KCC creates Office of Equity and Inclusion

An exterior view of the entrance to KCC's North Avenue campus looking over the reflecting pools.

Kellogg Community College today announced the creation of a new Office of Equity and Inclusion at the College as the institution expands its commitment to creating an inclusive environment that fosters respect, supports cultural understanding, demonstrates ethical behavior and champions social justice.

Jorge Zeballos
Jorge Zeballos

KCC also announced Jorge Zeballos will lead the new office as Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer. Zeballos previously was executive director of the KCC Center for Diversity and Innovation, which the College launched in 2014 and dissolved this year after grant funding expired in 2018.

“KCC is on an important journey and we’re proud to take a significant step in dedicating experts and financial resources to transforming the College into an equity-minded organization,” President Mark O’Connell said. “Creating an Office of Equity and Inclusion is a logical next step in building equity-specific goals in our new institutional strategic plan and operationalizing equity practices across all departments at the College.”

As CEIO, Zeballos will provide vision, leadership, management and strategic planning for inclusion and equity initiatives at KCC. He will develop a campus-wide strategy for excellence through diversity and inclusion of students, faculty and staff. He also will be expected to help create an organizational culture that sets clear expectations, provides appropriate support and prompts respect and dignity at all levels of the organization.

“We’ve come a long way already at KCC,” Zeballos said. “In the past several years, we have enhanced our embrace of equity, reflected upon our history, increased intellectual capacity within our employees and launched efforts to ensure that all who enter our campuses are welcome and supported.”

Over the past two years, KCC has:

  • Adopted an official equity statement
  • Created an Equity and Inclusion Committee, Accessibility Task Force and Women’s Network
  • Conducted a comprehensive equity climate survey of students and employees
  • Converted restrooms into gender-neutral and nursing mothers’ spaces
  • Translated materials into various languages
  • Hosted a series of trainings, workshops, discussions, performances, speakers and lunch-and-learn sessions with equity as a common goal

In May 2018, the KCC President’s Council participated in an intensive, multi-day retreat to focus attention on current needs and capacity related to the College’s equity pursuit. In August 2019, the President’s Council and other KCC leaders participated in a one-day planning session to begin drafting equity-specific action steps for the College’s long-term strategic plan. Initially, those action steps include more professional development, adding equity as a component into all KCC staff evaluations, operationalizing equity practices across campus, creating opportunities for more employees to be heard and establishing the Office of Equity and Inclusion to lead future efforts.

“For the benefit of current and future students, we intend to continue building our own capacity for equity and forging relationships with individuals and organizations to strengthen KCC’s ties in the communities we serve,” Zeballos said.

For more news about Kellogg Community College, view our latest press releases online at https://daily.kellogg.edu/category/news-releases.