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Nicolet College honored with national Promising Places to Work diversity award

May 22, 2020

Citing its commitment to diversity and inclusive learning and work environments, Nicolet College has been selected as a 2020 Promising Places to Work award winner by two national organizations that support diversity efforts by community colleges across the country.

The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) partnered with Diverse: Issues in Higher Education to recognize Nicolet for its “best-in-class student and staff recruitment and retention practices, inclusive learning and working environments, and meaningful community service and engagement opportunities.” 

Nicolet was the only college in Wisconsin and one of 16 across the country to receive a 2020 Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges award.

“We are proud to honor Nicolet College for its sustained commitment to diversity,” said Edward J. Leach, NISOD’s executive director. “We are also pleased about the large number of applications this year. It shows that a growing number of colleges appreciate how critical diversity and inclusion initiatives are to their campuses and communities.”

About 12% of Nicolet students are racial and ethnic minorities. This is compared to about 5% for the general population of the Nicolet College District.

The college also serves a population of students with disabilities, with about 11.6% reporting a disability compared to about 7.5% of the general population.

The college also welcomes students of the LGBTQ community, supporting the formation of the Rainbow Hodags student group, which partnered with the Northwoods Pride community group to hold the Rainbow Pride Festival on the Nicolet Campus in 2019. Plans are currently in the works for another festival in 2020.

Nicolet also operates the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which provides a variety of education, workforce development, and cultural services for students and minority populations, including the three tribal communities within the Nicolet College District.

Recently, the college applied for and received a $350,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation to build clearer pathways to degrees and other credentials for adults, especially for people of color and Native American learners. Nicolet received one of nine grants awarded nationwide from a pool of 78 applicants.

For the grant, Nicolet partnered with the Wisconsin Indian Education Association to create the The Many Ways of Knowing: American Indian Culture Competencies for Community College Career Pathways project proposal.

“The project designs curriculum that reflects American Indian cultural competencies across liberal arts and general education courses,” Nicolet tribal outreach coordinator Susie Crazy Thunder said. “It will also create a methodology for recognizing indigenous community learning and knowledge toward increasing the number of tribal members qualified to teach American Indian Studies curriculum.”

In addition to diversity of students, Nicolet strives to ensure diversity in employment and its Board of Trustees. The College maintains a five-year Affirmative Action Plan that establishes goals and strategies for attracting and employing people with diverse backgrounds.

The college also supports the professional development of all staff and faculty to better serve diverse populations. In 2018, for instance, the Fall All-Staff Conference focused on Equity and Inclusion, with a campus-wide exercise to look at equity and inclusion themes through the eyes of our students and other visitors to campus. All Nicolet faculty are also required to complete an Embracing Diversity course in order to meet the qualifications for teaching at Nicolet.

NISOD is a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership at community and technical colleges. NISOD provides budget-friendly, high-quality, and faculty-focused programs and resources for community and technical colleges that want to make the most of their professional development dollars. For over 40 years, NISOD has aligned a wide array of benefits with the needs of their members, which explains why the American Association of Community Colleges named NISOD, “The country’s leading provider of professional development for community college faculty, staff, and administrators.” Visit nisod.org for more information about NISOD.

Since 1984, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education has been the nation’s premier publication covering the issues pertaining to underrepresented minorities in American higher education. Reaching more than 200,000 readers biweekly, Diverse has been recognized for its in-depth news coverage, provocative commentary, insightful special reports, and original research.

For more information about the college, visit nicoletcollege.edu or call 715-365-4493, 1-800-544-3039, ext. 4493; TTY 1-800-947-3529 or 711 relay. 

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