Illinois Central College has launched a new program to diversify the pool of qualified minority faculty and create accessible pathways for minorities inside and outside the College. The new Diverse Faculty Fellows Program, named for ICC Board of Trustees member and Peoria-area activist James K. Polk, is aimed at providing diversity in the faculty representation and offering ethnically, racially and intellectually diverse role models to students.
“This program is aptly named for Mr. Polk, who continues to be a proponent for diversity and inclusion,” said Dr. Rita Ali, ICC Vice President of Diversity, International and Adult Education. “Our goal is to reflect his passion for diversity by creating viable career pathways for under-represented faculty groups and promote ICC as a great place to work and learn.”
Faculty participating in the program will have exposure to curriculum which includes best practices in teaching and learning and will have opportunities for job-shadowing and co-teaching. They will participate in the ICC Faculty Mentoring Program and participate in professional development opportunities at the college. Participants must have a master’s or doctoral degree in an area that corresponds with an academic department at ICC and are required to stay current in their discipline. The position is non-tenure track and gives the faculty member the opportunity to conduct a meaningful project while continuing to teach in the classroom.
Kamara Taylor, an ICC psychology and political science professor, will be the first faculty member to participate in the program. She received the 2015 Teaching Excellence Award, which is the highest student-nominated award at ICC.
“Having the honor of being the first to occupy the Diverse Faculty Fellows Program at ICC reminds me of a quote from Nelson Mandela, which states ‘Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world,’” said Taylor. “The program allots me and future fellows the opportunity to become progressive, experienced educators in this collegiate field and solidify the mastery of ICC’s mission ‘Through learning, minds change. We believe by changing minds, we can change the world.’”
Taylor holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in political science from Northeastern Illinois University-Chicago and is working on completing her dissertation as a doctoral candidate from Grand Canyon University with an emphasis in cognition and instructional psychology. and is in a doctoral program for cognitive and instructional psychology. She is currently working on a project which strives to build relationships with schools outside of the college’s district in an effort to increase enrollment and is assisting with a music development project.
For more information on diversity at ICC, please contact Diversity Department at (309) 694-8502.