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TBCC Connections: Our Continuing Focus on Students and Equity -Tillamook Bay Community College

TBCC Connections: Our Continuing Focus on Students and Equity

By President Ross Tomlin

Ross Tomlin Photo

Our communities in Tillamook County have experienced tremendous challenges over the past six months, with the recent wildfires just one more thing we have dealt with recently. Since this challenge has impacted many of our students and even some of our staff, TBCC decided to push back our Fall Term start from September 21 to September 28 to give students time to get registered and ready to start classes. We do plan to have almost half of our classes this term face to face on campus, including our career-technical and science labs. We have been reopened since June 22 with some face to face classes this summer, and following a strict set of COVID guidelines, things have gone well keeping everyone safe in our building.

We also have new programs starting this fall, including a Healthcare Administration associate degree program and a Basic Healthcare Certificate, which can be earned while still in high school. Also starting new this fall will be an Agricultural Technology associate degree program, which combines animal handling skills with manufacturing and welding skills. There are great job opportunities for graduates of this new program.

TBCC is also continuing our important work on Equity and Inclusion. As we enter the fall and prepare for an unusual school year, we are shocked but not surprised by the continuing violence against people of color in this country. We at TBCC remain committed to actively dismantling the systemic racism that pervades our society.

It is often difficult to see the ways that our systems reinforce bias and create barriers for people of color. In the spring of 2020, we engaged in training around using an Equity Lens to intentionally examine our policies and practices that may have the appearance of fairness, but may have the effect of marginalizing some and creating disparities. This fall we are beginning the process of applying an Equity Lens to our decisions around policy, programs, and student interventions. This involves pausing and considering these decisions from other points of view and asking ourselves who benefits and who may be negatively impacted by our decisions. We are new to this process, but we know that as we practice, we will become better able to identify and address barriers for people of color.

As an educational institution, we are focusing our efforts on creating and sponsoring opportunities for the community to come together and learn from each other. To this end, we are offering a community education course that begins Sept. 25 titled, ‘Diversity Equity and Inclusion’ in the workplace. To register visit our website. We sponsored showings at the Tillamook Coliseum of Just Mercy in August to raise awareness of systemic racism in our country. We are also holding a community planning event on October 7 at 7pm to chart our course. If you are interested in participating, please contact equityandinclusion@mail.tillamookbaycc.edu for more information and to receive the Zoom link for the discussion. We invite you to join us in building a better future for all residents of Tillamook County.