Anne Arundel Community College recently named Deidra Dennie, D.P.A., as its new chief diversity officer to further the college’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusive excellence. Dennie will take a significant leadership role in meeting the needs of the college’s increasingly diverse student body while also helping to build a more welcoming and inclusive climate on campus.
One of Dennie’s first priorities will be to meet with as many students, college employees and administrators as she can to understand how to continue leadership and vision in diversity, inclusion and equity in Maryland. The diverse nature of the student population at AACC continues to rise, with nearly 37 percent of credit students this fall identifying themselves as part of a racial or ethnic minority.
“This is a college that is already rich in diversity and I want to build on that foundation,” Dennie said. “I’m eager to make some meaningful connections with the students, staff and everyone at AACC. I want us to work together to build more bridges to make this an even more welcoming college community for everyone who comes here.”
Dennie comes to AACC from Armstrong State University in Savannah, Ga., where she was the director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. In that position she developed and oversaw programs, services and initiatives aimed at recruiting and retaining more faculty, staff and students from diverse and under-represented populations. She held similar positions in business and higher education over the past 15 years, including at the University System of Georgia, Indiana University South Bend, Memorial Hospital and Health System (now Beacon Health) in South Bend, Ind., Ceridian HCM Inc. and General Electric Appliance Park.
AACC was among the first community colleges in the nation – and the first in Maryland – to have a chief diversity officer, with the hiring of James Felton in 2014. Since then, the college’s commitment to diversity has earned several national awards including the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine in 2015 and 2016, as well as the 2015 Charles Kennedy Equity Award from the Association of Community College Trustees.
“Diversity and inclusivity are at the heart of this college,” said Dr. Dawn Lindsay, AACC president. “We’re very excited to have Dr. Dennie here to lead these efforts at AACC. With the breadth of experience and passion she brings to this position, we’ll be able to take the foundation we have in place to a whole new level. And everyone will benefit – our students, our college and the community as a whole.”
In addition to holding a doctorate in public administration from Valdosta State University, she has a master’s degree in human resource development from Webster University and a bachelor’s in communications from the University of Louisville. She is a certified diversity executive, an affirmative action professional and a Title IX coordinator. She also completed a cultural competence leader fellowship from the Health Research Educational Trust. Dennie is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education and Society for Diversity.