The next step in Durham Tech’s commitment to equity

Nearly 60 years ago, this community stepped forward as one of just six counties in the state to start a new kind of educational opportunity with the Durham Industrial Education Center, the forerunner of Durham Tech. Forty years ago, Durham Tech hired Phail Wynn, the state’s first African-American community college president. In 2016, President Bill Ingram started one of the first Offices of Equity and Inclusion in the community college system.  

This week, Durham Tech took another series of steps in what has been a long-standing commitment to equity. 

On Monday, August 31, Board chair John Burness and I released Durham Tech’s Statement on Equity, Inclusion and Diversity on behalf of the College. The statement outlines our values and commitments for the College’s work on anti-racism and equitable outcomes. It was the result of an inclusive process at the College led by our Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusion and provides a clear set of actions to which we commit ourselves and seek to be held accountable. 

Today, Tuesday, September 1, the Durham Tech Foundation, former President Bill Ingram, and I announced the launch of an Equity and Inclusion Fund to help resource the actions outlined in our statement. The Fund will support racial equity education and other professional development for employees, curriculum development, and actions to examine College practices.   

With the Statement and the Fund we are making three distinct commitments: to our students, our employees, and our community: 

To our students, we commit to the work of creating a just and equitable institution – one that provides a welcoming and supportive environment, realizes its goals of student success and   upward mobility, and is unafraid to identify and remedy where we fall short. 

To our employees, we commit to provide the professional and curriculum development needed to support their work in teaching, recruiting, advising, supporting operations, and working with partners. They have demonstrated their support for this work and we must demonstrate our support for them. 

To our community, we commit to do the hard work of improving our equitable practices and     outcomes so that we can best serve the diverse needs of the people of Durham and Orange counties, and contribute to the economic prosperity and collective uplift of the region. 

We are ready for the hard work to follow. We are impatient to make positive change. We are committed to be a force for progress. 

J.B. Buxton, President