Video podcast provides an overview of the program, its success in promoting understanding and inclusion throughout the community, and how it serves as a national model.
November 13, 2020, Jersey City, NJ – The most recent segment of the Hudson County Community College (HCCC) “Out of the Box” podcast spotlights the College’s President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (PACDEI). The podcast may be viewed at http://www.hccc.edu/outofthebox/PACDEI/.
In the new “Out of the Box” segment, HCCC President Dr. Chris Reber is joined by PACDEI Co-Chairs Yeurys Pujols, HCCC Executive Director of the North Hudson Campus, and Lilisa Williams, HCCC Director of Faculty and Staff Development. Their discussion details the inception of PACDEI, and its impact on the HCCC community, the greater Hudson County community, and other higher education institutions.
Located in one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the United States, Hudson County Community College students were born in 119 countries and speak 29 different languages. The College has been recognized with national awards for achieving equity in its educational programs and services – and in the administration and delivery of those programs and services – including the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) 2015 Award of Excellence for Advancing Diversity, and the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) 2016 Northeast Regional Equity Award. Additionally, the 2017 Equality of Opportunity Project ranked HCCC in the top five percent of 2,200 U.S. higher education institutions for supporting students’ upward economic and social mobility.
“When we ask students why they chose to study at Hudson County Community College, they almost always respond that it is because of our diversity,” Dr. Reber said. “That diversity, and the multitude of our community’s collective cultures, life experiences, skills, and aspirations are the very values and traits that empower us to be productive and caring members of our society. We are all proud of the differences we share, which are the foundation for the life-changing and transformational education we offer and the social mobility we provide to the communities we serve.”
The HCCC PACDEI was established in Fall 2019. At that time, there was no way to foretell the enormously important role it would play during the challenging days and months that followed. These include December 2019 targeted, anti-Semitic shootings in Jersey City that took the lives of six individuals; the rise of COVID-19; the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others; and the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The podcast details how PACDEI was created by Dr. Reber to develop new levels of understanding and access, to build upon the College’s strengths, and to move the College community to become more transparent and inclusive. The on-camera discussion also explains that the success of the initiative has been an outcome of the the support of the entire College community as well as area Latino, African American, LGBTQ and other groups and their leaders. That support is unique in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs, and as such distinguishes the HCCC PACDEI.
Dr. Reber, Mr. Pujols and Ms. Williams speak about how HCCC PACDEI continues to plan, organize and host workshops, diversity and inclusion training, and programs that address current events and issues of systemic racism, police brutality, social injustice, and building more understanding within the College and throughout Hudson County. HCCC PACDEI programming has been so effective that the trio were asked to present at a conference at New Jersey City University (NJCU), and PACDEI has been selected to serve as an Experiential Learning Site for the NJCU Community College Leadership Doctoral Program. In addition, the nationally acclaimed student success network, Achieving the Dream (ATD), has asked HCCC PACDEI to share its work with other ATD member colleges.
Additional information on HCCC PACDEI may be obtained by emailing PACDEI@hccc.edu.