Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Westchester Community College has an outstanding record of fostering an atmosphere of cultural diversity inclusion. In fact, the mission of the college focuses on providing accessible, high quality and affordable education to meet the needs of our diverse community.
In 2009, the college was honored with a Northeast Regional Equity Award from the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) making the college eligible for the prestigious Charles Kennedy Equity Award. The purpose of this website is to provide an overview of the many initiatives at the college that have been implemented to meet the needs of our diverse service area.
We understand that diversity enriches lives and the educational experience. Therefore, we strive to create a supportive environment where there is respect for all people and their individual characteristics or perspectives, such as ethnicity or race, socioeconomic status, religious perspective, political conviction, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and varying abilities.
We stand behind a commitment to diversity. In accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and other Federal and New York State guidelines and regulations, Westchester Community College adheres to the policy that no person on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, or handicap is excluded from, or is subject to discrimination in, any program or activity. Westchester Community College is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and does not discriminate against any person because of race, color, religion, gender, age, marital status, national origin, handicap, or sexual orientation except as such may constitute bona fide occupational or assignment qualifications. Westchester Community College is fully accredited and a member of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Its college curricula are registered and approved by the New York State Education Department, and the college is affiliated with the State University of New York (SUNY). Westchester Community College is sponsored locally by the County of Westchester
Affirmative Action Advisory Committee (AACC)
The purpose of the Affirmative Action Advisory Committee (AACC) is to promote equal opportunity, ensure the college is aware of federal and state legislation and to see that the college’s mission to seek and provide diversity throughout its levels of workforce is realized. A Board of Trustees member serves as an active participant and the committee chair reports directly to the college president. The committee publishes and distributes the Affirmative Action Policy and Guidebook for the college to help communicate policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment, discrimination and search committees. The committee also focuses on monitoring outcomes rather than intent and annually reviews benchmarks related to workforce analysis and student enrollment. The chair, who also serves as the college’s Equity Officer, meets with each search and screen committee to present and review college policies and to provide screening and interview guidelines to ensure applicant pools remain diverse. Mandatory harassment training is provided to highlight what is and what is not acceptable at the college’s work environment.
In addition to our spacious 218-acre campus in Valhalla, the college offers courses in the community where you live. Our Mount Vernon, Yonkers, and Ossining extensions bring the classes directly to your community. We have other sites, too. For instance, you can take courses in the arts in White Plains and Peekskill. See our full list of locations.
The college’s dedication to supporting a diverse, multicultural environment is fostered by the administration and supported by various committees:
Each time the college forms a Search Committee for a new employee, a member of the Affirmative Action Committee sits on this committee, to ensure that there is a commitment to review qualified applicants with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
The college has a variety of active committees who work on extensive, annual month long celebrations of Hispanic culture, African-American culture, and Asian culture.
During the accreditation process, the college formed various committees which proposed policies to increase the applicant pool in order to encourage minority members to join the staff.
Students are invited to join any of more than 70 student clubs, many which are devoted to the exploration of various cultures and ethnicities.
In addition to the many events hosted by the college’s committees which present offerings during annual celebrations of African-American, Hispanic, and Asian culture, the college offers a full range of multicultural events through its Smart Arts Series. Visitors and performers have included Edwidge Danticat (fiction writer from Haiti), Nobel Prize winners Seamus Heaney (Irish poet) and Derek Walcott (West Indies poet), Chinese acrobatic troupes, Spanish guitarists, and Viennese musicians. The college also presents an international film series.
International & ESL Students
The college has the most resources in Westchester for both international students and those striving to improve their English skills. Our International Student Advisor will help you make the transition to college courses while the county’s largest English as a Second Language Program offers affordable classes all year long. Nine levels of English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction are offered at the college through its English Language Institute (ELI). Each level provides balanced instruction and active practice in all English language skills: listening, speaking, standard grammar, reading, and writing. New students take an examination to determine the level at which they begin study. An English-only environment for all activities promotes maximum learning. The courses serve the needs of the general learner and learners preparing for college study. Instructors are professionals in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). ELI serves thousands of students from more than a hundred different countries. They speak 49 different languages. ESL courses are offered year round at the main campus and at our extension centers around the county.
Conversation Partners Program
This program is supported by a dedicated group of 90 volunteers who contribute their time and skills to work individually with the college’s English Language Institute (ELI) students, making them feel welcome and providing them the opportunity to practice the language skills they need to succeed. The Partners meet once a week with their individual students and the students practice speaking English in a relaxed atmosphere at no additional cost to the students. Students in the program range from 18 to older adults and come from all over the world from places as far away as Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Over 1,000 students have participated to date, which has helped them adapt to a new environment and language while accomplishing their academic goals.
Something to Talk About
This program provides students of the English Language Institute the opportunity to practice their English in a small group setting to make them more comfortable speaking in a classroom or group environment. The sessions meet weekly and are run by volunteers who act as facilitators on topics such as the recent presidential election, health care and cultural items. All participants have a chance to speak in a non-judgmental environment that encourages participation and language development.
Although it is true that many of our full-time students are right out of high school or just a little older, the student body diversity extends across various age groups. Many credit classes include a variety – those in their early twenties, middle-aged students coming back to school, and mature adults who love learning and are auditing courses. Some exemplary high school students also take classes here, while a full range of non-credit classes for older adults is offered through our Mainstream Program and our Collegium Program.