Wayne Community College’s president has been appointed to lead a study of diversity and equity in the state’s community colleges.
Dr. Thomas A. Walker Jr. was tapped to serve as the co-leader of a new North Carolina Community Colleges System Advisory Council Initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The assignment was one of Peter Hans’ last acts as president of the system.
Walker said that he was honored to be chosen for the position. “I am excited for the opportunity to address these important issues and to work with my colleague, Dr. Donald Tomas of Southwestern Community College,” he said.
“Dr. Tomas and I have been directed to lead an examination of policies and practices of the 58 sister institutions, our state administration, and their boards, that result in institutional inequity,” for students and employees, Walker said.
In charging Walker and Tomas, Hans said, “We must ensure that colleges not only have diversity but celebrate it, that we tear down any existing systemic barriers, and that we create an environment where every member of our community is treated equally, with respect.”
The two will be regularly reporting on their progress to the State Board of Community Colleges’ Advisory Council and are to provide guidelines for colleges to use in examining their policies and their final recommendations for future steps by June 30, 2021.
“Community colleges in this state are a microcosm of their service areas and mirror the diversity of their communities. Each is very much its community’s college and strives to ensure access and success for all students while maintaining its ability to nimbly respond to local needs, changes, and challenges,” Walker said.
“Such an examination of policies and practices is essentially a check-up that should be conducted regularly to insure our institutions’ health. Current events have put a spotlight on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we must be certain that we, as the hometown purveyors and stewards of the American Dream, are sound in our intentions and actions.”