From Diversity to Inclusion: Challenges and Opportunities at an Urban Community College


  • Vanessa Marie Bing LaGuardia Community College, CUNY
  • Jason Hendrickson LaGuardia Community College, CUNY
  • Wendy Nicholson LaGuardia Community College, CUNY


Diversity, Inclusion, Race, Adult Learning, Community College


Diversity is and has been heralded as a cornerstone among high-impact practices within adult education in the United States. It embodies a larger ethos and culture within a campus, including the demography of the student body, staff, and faculty, as well as institutional memory. Yet, diversity is not enough. Inclusion is undervalued, which goes beyond taking solace in bringing together diverse bodies within the room; rather, inclusion requires an institutional response that ensures that these high-impact practices are fully realized. This paper examines the efforts undertaken at an urban community college where the student body reflects racial and cultural diversity in name and number, but where a broad group of faculty and staff confront and openly examine threats to equity and inclusion. It draws upon experiential insight and scholarship while providing recommendations that will allow stakeholders to consider the perpetuation of privilege at their institutions.

Author Biographies

Vanessa Marie Bing, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

Vanessa M. Bing, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology and Chairperson of the Social Science Department at LaGuardia Community College of the City University of New York. She is the founder and co-chair of the Faculty and Staff of Color Collective at LaGuardia, and is committed to supporting efforts to create a more inclusive college community. Dr. Bing has published academic articles addressing minority and gender issues in psychology, particularly trauma and gender violence, and has lectured and provided training on the topic of implicit bias and microaggressions in work and educational settings.

Jason Hendrickson, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

Jason T. Hendrickson, Ph.D., is assistant professor of English at LaGuardia Community College at the City University of New York. Dr. Hendrickson's research interests include educational equity and access, 19th century poetry, hip-hop studies, and gender studies. His scholarship combines literary analysis with contemporary issues of social justice. Committed to promoting equity and access to students, faculty, and staff alike, Dr. Hendrickson serves as co-chair of the Faculty and Staff of Color Collective and the annual Black Lives Matter Summit on campus.

Wendy Nicholson, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

Wendy M. Nicholson, MPA, is the CUNY LEADS Advisor at LaGuardia Community College, an adjunct professor at John Jay College, and an instructor at the Queensboro Correctional Facility. She is an advocate for, and is dedicated to improving the quality of life of, the members of underserved and underrepresented communities. Wendy is currently pursuing her doctorate in Public Administration at the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration. Her research interests include the role of race and racism at the nexus of educational, criminal justice, and governmental budgeting policies, diversity and inclusion, and Critical Race Theory.


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