Diversity at Colleges Welcomes Everyone
For Carroll, diversity at colleges means offering an accessible, welcoming atmosphere that generates a more vibrant student body. Fostering this dynamic is what Clyde Johnson, Jr. does as Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), filling this inaugural role in January 2021. He also serves on the county’s Carroll Citizens for Racial Equity committee (CCRE).
Johnson’s aim is to create a strategic vision about DEI initiatives. “I want to make an assessment on where it has been and where it is and make projections on where we need to go,” he said.
How Does Diversity at Colleges Improve?
Carroll has commissioned a third party to conduct an audit to assess the College’s diversity. This company is looking at Carroll’s history as well as the culture of its present campus to evaluate:
- Faculty/staff training
- Inclusivity of the student body
- Inclusivity of the staff
- Inclusivity of the faculty
Students, faculty and staff will receive separate, anonymous questionnaires about their experience at the College, with space for their own comments. The auditors will also meet with Carroll leadership and interview randomly selected students, faculty and staff one-on-one. The process began in June 2022 and should be completed by the end of November.
What Are the Goals of the Diversity Audit?
The auditors will recommend resources and compare Carroll to diversity at colleges in other communities and states.
Johnson will be much more directly involved in acting on the information gathered through the audit. This will include reducing barriers to access and improving acceptance of diversity in socioeconomics, background, race, religion, neurodiversity and more.
“We want to change the perception that diversity is only about race,” Johnson said. “We look through a lens of inclusiveness regarding individual identities. We look at intersections of people because that’s the nature of a community college: the community.”
He added that even if every student were of one race, diversity would still exist at Carroll Community College because of the wide array of differences among that cohort. The campus should feel welcoming to every person.
For us, diversity is one of those tenets that makes us [Carroll] great. We will celebrate our success and identify areas where we’re struggling.
When Will Carroll’s Diversity Improvement Conclude?
In a word: Never.
“It’s continually emerging,” Johnson said. From socioeconomic level to race to gender, diversity continues to evolve and progress.
“That’s one reason we need to continue working on diversity initiatives at Carroll Community College,” Johnson said.
DEI is also a factor in Carroll’s accreditation process and an important aspect of attracting students to the school. The College will continue to develop DEI in its employee training, particularly centering on bias.
How Does Diversity at Colleges Affect the Community?
“Carroll has been ranked the number one community college in Maryland,” Johnson said. “For us, diversity is one of those tenets that makes us great. We will celebrate our success and identify areas where we’re struggling.”
“People are somewhat afraid when they hear ‘DEI’ because there is so much bias in the world, but we are not approaching it from a traumatic, ugly position,” Johnson continued. “As we continue to make our Carroll community richer through education and training around DEI, we give people the tools to engage better, and then they will make the world a better place.”