By Peggy Chapman
Northwest Asian Weekly
The Seattle Colleges recently received the American Association of Community Colleges award for national equity.
The Seattle Colleges system has impressive numbers when it comes to representing diversity. The minority student population is 52 percent. This is in contrast to the combined total minority demographics for King County, Seattle, and Washington state, which is approximately 34 percent.
Seattle Colleges also has a diverse workforce of 36 percent.
Jill Wakefield, Chancellor of Seattle Colleges, commented that there needs to be faculty that represents the students, “that want to work here.” Currently, the demographics are 38 percent African American, 35 percent Asian American, 12 percent Hispanic. Approximately 60 percent of the students are first-generation college students. Seattle Colleges is also the number one provider of transferring community college students to the University of Washington.
Seattle Central is considered the most diverse of the Seattle Colleges system, but she said “We are not there yet. We can always do better.”
According to Wakefield, recruitment in diverse communities includes recruiters and advisory groups that go to community centers, high schools, and also placing ads in community newspapers.
Seattle Colleges highlights include initiating a BA degree, supporting the “Occupy Seattle” movement, the Vocational Institute, offering certificates in healthcare, and the changing of the name (from Seattle Community College).
Wakefield also addressed that there is an initiative to address the idea of teacher as lecturer when it comes to higher education, reinforcing the concept of professor as comrade.
“These are brilliant students, some not confident in their abilities. We want to help them achieve their goals.” (end)
Peggy Chapman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.