New Diversity Officer Committed to Diversity, Success, and WCC Overall

Chief Diversity Officer settles into WCC. (Photo: Javier Williams)

For a school as committed to diversity as WCC, it only makes sense for the school to hire someone as committed to the cause for the role of Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). Newly hired Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Tiffany Hamilton, is proving to be a perfect fit.

“I feel good about the college community,” said Hamilton who has been a part of the campus since Oct. 28. “From the faculty, to the staff and the students that I’ve met with, they all have an energy about themselves that speaks positively to their experiences here at WCC.”

The role of CDO is a fairly new position, not just for WCC, but all SUNY schools. The mandated position is meant to ensure diversity on all levels of each state campus to better reflect the state as a whole, and to hopefully improve and enhance college experience.

“Diversity and inclusiveness are integral components of the highest quality academic programs and the strongest campus climate,” reads the SUNY Resolution on the issue of appointing CDO’s. “Diversity is essential to excellence in the university setting.”

“It’s almost like a dream,” said Hamilton about her role in WCC. No one ever knows what they are going to walk into when applying for a new job in a new state, but WCC’s new CDO is very pleased with the environment she’ll get to work with.

To better understand WCC, Hamilton has designated the first 90 days of her appointment to listen and to observe how the college operates currently. This process shows a long term commitment and a desire to build connections throughout WCC.

Hamilton’s favorite thing about WCC so far is the people who reside on campus. While touring campus on a lunch break, Hamilton took notice to the diverse population of WCC, not just of ethnic backgrounds but of student interests and values.

“I was just really energized and excited by the variety of conversations,” Hamilton said, noting that the ranges of student engagement ranged from politics to pop culture. Just seeing students wanting to connect outside of the classroom is a warming experience.

“It’s the hope that one of the accomplishments I can make in this role is to continue to tell the story of who we are at WCC,” Hamilton said. “I want people to think when they are looking at their post secondary option or looking at an organization to connect with to make them better, that everyone thinks of WCC specifically because of our commitment to everyone being welcome here.”

Hamilton recognizes that as beautiful at this idea is, it is going to take a lot of work.

“Inclusion doesn’t mean you have to isolate, or press one for another to advance.” Hamilton said. “It means how do we awaken all of ourselves to the awareness that ‘there is someone different than me that exists, and that’s okay.’”

Hamilton believes that such breakthroughs are successful with the use compassion and grace to understand different walks of life. This kind of understanding may only be found through relationship building. More importantly, impacts like this can only be possible with sustainability, integrating these values to last not for a single semester but to span throughout the rest of an institutions standing.

With the recent rise of white supremacy, both on campus and around the nation, becoming even more inclusive to different walks of life may be the exact touch WCC needs.

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