HISTORY OF MJC INSTITUTIONAL PLANNING FOR DIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY  

On August 23, 2011, a group of 40 faculty, staff, students and administrators of Modesto Junior College met to develop and plan the framework for an institutional diversity plan that would engender a more inclusive campus and help the college better reflect the local community and its needs. While issues of diversity were not suddenly “new” at the college, the sentiment of the widely-represented group was that the public and institutional engagement of such issues had historically tended to “come and go.” In fact, most of its members had seen the powerful shift in consciousness that the award-winning “Beyond Tolerance” initiative had across the Yosemite Community College District at the turn of the millennium. However, like other important initiatives aimed at cultural inequalities or social justice—such as affirmative action policies—the “Beyond Tolerance” project had seemingly become more of a fond memory rather than a catalyzing agent of change.

The August strategic planning session was orchestrated through the efforts of Dean George Boodrookas and the MJC Diversity Task Force—a group appointed by President Gaither Loewenstein during the 2010-2011 academic year. Interim President Dr. Larry Calderon attended and spoke at the day-long event, encouraging and supporting frank talk about the “state of diversity” on the campus and possible positive interventions. The discussions were emotionally charged, and the collaboration was quite productive. The beginnings of a strategic plan emerged, which demanded the college:

  • improve human and operational resources by prioritizing district funding for diversity;
  • incorporate diversity across the curriculum;
  • improve institutional structure and planning for diversity by implementing a new college vision, mission and core values;
  • plan, implement and assess professional development activities related to diversity;
  • develop public relations strategies to integrate diversity initiatives into the campus and broader community; and,
  • resist defining diversity as  “thing” to be easily accounted for—rather, make diversity a continuous, open-ended project of questioning, engagement and social justice.

 

Shortly after the success of the Fall 2011 meeting, the Diversity Task Force was transformed into a permanent committee, becoming the College Committee for Diversity and Community (CCDC). The CCDC would serve as an Advisory Committee to the President. Dr. Calderon asked for the committee to have representation on the MJC College Council and stated the CCDC should also have representation on the YCCD District Council.  Under Interim President Dr. Mary Retterer, the committee continued to receive presidential support, and the committee began to solidify its representation through a growing membership of students, faculty, staff and administration.

In the Spring of 2012, the CCDC worked to collaboratively build a committee structure and meaningful charge, which is outlined below. The CCDC was designed to create momentum, garner “staying power,” and continually engage diversity issues on campus and in the community we serve.