new vice president for diversity, Yoshiko Harden, starts today, according to Bellevue College.
“We’re thrilled to have Yoshiko join us in this position. She will be instrumental in working to create a campus culture and atmosphere that better reflects the diverse community that Bellevue College serves,” Interim President Laura Saunders said in a prepared statement released last week.
The position was renamed after the college's vice president for equity and pluralism, Jim Bennet, retired, according to the college's student paper, The Watchdog.
“One of my primary goals is to increase access and success for all students, but particularly for historically marginalized groups,” Harden said in a prepared statement. “In partnership with administrators, faculty and staff in a student-centered environment, I hope to strengthen the economic, social and cultural life of the campus and broader community.”
According to college statistics, more than a third of the students in the 2010-11 school year identifed as nonwhite, with about 21.4 percent of students identifying as having Asian or Pacific Islander descent. About 7.2 percent of students said they were black and about 6.2 percent of students reported being Latino.
(That's actually somewhat different from ; however, Bellevue College draws from a wider pool than just the general population of the city of Bellevue.)
Harden will lead the college's efforts to promote diversity, which already includes an Office of Multicultural Services that helps minority students succeed and promotes an inclusive campus community, according to a college press release.
The college has also focused on outreach to minority students, including a recent Latino Family Night that discussed college and higher education with Hispanic families, according to the college. A similar session will be held in the fall for black students, the college said.
Harden was most recently director of multicultural services and student development at Highline Community College in Des Moines. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Women’s Studies from the University of California, San Diego, and a Master of Education in Student Development Administration from Seattle University, according to Bellevue College.