In the spring of 2019, we joined the Illinois Equity in Attainment Initiative (ILEA), the signature initiative of the Partnership for College Completion (PCC). We have 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 our involvement with the ILEA, we created an equity statement to reflect our goal and commitment to all our students. It reads:

We are committed to a sustainable culture of equity, focused on respect and fairness, in all aspects of the Kishwaukee College experience.

When we joined the PCC, we began breaking down the data and realized we had some work to do.

Current State of Illinois data shows only 13.4% of African-American students completed their program. Of Latinx students, only 21.7% completed. Both are far below the completion rate for white students, which was 42.3% for the entire state. Furthermore, 36.6% of students not receiving Pell grants completed, but only 24.8% of Pell grant recipients completed.

Kish’s data shows a similar story.

Student outcomes graph


Additional data told us more. Even though the overall graduation rate increased from Fall 2011 to Fall 2015, the disparity between African-American and Latinx students with their white peers existed.

Grade rate chart






The 2019-2020 academic year saw the implementation of new strategies to move us toward the goal of closing achievement gaps. Ultimately, we hope to eliminate the gap entirely.

Equity in higher education is about ensuring 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, the College has a host of resources to help students facing barriers to completion. These include:

  • The Champions Fund, which provides emergency financial assistance to students facing hardship.
  • Kody’s Cupboard helps fight food insecurity for students in need. 
  • Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA) is a grant-funded program that specializes in getting resources such as career counseling, travel reimbursement and financial support to those who qualify.
  • TRIO Student Support Services is a federally-funded program designed to increase college retention and graduation rates of participating students.
  • 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. You can find more of our current data in the 2021 Annual Data Book.

We continue to execute our Equity Plan and implement the best strategies to support all students who choose Kish.

Summary of Equity Activities (4/13/2021)

members of Kish’s PCC team

Laurie Borowicz, President
Joanne Kantner, Vice President & Chief Academic Officer
Michelle Rothmeyer, Vice President of Student Services
Pernevlon Ellis, Associate Dean
Matthew Crull, Director of Research and Data Management
Dariana Lee, Director of Student Success
Graciela Horta, Student Outreach & Intercultural Center Coordinator
Dominica Blalock, Assistant Professor
Joseph Przybyla, Assistant Professor

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