Dr. Kimetta R. Hairston, 2018-2019 American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow represented her host institution, Virginia State University (VSU) and her home institution, Bowie State University (BSU) for two days at Motlow State Community College. Established in 1965, the ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing faculty and staff for senior positions in college and university administration through its distinctive and intensive nominator-driven, cohort-based mentorship model.
Dr. Hairston was personally invited by Dr. Michael Torrence, Motlow president. Motlow is committed to promoting an environment for students, faculty, staff, administrators and the community that clearly reflects strong, healthy and positive culture, diversity, equity, and inclusion. President Torrence stated, "ACE Fellow, Dr. Kimetta Hairston of BSU, provided a strategic lens into deeper comprehension of what it means to be an engaged participant in the higher education landscape over the last two days. Motlow students, staff, faculty, and administration began engaged dialogue of a courageous nature that will be ongoing as the College further hones its focal points affixed to student success.
"We appreciate Dr. Hairston's leadership, transparency, and willingness to meet us where we are as an organization as we pivot toward our future," added Torrence. "Our Motlow Family embraces her as one of our own and recognizes that our organization is better today for having had her graceful and humanizing presence amongst us. Dr. Hairston's leadership is the future. We all send her a reverberating 'Thank You'"
One of Motlow's newest hallmarks for intentionally identifying, understanding, and strengthening its culture, coupled with developing a climate that is welcoming, inclusive, supportive, and nurturing, is a new course developed by Dr. Phyllis D. Adams, IDS 1021 - "Understanding Culture and Diversity." Dr. Adams invited Dr. Hairston to her class to witness students' personal reflections and their development as more culturally competent individuals. In addition, she wanted Dr. Hairston to share her expertise, knowledge and understanding of diversity and the impact this work is having on students and campus communities.
Motlow's administration, faculty, staff and students benefited from her presence as she led the campus-wide community through cultural realizations, creating a definition of diversity for their strategic plan, internal realizations, and diversity experiences. This two-day experience allowed all four Motlow campuses to experience the voice, tools, and knowledge of Dr. Hairston, as President Torrence made it his priority to attend the sessions and participate with the campus community.
Dr. Hairston travels across the country helping academicians understand the pedagogy of teaching multicultural curriculum. Her understanding of culture and diversity is valued and valuable. Dr. Hairston stated, "Teaching Multicultural Curricula is a personal choice, but it is a choice that will touch your students' lives and their cultures FOREVER. It is up to you..."
Currently as an ACE Fellow, Dr. Hairston is committed to visiting campuses to support the mission and vison of both VSU and BSU in hopes that continued national recognition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities remain in the spotlight as premier institutions. As part of this visit to Motlow, Dr. Hairston stated, "I am tremendously thankful to President Torrence, Dr. Adams and Motlow State Community College. I applaud them all for their honesty and dedication to culturally reflective practices, diversity and engagement."