HARRISBURG, Pa. – HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, is proud to announce the creation of a $1-million Diversity Innovation Fund dedicated to furthering inclusion and diversity at the College.
The HACC Board of Trustees recently committed to funding these efforts with $200,000 each year for the next five years.
“Thanks to the unanimous support of the Board of Trustees, this $1-million Diversity Innovation Fund will provide the resources necessary to enhance current projects and develop new and innovative projects, workshops and activities to strengthen HACC’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” said John J. “Ski” Sygielski, MBA, Ed.D., HACC president and CEO.
Tom Richey, chair of the HACC Board of Trustees, said, “The Trustees have been and remain united and committed to ensuring HACC is able to attract, develop and retain a diverse workforce supportive of our ever-changing student population. In addition, through many of the initiatives that will be funded, we demonstrate a renewed commitment to create and maintain an affirming, welcoming and inclusive culture for our employees and students.”
Armenta Early Hinton, Ph.D., HACC vice president of inclusion and diversity, said, “As thought leaders, HACC is putting our core values into operation. This is an important moment in our history and higher education.”
The Office of Inclusion and Diversity and a collegewide task force will provide leadership and assess success metrics and outcomes of the proposed initiatives. Members of the task force will be appointed by Sygielski.
Planned Initiatives to Further Inclusion and Diversity
The Diversity Innovation Fund will be used to support the following initiatives:
- Establish a director position for the Men of Color initiative. The person in this position will facilitate student success for men of color through a co-curricular model based on best practice.
- Establish a Diversity Faculty Fellowship. This fellowship will create opportunities for faculty to utilize their research and experience to create a more inclusive learning environment.
- Provide professional development opportunities that will empower HACC employees through learning opportunities.
- Establish a Diversity Innovation Grant to fund projects designed by employees and students.
- Develop a speaker series to host major and impactful speakers over the course of each academic year.
More information on how to submit proposals for support through the fund will be announced at a later date.
HACC Is a Leader in Promoting Inclusion and Diversity
Among the other initiatives spearheaded by Sygielski, who became HACC’s seventh president in July 2011, are:
- Created the Office of Inclusion and Diversity led by a chief diversity officer position in 2016. HACC was the first of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges to have a Cabinet-level chief diversity officer.
- Committed to ensuring that HACC’s leadership serves as a model of inclusive excellence. During Sygielski’s tenure, 11 people of color have served on the Cabinet.
- Led development and implementation of two collegewide strategic plans, which highlight inclusion and equity in recruitment and retention of students and employees.
- Oversaw access and completion initiatives for underserved and underrepresented students including:
- Harrisburg Promise, a partnership with the City of Harrisburg and the Harrisburg Housing Authority that creates a pathway to postsecondary education for at-risk youth in the Harrisburg and Steelton-Highspire school districts
- S.T.E.P. Academy program that has helped both underemployed and unemployed adults and high school students learn the soft skills needed to be successful in today’s job market
- McCaskey Path Bridge program, in partnership with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and School District of Lancaster, that provides students with disabilities who have also been predominantly students of color the opportunity to take college-level courses at HACC with free tuition and books while receiving extra support from HACC employees. In 2019, the program had a 100% college acceptance rate.
- Garnered regional and national accolades for advancing inclusion and diversity at the College, including:
- Named to Diverse: Issues in Higher Education’s Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges’ list four times
- Earned regional and national Charles Kennedy Equity Awards from the Association of Community College Trustees in 2019
- Participated in the #StopHateForProfit campaign by pausing all Facebook and Instagram advertising for July 2020.
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, is the first and largest of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges. HACC offers approximately 100 career and transfer associate degree, certificate and diploma programs to approximately 17,000 students. Also, the College serves students at its Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York campuses; through virtual learning; and via workforce development and continuing education training. For more information on how HACC is uniquely YOURS, visit hacc.edu. Also, follow us on Twitter (@HACC_info), follow us on Instagram (@HACC_edu), like us on Facebook (Facebook.com/HACC64) and use #HACCNews.