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Area DEI Leaders Gather at QCC for Equity Workshop

December 2022
  • Executive Director of DEI Kevin Lovaincy addresses the crowd
    Executive Director of DEI Kevin Lovaincy addresses the crowd
  • Former QCC professor Trent Masiki and QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja
    From left: Former QCC professor Trent Masiki and QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja

On Friday, November 18, higher education leaders in the field of diversity, equity and inclusion gathered at QCC to speak at a workshop as part of QCC's Academic Affairs monthly onboarding series. The panel consisted of Clark University Vice President for Government & Community Affairs Joseph M. Corazzini, Bunker Hill Community College Associate Vice President, Chief Equity & Compliance Officer Nahomi Carlisle, Esq., Anna Maria College Chief Diversity Officer & Director of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion Sherman Cowan, QCC Corporate Development Specialist Sean Harris, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute Assistant Professor of Africana Studies (and former QCC professor) Dr. Trent Masiki.

Each panelist shared their experiences in DEI, gave advice and answered questions about best practices for incorporating DEI into the QCC experience. Topics ranged from institutional policies to personal techniques anyone can utilize in everyday life.

A common theme throughout the workshop was the importance of an institution's mission and values. Corazzini noted that it's crucial for higher education institutions to do work ahead of time and frequently communicate their mission and values to staff, faculty and students. Both Harris and Cowan noted that when difficult situations arise, it's productive to refer back to these shared commitments.

On this theme, Harris also suggested analyzing policies. 

"Who made them and why were they written that way? I recommend focusing on systems, especially if you have access to leadership. What is working well and what can we improve," he said. 

The panelists also delved into handling interpersonal situations. Carlisle focused on keeping an open mind.

"Don't assume someone's wrong before going into a conversation. If you compare end goals, you might find those goals align. Sometimes, all people want is to feel seen and heard," she said.

Masiki said he tells his students, "I'm not here to police your beliefs or change your mind. But be prepared to be held accountable for what you say and use evidence-based research to back it up."

One faculty member from the English department asked the panel how to increase the representation of diverse perspectives in the classroom. Masiki encouraged faculty to utilize resources such as the Norton Anthology collections and QCC's reference librarians.

"And look for things that excite you personally. This will shine in the classroom," Masiki added.

Carlisle also advised faculty to look at the tone and content of their course syllabus through an equity lens.

Additionally, attendees participated in engaging discussions around DEI topics they had read about before the workshop in the book, "From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Expanding Practitioner Knowledge for Racial Justice in Higher Education," by Tia Brown McNair.

"I really appreciate this panel today," said Professor and Coordinator of Human Services Brenda Safford adding, "Honest conversations can be so hard to have. You have to understand the terms 'diversity', 'equity' and 'inclusion' and look through those lenses that affect every aspect of this college." 

For more information on QCC's DEI initiatives visit