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GRCC among the nation’s most diverse and inclusive community colleges to work at

COOK HALL- Students in Beverly Shannon's EN 101 class at Grand Rapids Community College GRCC (Photo courtesy Steve Jessmore).

The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) and the publication Diverse: Issues in Higher Education has awarded Grand Rapids Community College a “2020 Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges,” alongside 15 other schools across the nation. 

This annual award recognizes excellence in staff and student retention, impactful community engagement and diverse and inclusive learning. 

“We are proud to honor these colleges for their sustained commitment to diversity,” Edward J. Leach, NISOD’s Executive Director, stated in a release. 

In 2018, GRCC President Bill Pink reformulated an existing position to create the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. As the inaugural Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, B. Afeni McNeely Cobham was tasked with “developing a strategy championing equity and inclusion as an essential means to foster student success, employee wellbeing, and community vibrancy and growth.”

“The ‘all-hands-on-deck’ philosophy is paramount to advancing diversity and social justice,” Cobham stated. “I am thrilled to be a part of an institution that cultivates cross-department partnerships to meet equity goals.”

GRCC, along with the other awardees, will be featured in an edition of Diverse set to be published on May 16. 

“Achieving equity is a strategic goal at GRCC and an important focus of all aspects of our work,” Pink stated of the achievements of the ODEI. “Addressing disparities in education and the workforce is essential for us to serve our students and our community as a whole. We are still a work in progress, and have much more to do, but we are honored by this recognition.”