The most recent issue of Impact magazine features just a few of the many stories highlighting ECC’s commitment to its shared values of Equity and Inclusion. We’re excited to introduce you to ECC’s deep bench of team members who work to ensure ECC students have the social and academic connections needed to succeed. Join us as we share more about our #OneTeamOneDream line-up of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion champions and how they are improving people’s lives through learning.
Liddy Hope, Ph.D., assistant professor of human services, has been asking herself and her school, “are we ready for them?” Meaning, is Elgin Community College ready to embrace and assist the diverse stream of learners that enter each semester seeking an education and their future career paths? Hope has made it a part of her mission to continue learning how to best do this while working with other ECC faculty and staff on sharpening efforts that are already creating positive change concerning equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout ECC. “Our mission at ECC is to improve lives through lifelong learning. If I’m only teaching people how to learn in the way I know how to learn, I’m not achieving the mission,” said Hope.
Hope is a co-chair of TIDE-Teaching/Learning for Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity. Her most recent TIDE Pod (smaller group discussions) includes three other faculty members working to intentionally bring inclusive materials into the classroom. “This is something I’ve always worked on, but every year I learn more,” said Hope. When challenges arise, TIDE is there as a way to open up the discussion to find the best solution. As we shifted to remote learning, Hope encountered accessibility from a whole new perspective by working to find a solution for a visually impaired student, a discussion she brought to TIDE for assistance in finding the answer.
In addition to leading TIDE, Hope, alongside Manny Salgado, Ph.D., professor of psychology, began the Faculty Equity Project this past year, through the college’s Student Success Initiative (SSI) where nine faculty members disaggregate data for their courses to see where equity and opportunity gaps are and to make sense of them. “It’s been really interesting because different people come to different ideas, and from there, we understand where and how we can improve. It’s really opening up the way these faculty members see their courses,” said Hope.
Inside her classroom, Hope is working to bring intersectionality into the forefront, giving her students the time to apply it to themselves to help increase their belonging and cohesion in class. Intersectionality is the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual. “If we start talking about this, I’ll understand what they are up against - all the complexities and contextual nature of their lives,” said Hope. “It really allowed them to see each other and allowed me to see more. They connected and could feel like they do belong here and do have something to bring to the table.”
Hope’s desire to increase awareness and change concerning equity, diversity, and inclusion at ECC includes being an active member for the Multicultural and Global Initiatives Committee (MAGIC) and, most recently, applying to become a cohort lead, where specific courses are looked at using assessment strategies to measure improving EDI. Hope is also a part of QUEST—the LGBTQIA+ employee support group. “It’s been nice to have other people that you know are willing to step forward as a LGBTQIA+ person. It’s also been really cool to have staff members there because we often segregate ourselves, so having these different perspectives on the college is really great.”
With her comprehensive commitment to increasing EDI efforts at ECC, Hope recognizes the need for space. “Across campus for equity work, we need space. And I mean that literal and figuratively. Figuratively we need the time and energy to be able to look at these things, think about these things, process these things, and plan to make moves. When our plates are too full, our work on culturally responsive practices suffers. So, we need space for that, but literally, we need space. A multicultural center someday would be awesome,” said Hope.