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The Lookout | October 1, 2020

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Diversity officer engages community

Diversity officer engages community
The Lookout

Jeremy Kohn
Editor In Chief

Dr. Paul Hernandez said he had a rough upbringing growing up.  He never thought a college education was in his future.

Now, as the chief diversity officer at LCC, he uses his life experiences as a tool to mentor high school kids.

Hernandez, who has worked for the college for eight months, described the many responsibilities he has taken on with his position.

“A plethora of things … spanning different areas of the college, Hernandez said. “The Centre for Engaged Inclusion falls under me.  I help plan Women’s History Month, Black History Month and Hispanic and Latino Month, as well as the Center for Teaching Excellence.”

In addition to LCC, Hernandez said he is always out and about in the community, looking for ways to empower diversity.

“I work closely with the mayor of Lansing, who is connected with President Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ program,” he said.  “I am also involved with Lansing Economic Area Partnership as a board member, (which) works for diversity initiatives in business and local as well as state government.”

In addition to being the chief diversity officer at LCC, Hernandez is also a published author. The philosophy behind his book, “The Pedagogy of Real Talk: Engaging, Teaching and Connecting with Students at Risk” helped him develop a program called College 101 at LCC.

“Seven years ago at Central Michigan, I created the program from a personal and moral standpoint,” he said.  Growing up, I didn’t see myself as college bound. I didn’t feel connected.

“I created College 101 to inspire and empower high school and to establish a connection with those students.”

LCC Leadership academy student Kylie Bates spoke about the experience of working with Hernandez on College 101.

“I really enjoyed working with Dr. Hernandez,” Bates said. “I thought it was very interesting to work with someone high on the totem pole at the college.

“I went to the conference in Grand Rapids … he was very into how teachers learn from the students and how students have a lot to offer if you just take the time to listen… this was really motivating for me.”

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