Highline among the most diverse
By Mitchell Roland - Staff Reporter
Highline was recently named the fifth most diverse four-year college in the country by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The four schools nationwide that are more diverse then Highline are The University of Hawaii at Hilo, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology at Okmulgee, The University of Hawaii at Maui College and the University of Hawaii at West Oahu. Highline has nearly twice the number of students that any of the four higher schools have.
Highline President Dr. John Mosby credits the diversity to the inclusive nature of the cam- pus. During his hiring process, Dr. Mosby said that the thing that drew him to Highline was the amount of diversity it has.
"Highline provides opportunities for anyone who walks through our door," he said.
Dr. Mosby said that High- line's level of diversity also speaks its reputation. Not only do people come from neighboring cities, they also come from places such as Seattle because of Highline's standing, he said.
"It really speaks to the community," Dr. Mosby said.
Dr. Mosby said that Highline does an "exceptional job at providing programs and activities that showcase the diversity of Highline."
He specifically cited The Black and Brown Male Summit, the YELL summit, the International Students program and LGBTQ week as events that highlight Highline's diversity.
With this diversity, Dr. Mosby said it is important to serve each group with care.
"We need to make sure we are serving all of our different communities," he said. He said that while sometimes that means serving them in different ways, they are all important to the college and all deserve care.
"Highline cares about all of the communities that comprise the college," Dr. Mosby said. While Interim Vice President of Student Services Dr. Saovra Ear has only been on campus for a little over a week, he said he has seen the level of care Highline takes.
"We have a lot of events that support students of color," Dr. Ear said.
Dr. Ear said that he has seen colleges where talking about diversity is more of a "lip service" and "there's not really intention around it."
"It's really easy to say we have diversity, and then do nothing about it," he said.
But at Highline, Dr. Ear said that inclusion and diversity start at the executive level. Dr. Mosby not only talks about inclusion, "he also models it," Dr. Ear said.
At Highline, Dr. Ear said that inclusion is at the core.
"A lot of the foundation is equity and inclusion," he said.
Dr. Ear said that while Highline does a good job of recruiting a diverse student body, it is important to keep student goals is mind.
Success is different for each student but is important to make sure students are "meeting their goals," Dr. Ear said.
But with a more diverse college, there are struggles. While Highline administration has long sought out a more diverse
staff and faculty, acquiring a staff that is as diverse as High- line's students is a difficult task.
Dr. Mosby said colleges often have to do a nationwide search for diverse hiring pools.
"To have a diverse applicant pool, we really have to look throughout the country," he said.
But hiring a diverse staff is not as easy as seeking one out, Dr. Mosby said. Schools often compete with each other to hire from diverse areas.
"Diverse pools are heavily recruited pools," Dr. Mosby said.
Dr. Mosby knows this reality as both a president and a student. Even though he grew up in a diverse area, he said that the first time he had an African American faculty member was an English class his freshman year in college.
"No one who looked like me had taught me before," he said.
He said that growing up he had other influential teachers but having a professor that looked like him made Dr. Mosby realize his goals were reachable.
"It makes you feel like it's now a little more obtainable," he said.
Dr. Mosby said that while there will always be more work to make Highline an open and welcoming campus, Highline is making progress.