Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Recent Senate Bills
During the 2021 Legislative Session, two senate bills were passed into law which establish a system-wide approach to ensuring equitable educational access and success for all residents, particularly for students from communities of color, students with disabilities, and low-income communities.
These two legislative bills come with financial resources to allow GHC to make additional investments into our already existing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) work and expand on the College’s efforts and commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. Additionally, both bills require colleges to conduct ongoing EDI and anti-racist training for faculty, staff, and students. These bills align with the Washington State Board for Community and Technical College’s (SBCTC’s) mission of “challenge, empower and embolden ourselves and our colleges to deliver equitable higher education through antiracist policies that ensure economic vitality across Washington” and GHC’s College Priority #3: “foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment.”
Overview of Diversity, Equity & Access in Higher Education Bills
- SB 5277 requires EDI and antiracism training and assessments at Washington institutions of higher education. Major components of the bill include: 1) a campus climate assessment every five years to understand the current state of EDI on campus for faculty, staff and students, 2) annual EDI listening and feedback sessions for the entire campus community in the years between climate assessments, and 3) provide EDI/anti-racism training to faculty, staff and students. GHC will receive $27,000 every year to support professional development and training related to this bill.
- SB 5194 provides for equity and access in Washington’s community and technical colleges. Major components of the bill include: 1) each college creates a EDI strategic plan using an inclusive process that includes staff, faculty, students, administrators and other stakeholders, 2) SBCTC will develop a model faculty diversity program designed to provide for the retention and recruitment of faculty for all racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds (SBCTC to provide more info in winter), 3) each college establishes a culturally appropriate student outreach program, 4) colleges include opportunities for students from minoritized communities to form student-based organizations to mentor and assist each other in navigating the educational system and, 5) colleges include EDI definitions in their strategic plans, reports, and public websites. GHC will receive $70,000 annually to support developing an outreach program and an additional $62,500 every year for training.
GHC EDI Plan
In partial fulfillment of SB 5194, GHC has spent the last five months assembling all of the college’s current EDI efforts into one comprehensive planning document. This plan will be submitted to the State Board in June and will help to guide the college’s work, including the College Priorities, Guided Pathways efforts, and other projects over the next four years. Before the plan is submitted, and with a spirit of continuous improvement, the Diversity Advisory Committee would like your feedback/input on the GHC Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan.
Connection of EDI Plan to GHC Long-Term Planning
GHC has chosen to align its Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan with the current college long-term planning cycle, which began in 2019 and ends in 2026. Each of GHC’s five college priorities has a work group which identified objectives and indicators (metrics) that are used for the length of the college planning cycle to measure institutional effectiveness over time. Annually, each priority work group identifies specific action items that inform short-term work for the current academic year and lay plans for the work of the upcoming year.
While College Priority #3’s goal is to “foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment,” it is not the only college priority to address issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Even prior to the passage of SB 5227 and SB 5194, many of GHC’s college priorities addressed issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion in their objectives, indicators, and action plans.
Objectives, indicators, and action items from across the current college plan were incorporated into GHC’s EDI plan to ensure that GHC’s EDI efforts and long-term planning were one and the same.