While higher education is still struggling to get to parity when it comes to women and minorities in senior leadership positions, Oakton Community College is among 11 institutions recognized by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources for diversity and equity in leadership positions.

CUPA-HR’s latest research, which compared institutions’ performance over several years in terms of representation and pay equity for women and minority administrators, cited Oakton as one of 11 top-performing institutions in all areas, sustaining equitable pay and representation for both minorities and women over the past 16 years.

“It starts at the top. Oakton values diversity and equity, and so the recognition for ‘getting it right’ is not unexpected,” says Colette Hands, interim chief human resources officer. “Diversity is one of the primary strengths of Oakton, and the diversity of our student body is reflected in our leadership. This commitment to cultural competence and achieving equity helps the college intentionally design the Oakton experience to foster success for all students.”

The research ranked institutions based on the following four factors from CUPA-HR’s “Administrators in Higher Ed Salary Survey:” women’s pay equity, minority pay equity, women’s representation and minority representation. Top institutions were defined as those with diversity/equity ranks in the top two-thirds every year they participated with a minimum of 10 years. According to the report, many institutions did well in at least one diversity/equity area, but relatively few did so for representation and pay for both women and minority administrators.

“This recognition speaks to Oakton’s work in recognizing systemic social injustices that include hiring practices and salary structures for more than a decade,” President Joianne L. Smith explains. “Success matters, and to be recognized for employee diversity and equity among four-year and two-year colleges and universities in this way is a wonderful statement about our commitment to these institutional values.”

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., CUPA-HR serves higher education by providing the knowledge, resources, advocacy and connections to nearly 23,000 HR professionals and other campus leaders at more than 1,900 member institutions and organizations around the country and abroad. The association offers learning and professional development programs, higher education salary and benefits data, extensive online resources and just-in-time regulatory and legislative information for institutions to achieve organizational and workforce excellence.

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