April 16, 2019 – AURORA, Colo. – The Community College of Aurora on Monday night received the American Association of Community Colleges Advancing Diversity Award — a national recognition of the college’s effort to create an equitable and inclusive environment for students, staff, and faculty. CCA was announced as the winner at the AACC’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla.
The award recognizes colleges that have contributed significantly and over a sustained period of time to advancing diversity in community college leadership, the community and within higher education as a whole.
“This national recognition by our peers is both humbling and encouraging. It affirms the hard work of this entire college community as we strive to become a more equitable institution, improve outcomes for all of our students and close the achievement gap for our students of color,” CCA President Betsy Oudenhoven said. “Both individually and collectively we are imperfect in this work — but we never stop trying. And that makes me proud.”
Colleges must meet several criteria to be eligible for the award, including sponsoring programs to promote diverse leaders and engage diverse student populations, modeling innovative and progressive practices to support institutional equity and maintaining and advocating policies that support diversity.
The AACC — the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges, representing nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions and more than 12 million students — cited several reasons for honoring CCA with the award, including:
Those efforts to advance diversity in the past five years have resulted in CCA increasing its faculty of color by 3.4 percent (to 16.9 percent), instructors by 6.9 percent (to 22.1 percent) and staff by 10.1 percent (to 49.2 percent). Additionally, more than 200 CCA employees have participated in the equity academies provided by the college, college employees who serve on search committees are required to attend implicit bias training sessions and positions dedicated to Inclusive Excellence have been created and staffed.
CCA applied for the award in November 2018 as part of its ongoing commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. The college has developed an Inclusive Excellence Council and a strategic plan that details numerous ongoing and future initiatives. CCA has focused on diversifying its workforce and embedding equity work throughout the college, with the goal of improving overall student success and closing the equity gap.
“We are extremely grateful for this esteemed award from AACC. We are even more grateful to the employees and students at CCA who have supported and contributed to the transformation of embedding equity, diversity and inclusion in all that we do at CCA,” said Quill Phillips, Special Assistant to the President for Inclusive Excellence at the college. “We continue to be committed to this work and are looking forward to the journey ahead as we continue to support students and strive to create an environment where they feel they belong, feel they matter and feel they are valued.”
About the Community College of Aurora (CCA)
The Community College of Aurora (CCA) provides high-quality instruction and student support services to Aurora and Denver, Colorado. The college offers courses on two campuses, online and through its high school concurrent-enrollment program, helping students prepare for employment or transfer to a four-year institution. For more information, visit www.ccaurora.edu.