Published Jan. 31, 2024
BY LAUREN GALICIA
Jacinto Salazar was recently appointed as the first Director of Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, Anti-Racism and Accessibility at Monterey Peninsula College and aims to promote these values through future listening sessions and potential programs with an emphasis on student success.
Salazar passionately says that a community college is a microcosm of society and by implementing IDEAA effectively, educators from different backgrounds, whether in income status, race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation, can help similarly diverse students achieve their academic and career goals.
“Equity and justice work means that we realize the humanity in all people and recognize that some people have had their humanity degraded historically and systemically,” says Salazar.
Salazar says that now social justice efforts on campus have established programs like student support and ethnic studies along with systemic educational efforts. These efforts include recognizing institutions that serve Hispanic, Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander people and encouraging colleges and universities to increase student populations from these backgrounds, explains Salazar.
“Thanks to these initiatives, I was recruited and received invaluable support that enabled me to graduate from college successfully,” says the director.
According to the California Department of Education, the largest percentage of public school students in California is Hispanic or Latino at 56%, and just 21% of public school teachers share that demographic. IDEAA at MPC focuses on contributing to diversifying the teacher workforce.
According to the American Council on Education, a nonprofit higher education association, diverse workplaces are shown to enrich the educational experience, promote personal growth, strengthen communities and enhance America’s economic competitiveness through the culmination of innovative perspectives and ideas.
MPC’s director of IDEAA plans on conducting 90-minute listening sessions with students, colleagues and administrators participating, discussing general questions about what MPC is doing well, what can be improved and what efforts they would like to see on campus concerning IDEAA.
“Any modifications require thorough measured assessments and input before implementation,” says Salazar. “It is essential to ensure that any potential changes align with the best interests of MPC students and their overall educational experience.”
Graduating from California State University Monterey Bay, Salazar holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and sciences and a master’s degree in Mexican American studies from San Jose State University. He was appointed as MPC’s director of IDEAA on Nov. 6 with 20 years of experience including teaching Chicanx studies and service learning classes at CSUMB and U.S. history at Hartnell College.
Salazar says, “Being proactively inclusionary and creating space for people to show up as their authentic selves is a practice that is done intentionally and thoughtfully and can create the truest sense of belonging.”