By Dejanique Calloway, reporter
Keith Barnes, Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion waters the seed of diversity among students and faculty through his work with many organizations at Pikes Peak Community College.
One word that describes Barnes: Passionate.
If you have ever attended a Q & A with the President, an LGBTQ Alliance meeting, or perhaps a Global Village Discussion, nine times out of ten you’ve seen Barnes.
His roots stem from Chicago’s South Side, where Barnes grew up the youngest of seven. With limited exposure to diverse people, he was first introduced to a cultural shift when he began his college career at Northern Illinois university.
“When I moved to DeKalb, Illinois, it was predominantly white in the community, but the university itself was extremely diverse,” said Barnes.
There Barnes was able to expand his cultural knowledge and received his Bachelors in Corporate Communication.
After serving eight years in the Army Reserves, Barnes decided to share his passion for education by joining the staff at his former college.
While at Northern Illinois University, he began his career in Student Services and soon found himself holding seats on many diverse committees on campus. With his drive and passion for representation, Keith Barnes says the role of Diversity Practitioner found him.
“I served the dual capacity [roles] of Transfer and Diversity coordinator, and in 2013 they cut off my transfer hat and allowed me to do the diversity work full time,” said Barnes.
Without hesitation Barnes took on the role with honor, dedicating countless hours to educating himself on diverse practices, even returning to school and obtaining his Masters in Adult and Higher Education.
As Barnes furthered his education, he found himself wanting to expand his work and in August of 2016, Barnes joined the Pikes Peak family in the inaugural leadership role of Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and inclusion, which for Barnes was an easy career decision.
“One thing that interested me in the position is that the college had taken steps to address these issues [of diversity]”, said Barnes. “So I had a foundation to work with.”
Since joining the Leadership staff and Diversity team, Barnes has been a driving force behind expanding representation within PPCC, including improvement upon the college’s hiring practices and increasing cultural competence.
Barnes says, “We are a diverse and global society, and we need people in all areas of the college that represent all the people that we serve.”
While individuals such as Barnes recognize and respond to the need for representation in a diverse world, they sow the seeds of diversity that future students have the opportunity to reap.
For more information about PPCC’s office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, email firstname.lastname@example.org