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Mt. Hood Community College recognized for its commitment to supporting its diverse community

COURTESY PHOTO: THE ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE TRUSTEES - The Association of Community College Trustees awarded Mt. Hood Community College with the 2021 Pacific Region Equity Award on Friday, July 30. The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) has awarded Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) the 2021 Charles Kennedy Equity Award. This award is granted to one community college in the U.S. with an outstanding equity program and recognizes exemplary commitments by the governing board and college CEO to achieving educational equity.

"We all agree that this work is imperative," said Annette Mattson, MHCC Board Chair. "We want to make sure our board's commitment to equity is reflected in all our processes at MHCC and evident in the resources and services the college provides."

Earlier this year, ACCT honored the MHCC with the 2021 Pacific Region Equity award. The college was one of five colleges to receive a regional award. The national recognition was chosen out of these regional winners.

"Community colleges are uniquely committed to open-access, high-quality higher education for all Americans, as well as a vital pipeline to the jobs that support communities and keep our country going strong," said 2020-21 ACCT Chair and Mohawk Valley Community College Trustee David Mathis. "This year's regional awardees represent the most outstanding people and programs across this great nation."

MHCC was selected for the Charles Kennedy Equity Award based on their recent work in:

•Creating a Student Basic Needs Resource Team.

•Establishing a Multicultural Diversity Resource Center.

•Adding African-American Cultural Courses.

•Creating an Equity Lens tool.

•Beginning work on a strategic equity plan.

•Increased recruiting of employees from underrepresented or underserved populations across all employee groups and the Board of Education. The most significant gains were seen in MHCC's Board and management staff, where Board diversity quadrupled, and management diversity nearly doubled.

•Implementing a yearlong Equity Minded Leadership series with the Board of Education, President's Cabinet, and MHCC Equity Leadership Team.

•Facilitating Foundations of Critical Race Theory sessions broadly with employees.

•Increasing use of Open Educational Resources (OERs). It is estimated these OERs have saved students $3,118,975 in textbook costs.

•Partnering with community organizations to increase services and resources.

"This award shines a light on the complex needs many residents in our district face every day," said Lisa Skari, MHCC president. "We are honored to receive this equity award, but this is just the beginning of our efforts to help students and potential students overcome barriers and reach their goals."

The equity award honors the late Charles Kennedy, a trustee of Joliet Junior College in Illinois, who was a founder of the ACCT Minority Affairs Assembly, which became the ACCT Diversity Committee.

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