Diversity chief celebrates 1 yr at AACC

Sarah Noble, Multimedia Editor

AACC’s chief diversity officer celebrated her first year at the college in August.  

Dr. Deidra Dennie, a Kentucky native, said she works non-stop to make the college a more inclusive and diverse school.  

She said her previous job at Armstrong University in Georgia was both similar and different from her new career at AACC.  

Armstrong, a four-year university with about 8,000 students, had a different environment from the community college, according to Dennie.  

Here, she primarily works with students to discover what can be changed about the college.  

At AACC, Dennie said she relies on students who walk into her office to keep her up to date on student concerns  

But, Dennie said that’s not happening here as much as it did at Armstrong. 

“[At Armstrong,] I could see a student and offer to buy them dinner and they would tell me everything,” Dennie said. “Who’s dating who and what is what.”  

AACC President Dawn Lindsay said Dennie is “the exact leader [the college] needs in the position.”  

Dennie said her greatest accomplishment so far is her new “chosen name” project. (See related story on this page.)  

Dennie’s effort allows students to put their preferred names or nicknames on most school records and files.  

Dennie spent her time this summer prepping this year’s Diversity Committee.  

The committee of about 35 representatives from different areas of the school will work to make the college more inclusive and promote diversity, she said.  

According to Dennie, committee members are supposed to reflect the staff and student population.  

“She brings tremendous expertise and professionalism to the workplace,” Lindsay said. “I’m looking forward to the leadership that will be provided through the [Diversity Committee].”  

SGA President Jacob Smith, a committee member, said having student representation is valuable so the college can “better serve the community.”  

“I’m excited to work with [Dennie,]” Smith said. “She seems like she’s extremely wonderful and extremely committed to campus.”  

Dennie said right as the fall semester begins the committee will start new projects.  

“It’s going to be a lot of work,” she said. “And these people [on the committee] are going to ask what they got themselves into, but I am excited.”  

Dennie said she is always looking for new ideas and ways to improve diversity at the college.  

This year she plans to invite more students to the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast, Traditionally, only one student attends, according to Dennie.  

She said she also pulls ideas from other schools. Recently, Dennie visited to Cecil County Community College to learn about its summer programs.  

That school hosts an annual summer LGBTQ conference. Dennie wants to replicate the event at AACC this school year.  

“I always ask myself, ‘Why don’t we have that?’ and then I get to work,” she said.