Northwoods Building

Nicolet College Honored With Second National Promising Places To Work Diversity Award


For the second consecutive year, Nicolet College has been named a Promising Places to Work award winner by two national organizations that support diversity efforts by community colleges across the country. 

The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) partnered with Diverse: Issues in Higher Education to recognize Nicolet for its  “best-in-class student and staff recruitment and retention practices, inclusive learning and working environments, and meaningful community service and engagement opportunities.”  

Nicolet was the only college in Wisconsin and one of 16 across the country to receive a Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges award in both 2020 and 2021. 

“We are proud to honor Nicolet College for its sustained commitment to diversity,” said Edward J. Leach, NISOD’s executive director. “We are also pleased about the large number of applications this year. It shows that a growing number of colleges appreciate how critical diversity and inclusion initiatives are to their campuses and communities.” 

Nearly 12 percent of Nicolet students are racial and ethnic minorities. This is compared to about 5 percent for the general population of the Nicolet College District. 

The college also serves a population of students with disabilities, with 11.6 percent reporting a disability compared to 7.5 percent of the general population. 

Highlights of recent efforts that led the college to receive the latest honor include: 

  • Started a ten-member Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee on campus to work to advance, embrace and promote differences in order to cultivate an atmosphere of social equity and civility. 
  • Introduced Interviewer Bias training for staff on hiring committees and added diversity-related questions to the interview portion of the college’s hiring process. 
  • Through a Lumina Foundation grant, Nicolet held several all-campus professional development workshops by indigenous presenters to increase cultural knowledge and awareness.  

The college also welcomes students of the LGBTQ community and has supported the formation of the Rainbow Hodags student group, which partnered with the Northwoods Pride community group to hold the Rainbow Pride Festival on the Nicolet Campus.  

In 2019, Nicolet received a $350,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation to build clearer pathways to degrees and other credentials for adults, especially for people of color and Native American learners. Nicolet received one of nine grants awarded nationwide from a pool of 78 applicants. 

Nicolet has partnered with the Wisconsin Indian Education Association to implement The Many Ways of Knowing: American Indian Culture Competencies for Community College Career Pathways project. 

“The project designs curriculum that reflects American Indian cultural competencies across liberal arts and general education courses,” said Susie Crazy Thunder, Nicolet tribal outreach coordinator. “It will also create a methodology for recognizing indigenous community learning and knowledge toward increasing the number of tribal members qualified to teach American Indian Studies curriculum.” 

In addition to diversity of students, Nicolet strives to ensure diversity in employment and its Board of Trustees. The College maintains a five-year Affirmative Action Plan that establishes goals and strategies for attracting and employing people with diverse backgrounds. 

NISOD is a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership at community and technical colleges. NISOD provides budget-friendly, high-quality, and faculty-focused programs and resources for community and technical colleges that want to make the most of their professional development dollars. For over 40 years, NISOD has aligned a wide array of benefits with the needs of their members, which explains why the American Association of Community Colleges named NISOD, “The country’s leading provider of professional development for community college faculty, staff, and administrators.” Visit for more information about NISOD. 

Since 1984, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education has been the nation’s premier publication covering the issues pertaining to underrepresented minorities in American higher education. Reaching more than 200,000 readers biweekly, Diverse has been recognized for its in-depth news coverage, provocative commentary, insightful special reports, and original research.