Highline College’s commitment to educational equity has again received recognition, this time in the form of the 2016 Equity Award from the Washington State Association of College Trustees (ACT).

ACT recognized the college’s Board of Trustees and President Jack Bermingham for their commitment to achieving equity in the development, administration and delivery of educational programs and services.

Dr. Jack Bermingham

Dr. Jack Bermingham

“The college has a very strong record of promoting educational equity for our community and the administrative leadership and the Board of Trustees have ensured that it is a part of the institutional culture,” said Ruth Windhover, Ph.D., in a letter supporting the nomination.

Dan Altmayer

Dan Altmayer

Windhover is a tenured Highline faculty member and president of the Highline College Education Association, which is the union representing all faculty at the college.

“Faculty see the college’s focus on equity manifested in curriculum, student supports, programming, services and administration,” she said. “At present, many of these aspects of our equity work are such an integral part of Highline’s operations that [we] forget that they are a product of collaborative approach between college leadership and employees to meet the needs of our community.”

Debrena Jackson Gandy

Debrena Jackson Gandy

In recent years, Highline has earned several awards for its commitment to equity in education.

Fred Mendoza

Fred Mendoza

In 2014, Highline received a prestigious Award of Excellence from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Highline was one of only six colleges nationwide to be recognized. Highline won in the Advancing Diversity category, recognizing it as a leader among the nation’s community colleges for increasing diversity and educational and social justice equity.

In 2015, for the third straight year, Highline received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Bob Roegner

Bob Roegner

Given by Insight into Diversity magazine, the 2015 HEED Award was presented to only 92 institutions across the nation. Highline was one of only two colleges in the state, and the only community college in Washington, to receive the 2015 award.

A second Award of Excellence from the AACC came earlier this year when Highline’s five-member board and President Bermingham were recognized for their exemplary collaboration and working relationship.

Highline’s board members serve five-year terms and can be reappointed once. The board is composed of community members from the area Highline serves:

  • Dan Altmayer, of Federal Way, joined the board in 2008 and is in his second term, currently serving as chair.
  • Debrena Jackson Gandy, of Des Moines, joined the board in 2010 and was reappointed in 2015.
  • Fred Mendoza, of Normandy Park, was appointed to the board in 2011.
  • Bob Roegner, of Federal Way, joined the board in 2011 and is in his second term.
  • Sili Savusa, of South Seattle, has served on the board since 2013.

Sili Savusa

Sili Savusa

ACT recognizes dedication to Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges and the nearly 386,000 students they serve each year through its annual awards. In addition to the Equity category, ACT presents awards in five other categories:

  • Faculty Member
  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Partner of the Year
  • Professional Staff Member
  • Trustee Leadership

In a statement announcing the awards, Kim Tanaka, the director of ACT, said, “Our community and technical colleges and states would not be what they are without these awardees. They and each of the nominees show tremendous dedication to our students, making their education that much more meaningful.”

Among the reasons for choosing Highline, ACT highlighted the following:

“Highline College’s commitment to diversity and equity is reflected in the Board of Trustees’ Cultural Diversity Policy, the college’s mission statement, and the college’s institutional-effectiveness metrics. Led by President Dr. Jack Bermingham, the college’s daily commitment to equity, inclusion, and social justice manifests itself in services, innovations, and programming that meet diverse needs. The college community celebrates diversity and promotes equity through events like Unity in Diversity Week, LGBTQIA Month, and the Faculty and Staff of Color and Allies reception.”