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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI)

DEI at Rock Valley College

Since his appointment as President in September 2020, Dr. Howard J. Spearman has adopted Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) as one of the pillars of his administration. Rock Valley College (RVC) made great strides in establishing an infrastructure to enhance the campus DEI efforts.

In October 2020, the RVC Board of Trustees doubled down on their support of DEI when they formally adopted Board Policy 4:10.260:

"Rock Valley College is committed to creating and sustaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus where all learners can make progress towards their educational and career goals. Therefore, the College shall establish initiatives, measures, programs, procedures, and curriculum to advance equity and inclusion for students, staff, faculty, administration, vendors and contractors, and other community partners."

In service of these goals, Dr. Spearman has established an Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that includes a Cabinet level Vice President of Equity and Inclusion, two full-time DEI Specialists, and an ADA Compliance Coordinator.

Rock Valley College’s commitment to advancing its DEI vision, mission, and core values is reflected in the goals throughout the 2022-2024 RVC Strategic Plan. This Equity Plan highlights our efforts to ensure that students from every community within District 511 receive high quality and equitable instruction, support, and campus engagement. We are RVC STRONG when all our students are successful in their educational journey.

Policy Background

On January 20, 2021 Executive Order 13985 entitled Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.

By advancing equity, the Federal Government can support and empower all Americans, including the many communities in America that have been underserved, discriminated against, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.  We can also deliver resources and benefits equitably to the people of the United States and rebuild trust in Government.

In March 2021, Governor JB Pritzker signed the historic HB 2170: Developmental Education Reform Act (DERA).

Nearly half of all full-time freshmen in an Illinois community college are placed in at least one developmental education course. This is particularly acute for Black students, 7 out of 10 of whom are placed in developmental education upon enrolling at a community college.

As of June of 2022, HB 5464 requires state and public institutions of higher education to develop equity plans and practices to increase the access, retention, completion, and student loan repayment rates for minority students, rural students, adult students, women, and people with disabilities.

In December 2022, the U.S. Department of Education Launches New Initiative to Enhance STEM Education for All Students.

“Research shows how a sense of belonging in rich and rigorous classrooms is directly correlated to students’ long-term academic success. Moreover, the Department’s Civil Rights Data Collection continues to demonstrate that students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately excluded from learning opportunities in STEM. Today, we are saying unequivocally to all students and educators that they belong in STEM and that they deserve to have rigorous and relevant educational experiences that inspire and empower them to reach their full potential as productive, contributing members of our nation’s workforce." -U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten, 2022.

In May of 2023, the Office of Language Equity and Access Act (HB 3222) was created in the Governor’s office to ensure equitable and meaningful access to state information.

RVC DEI Policies

RVC Board Policy 3:10.010 Equal Employment Opportunity: Affirms RVC's commitment to provide equal opportunity in its admissions, employment, and educational programs.

RVC Board Policy 4:10.010 Non-Discrimination: Affirms RVC's prohibition of discrimination on the basis of race, color; religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, sex, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, order of protection status, sexual orientation, including but not limited to gender related identity discrimination, veteran status, or unfavorable military discharge, use of lawful products while not at work, genetic information, or other legally protected categories.

RVC Board Policy 3:10.020 Procedures Implementing the College’s Policy Prohibiting Sex-Based Misconduct: Lays out procedures for maintaining a safe and healthy educational and employment environment that is free from discrimination, harassment and misconduct on the basis of sex, which includes sexual orientation or gender-related identity at RVC.

RVC Board Policy 4:10.260 Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: Affirms RVC's commitment to DEI initiatives, measures, programs, procedures, and curriculum.