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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Southwest Virginia Community College recognizes and embraces the certainty that the Commonwealth and the Nation have benefited from a history linked to discrepant interactions. These relationships have impacted our economy, our culture, and our very identity. Recognizing that this history has not been one of parity, Southwest strives to embrace diversity for its own sake as well as in recognition of past deficits. Southwest recognizes that diversity strengthens us all when all are welcomed, embraced, and treated with equity and inclusion.

DEI Vision

Southwest Virginia Community College develops culturally competent lifelong learners, thinkers, and doers by widening perspectives.

DEI Mission

Southwest Virginia Community College, a comprehensive two-year institution, provides quality educational and cultural enrichment opportunities while continuing to build an inclusive culture that promotes all aspects of human differences and encourages, supports, and celebrates the diverse voices of our students, staff, and communities we serve.

Committee Goals

  1. Expand Representation – Expand representation and participation of under-represented populations in the student body.
  2. Diverse student engagement – Learning and interacting with people, both faculty, staff, and students, from a variety of backgrounds encourages collaboration and fosters innovation.
  3. Faculty/staff development – Students from all backgrounds and perspectives be well served and academic related needs are addressed by all college personnel.
  4. Fostering the growth of diverse faculty/staff – Foster continued growth as to the presence of diverse faculty and staff on campus and for online education.
  5. Review College policy – Review formal policies and informal college practices that may intentionally or unintentionally discriminate or place barriers for inclusion.

Definitions

Diversity: The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique and recognizing our individual differences.  These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, educational background, or other ideologies.  It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.

Equity is the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all students, faculty, and staff, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. Equity takes into consideration the fact that the social identifiers (race, gender, socio-economic status, etc.) do in fact affect equality. In an equitable environment, an individual or a group would be given what was needed to give fair and just treatment. Equity is an ideal and a goal, not a process. It requires an intentional commitment to strategic priorities, resources, respect and civility, and ongoing action and assessment of progress towards achieving specified goals.

Inclusion: The active and intentional operationalization of diversity and equity within every facet of life and activities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect. Organizationally, inclusion requires the identification and removal of barriers (e.g. physical, procedural, visible, invisible, intentional, unintentional) that inhibit members’ participation and contribution and the need for decision/policy making in a way that shares power. Inclusion also requires every member of the community to demonstrate these values and principles of fairness, justice, equity, and respect in learning, teaching, service and employment, by being open to different voices and perspectives, developing an understanding of different cultures, experiences and communities, and making a conscious effort to be welcoming, helpful and respectful to everyone.

Committee Members

Dr. Brian Wright

Dean, Humanities and Social Sciences

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Dr. Loretta Beavers

Professor & Program Head, Business Management

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Dionne Cook

Director of Admissions & Disability Services

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Jerry Stinson

Program Head, Administration of Justice

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Jason Vencill

Athletic Director

Stephanie Seymore

High School Career Coach

John Dezember

Director, Strategic Communications

Travis Roberts

Director, Marketing & Community Engagement

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Melissa Stiltner

Director, Distance Learning

Tracey Wright

Community Member

Dr. Robert Brandon

Vice President of Academic & Student Services

Susan Lowe

Vice President of Institutional Advancement

Roberta Johnson

Human Resources Analyst

Kim Steiner

Associate Vice President of Human Resources

Dyan Lester

Dean of Student Success

Dr. Tommy Wright

President

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All Locations: 2-Hour Delay on Monday, January 22, 2024.