Recognizing Kishwaukee College's commitment to equity, the Illinois Community College
Trustees Association (ICCTA) has recognized Kish with the 2022 Equity and Diversity
Award. The honor recognizes the commitment of Kish’s Board of Trustees and leadership
to achieve diversity, equity and inclusion in the College's education programs.
ICCTA officials announced the award at the organization's annual banquet on June 10
in Chicago. At the banquet, Dr. Laurie Borowicz, President of Kishwaukee College,
accepted the award and recognized the effort the College has made over the past several
years to improve the achievement gaps for all Kish students.
“In 2019, we produced our first annual Data Book. It pointed out some of the challenges
we had as a College in student success. While our overall student college completion
rate was increasing by double digits, this was not the case for some of our student
populations,” Dr. Borowicz said. “It’s hard to argue with numbers — we had work to
In the same year, Kishwaukee College joined the Illinois Equity in Attainment Initiative
(ILEA), the signature initiative of the Partnership for College Completion (PCC).
This partnership between 25 other colleges and universities in Illinois allowed Kish
leadership to take a hard look at the institution’s achievement data. Matching trends
with the rest of the state, it was clear Kishwaukee College needed to provide more
assistance to its low-income students and students of color.
The first step was creating a strategy. Kish officials worked with the ILEA and sought
feedback from students and the community to design the Kishwaukee College Equity Plan,
including a new equity statement: “We are committed to a sustainable culture of equity,
focused on respect and fairness, in all aspects of the Kishwaukee College experience.”
Along with the College’s commitment to equity, the plan focused on six strategies,
including developing an Intercultural Center, cultural competency training for employees,
improved hiring practices, enhanced wrap-around services, creation of a Math Success
Program, and implementation of the Office of Instruction Retention Project.
ICCTA President Jon Looney praised Kishwaukee for its record of accomplishment in
its equity endeavors.
“Three years ago, Kishwaukee College made a bold commitment to inclusion, accessibility,
and success for all students,” Looney said at the award ceremony. "We applaud the
work of the Kishwaukee Board and staff to reflect the needs of an increasingly diverse
Early returns on Kish’s initiatives are positive. Students have received mentorship,
tutoring, textbooks, supplies, financial support, food support and more. Completion
and retention rates among underrepresented groups are improving.
“In the last three years, I am proud to say we have made considerable progress in
improving the outcomes of all of our students. We have not arrived but are on our
way,” Dr. Borowicz said.
Many activities and processes are now systemized into Kish’s operations, and planning
continues to expand under the leadership of a nine-member diversity, equity and inclusion
(DEI) core team.
“The Illinois community college system is truly one of the leaders in the area of
diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said ICCTA president Looney. “The work of Kishwaukee
College and other community colleges is so important at a time when public discourse
is too often filled with divisiveness and disunity.”
The Illinois Community College Trustees Association was founded in 1970 to support
all public community college trustees through information exchange, training, and
advocacy to assist them in effective leadership locally and statewide.
To learn more about equity at Kish and the College’s initiatives over the past several
years, visit www.kish.edu/equity.