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News Release

December 1, 2022

COC Receives DEIA Champion Award

College of the Canyons received the 2022 Institutional Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Champion Award from the Association of Human Resource Officers/Equal Employment Officers (ACHRO/EEO).

The award is given to an educational institution within the California community college system that has demonstrated efforts towards an organizational culture that maximizes every opportunity to be intentional and innovative in creating and advancing DEIA within the community.

Dr. Diane Fiero (Deputy Chancellor and Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer), Flavio Medina-Martin (Director, Diversity and Inclusion), Dr. Rian Medlin (Interim Asst. Superintendent/Vice President, Human Resources), Dr. Lauren Elan Helsper (Director, EEO, Leaves, and Workplace Safety Programs), and Miranda Zamudio (Senior HR Generalist / Academic Personnel) received the award Oct. 27 on the college’s behalf at ACHRO’s Fall Institute event.

“We are honored that ACHRO/EEO recognized our District’s collective efforts to expand the principles of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism and Accessibility (IDEAA) on our campuses,” said Fiero. “I want to thank our innovative Chancellor, our supportive Board of Trustees and the more than 200 dedicated employees and students who are passionate about IDEAA and help us move forward every day. Our goal is to make sure all of our students and employees feel seen, heard, and safe on our campuses. Everyone is welcome here.”

Nominated institutions must have effectively demonstrated achievement in DEIA areas that led to meaningful change related to institutional and employee-centered DEIA enhancements, professional development, community service, selection, and recruitment practices. In addition, nominees must have also made strides toward developing opportunities for students, employees, and community members who are historically underserved.

In November 2020, the college opened the virtual Multicultural Center (MCC) as part of its ongoing commitment to promoting on-campus diversity. The interim MCC was opened in April 2022 and the permanent MCC will open in February 2023.

The center’s purpose is to provide safe spaces for historically minoritized and marginalized groups on campus with the goal of increased diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the District.

In addition, the college established a deputy chancellor and chief DEI officer position at the executive level in April 2021.

The college has the following 9 different groups working on IDEAA initiatives throughout the District:

  • Institutional Effectiveness and Institutional Excellence (IE)2 (focuses on student equity and achievement)
  • Center for Teaching and Learning (CETL) (trains faculty on culturally relevant pedagogy)
  • Equity Minded Practitioners (focuses on equity in the classroom from an instructional perspective)
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee (focuses on the District EEO Plan,
  • the Call to Action Coalition, a cross-functional group that ensures progress on the State Chancellor’s Call to Action Goals)
  • Cultural Diversity Advancement Team (coordinates district-wide events among several campus groups)
  • Multicultural Center Committee (oversees planning for the Multicultural Center including training and event offerings)
  • Dreamers Taskforce (focuses on needs of undocumented students)
  • Anti-Racism Speaker Series Group (plans for diverse speaker events and book series)

IDEAA components have also been included in the college’s Faculty, Classified and Administrative Development Committees, Leadership Education in Action Program (LEAP), and College Planning Team.

The college has also created nine student alliances, which are affinity groups where students can learn to navigate college, connect with faculty and staff mentors, and meet with resource specialists. Currently, the college alliances include Adult Reentry Alliance (ARA), African American/Black Student Alliance (BSA), Autism Social Alliance, Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA), LatinX Alliance, Native American & Indigenous Alliance (NAIA), STEM Equity Alliance (SEA), Trans Alliance, and the Veteran’s Alliance Organization (VALOR).

Recently, COC was ranked nationally No. 17 and 35 in The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine for enrolling the largest number of Hispanic students and granting the most degrees, respectively, in the year 2020-21.

Many Hispanic students at COC have benefited from the college’s innovative programs, such as the Canyons Promise program, which gives incoming students the tools and resources they need to transition smoothly into college life. 

Of the 5,560 students the program has admitted since its launch in 2017, 53 percent of students self-identified as Hispanic. 

The Association of Chief Human Resource Officers/Equal Employment Officers (ACHRO/EEO) is a non-profit professional organization comprised of chief human resource officers, equal employment officers, and associated staff in the California Community College system.

As an organization, ACHRO works to generate and support legislation that is appropriate to the functions of human resource and equal employment opportunity practitioners. It also provides training and support to HR and EEO professionals through institutes and academies.

For more information about ACHRO, please click here.