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For immediate release — Nov. 11, 2008

(DALLAS) — For the second consecutive year, members of the Dallas County Community College District’s board of trustees have been honored for their collective efforts to promote and support diversity. The Association of Community College Trustees has named the DCCCD board of trustees as recipient of the 2008 Charles Kennedy Equity Award. Board members and Dr. Wright Lassiter Jr., DCCCD’s chancellor, accepted the award during ACCT’s annual Community College Leadership Conference in New York City last week.  

Earlier this fall, DCCCD’s trustees received the organization’s Western Region Equity Award and then competed with four other ACCT regional winners for the 2008 Charles Kennedy Equity Award.

“We are honored to receive ACCT’s top equity award, on behalf of the Dallas County Community College District,” said Jerry Prater, chair of DCCCD’s board of trustees. “This honor represents the spirit in which we are moving forward — inclusion and diversity — which is the most important goal. Our journey has been rewarding, but our efforts will continue so that we can strive for equity throughout the district.”

Prater added, “The district’s efforts in the areas of equity and diversity are integral to the goals and policies of the DCCCD board of trustees. Those goals and policies are the guidelines by which the district operates, conducts business, seeks to recruit students and works within the variety of diverse communities that comprise Dallas County.”

Dr. Wright Lassiter, DCCCD’s chancellor, nominated the trustees for the award. He said, “It was my pleasure to nominate our board of trustees for this award based on the governing board's commitment to equity and diversity by establishing goals for DCCCD.”

Lassiter added, “It pleases me that our college presidents and senior executives are equally committed to equity and diversity as reflected in a broad array of programs and services. To be the recipient of the Western Regional Award for two successive years is a rare honor and speaks to efforts on the part of the Dallas County Community College District’s board and colleges to place a high priority on this critical subject area.”

ACCT’s Equity Award is based on the following criteria:

  • enrollment, including growth in a diverse student population;
  • successful completion of students;
  • participation in better-paying, higher-mobility college majors through curriculum offerings, partnerships/transfer agreements and/or financial assistance;
  • campus environment that meets the needs of a diverse student population;
  • employment and promotion practices that include a commitment to the employment of a diverse staff and the provision of resources and the proper environment for all students to succeed;
  • involvement of the district in minority communities;
  • diversity of representation on the district’s board of trustees, committees and advisory groups; and
  • diversity among contracting and vendor participation in the district.
  • Among DCCCD’s significant achievements related to equity, based on policies approved by members of its board of trustees, that were cited include:

    • approval by trustees in 1999 of a measure to admit undocumented students who graduated from a Texas high school, without reimbursement to the district; this action prompted changes in state funding guidelines and enabled DCCCD to serve more than 6,000 undocumented students to date;
    • approval by trustees in 2004 to move forward with a bond program that includes building five new community education campuses throughout Dallas County in underserved areas, including three minority communities;
    • approval by trustees over several years of four highly diverse early college high schools, plus one charter high school for which the trustees serve as its school board;
    • strong support from trustees for the state’s Closing the Gaps initiative, making policy decisions that increase student participation and success and that place heavy emphasis on minority student success;
    • approval by trustees in April 2008 to adopt/incorporate the board’s equity goals into DCCCD’s policies, making their commitment to equity even more clear.

    For more information, contact Ann Hatch in the DCCCD Office of Public and Governmental Affairs at (214) 860-2478.

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    Press contact: Ann Hatch
    214-860-2478; ahatch@dcccd.edu
    (407)