Above (l–r): Office of Institutional Diversity staff Alec Maruki, Courtney Howard, Shamone White and Tyrek Foster at College of Charleston’s Sustainability Week 2023. (Photo by Mike Ledford)

Courtney Howard

Courtney Howard, chief diversity officer

The Office of Institutional Diversity makes the College of Charleston a more diverse, equitable and inclusive place to learn, work and live by advancing the College’s commitments through advocacy, collaboration, guidance, support and accountability. Below are some recent highlights from the Office of Institutional Diversity (OID).

Staff Changes

  • In fall 2022, OID welcomed Courtney Howard as the chief diversity officer/vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. Prior to this role, Howard spent 11 years in the School of Education as director of the Center for Partnerships to Improve Education. Since 2017, she was also associate dean and spent one year as interim dean.
  • In January 2023, Tyrek Foster joined OID to oversee the Launchpad for Success program, and will continue as program and outreach coordinator as of April 2023.

Education/Training: OID has revamped its trainings and will soon offer professional certificate programs in hybrid format.

  • New this year is the racial equity certificate currently being piloted with three student groups. The racial equity certificate endorses campus members’ knowledge about systemic racism and the competent application of racially inclusive practices.
  • To help address classroom climate issues, a teaching-inclusive excellence certificate is under development with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
  • Working with the Gender and Sexuality Equity Center, OID will soon begin writing a queer- and gender-inclusive certificate that is intended to give credence to campus members who are knowledgeable about queer and gender discrimination and the competent application of queer-friendly and gender-inclusive practices.

OID has convened a DEI Campus Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from various campus units. The committee will advise on current and planned activities/initiatives focused on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at the College of Charleston; assist with identifying opportunities to enhance support for campus DEI efforts; and inform cohesive articulation of campus achievements and outcomes in diversity, equity and inclusion.

For any campus member planning programs involving youth, please note that OID manages compliance with the Protection of Minors policy and procedures. To learn more and register your youth program, please visit the Protection of Minors website.

students in front of Dewberry Hotel

Students in the Launchpad for Success program visit the Dewberry Hotel for a behind-the-scenes look at hospitality careers.

Student Programs: This has been a busy year for the three student programs housed in the Office of Institutional Diversity.

  • Launchpad for Success, a collaboration with the Career Center, recruited its inaugural cohort to participate in a two-year career development program. Students attend monthly sessions focused on career development and engage with a peer facilitator. One highlight of the program was a visit to the Dewberry Hotel for a behind-the-scenes look at hospitality careers.
  • Crossing the Cistern began the academic year with over 50 students across six schools. Crossing the Cistern is a momentum program to support students who desire to be more academically competitive. In addition to school-specific programming and activities, Crossing the Cistern students have opportunities for shared experiences, including artistic performances and a recent financial literacy workshop led by James Malm, associate professor of finance and Crossing the Cistern coordinator in the School of Business.
  • The 1967 Legacy Program welcomed its second cohort of students to study African American trailblazers who have impacted the College, the community and beyond. Led by Valerie Frazier, associate professor of English, 1967 Legacy Scholars have participated in many experiences, all designed to enrich their leadership, professional, academic or cultural development. The program now serves 19 students, representing significant growth and retention.