Equity and Diversity Matters at Oakton

At Oakton, we know that diversity matters.

What is diversity? For us, it's a recognition of the different identities and cultures reflected in schools, workplaces, communities, and nations in which we live. While diversity is often used in reference to race, ethnicity, and gender, we embrace a broader definition. Age, national origin, religion, disability, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance: we believe diversity encompasses all the characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. We also include the diversity of thought: ideas, perspectives, and values, recognizing that individuals can affiliate with multiple identities.

Cultural diversity is also essential. It focuses on the existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society, including the shared language, beliefs, values, norms, and behaviors passed from one generation to the next. Cultural diversity is important to us because workplaces and schools like Oakton increasingly consist of various cultural, racial, and ethnic groups.

We can - and must - learn from one another. We have come to understand that through diversity and equity and other demonstrable abilities, we truly achieve academic excellence. We must, however, have a level of understanding about each other first in order to facilitate collaboration and cooperation towards that goal of excellence.

That's why diversity and equity are part of our core mission and inform our every decision as an institution. We strive to create a learning environment that reflects our larger community, filled with people from all backgrounds and all walks of life. We aim to create an environment where every student can feel welcome, safe, and supported, and we are continually working to employ a diverse faculty who represent the myriad life experiences of our students.

We also try to ensure equitable opportunities for all of our students. We understand that the different economic and ethnic backgrounds of every one of our students create different experiences and perspectives, and we aim to help students like you have the access and opportunity you need to achieve your goals.

That's because we also know that you matter.

Our work and future as an institution are based on how we can give you the full support you need as you travel down your educational path. That's why these issues of diversity and equity are key components of our current "Vision 2030: Building Just and Thriving Communities" strategic plan. Delivering a safe and supportive learning environment for you is the most important element of what we do and who we are.

Creating a Truly Diverse and Equitable Campus

Achieving equity and effectively providing education for our diverse student body is an ongoing effort. We've come a long way in our 50 years, and the truth is, we still have a long way to go. But our promise to you is that we will not stop striving to be the most equitable and diverse institution we can be. To help reach our goals, we've created an equity plan and have in place a variety of programs, services, and resources to better create an environment that helps fulfills our equity commitment to you.

Diversity and Equity Within Institutional Leadership

Oakton places great value on embracing diversity and advancing equity. Oakton sets and pursues annual affirmative action goals that reflect the diversity of the Oakton district and the college’s enrollment profile. The College prides itself in building a remarkably diverse executive leadership staff, which is attributed to the College’s commitment from the top and an infused commitment to diversity and equity within the institution's mission and strategic goals.

Dear Aunaetitrakul
"Like all students, the AAPI student population should feel supported in all the ways necessary for success. But their needs are often overlooked. Our goal is to identify strategies and establish a long-term framework that supports AAPI students at Oakton."

Dear Aunaetitrakul

Senior Program Manager, COMPASS

Gabby O’Connor
"When students have a sense of belonging and take on leadership positions at Oakton, they grow in ways that positively impact their communities. We strive to create an inclusive environment where you feel welcome and gain the confidence to take on any challenge."

Gabby O’Connor

Department Assistant, Student Life

Apply to Oakton

Student Engagement, Retention, and Success Programs

The OAED, a sub-division within Student Affairs, partners with faculty, staff, and students to fulfill the access and equity goals and mission of the College. It aims to create an open and accepting climate and supports the retention and success of diverse students. By offering an array of academic, cultural, social, and outreach programs, training, and services to the entire college community, we become more diverse and inclusive, which, in turn, will positively influence student success.

In support of Oakton's mission, the vision of the OAED is to create an inclusive and accepting campus free of bias, hate, and inequities where employees and other stakeholders work together to impart positive change within our campus community, and students are provided an open, receptive environment that optimizes their chances to be successful towards achieving their goals.

The AANAPISI program provides federal funding for colleges and universities and works to improve the availability and quality of higher education for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) college students.

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The ¡ANDALE! organization at Oakton supports Latino/a/x students through workshops, academic support, study groups, mentoring, leadership skill development, multicultural events, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) support.

Organization supports Latino/a/x students through workshops, academic support, study groups, mentoring, leadership skill development, multicultural events, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) support.

Contact: 847.635.1699

The Building Lasting African Culture and Knowledge (B.L.A.C.K.) Student Success Program supports Black students during the enrollment, retention and completion of their education at Oakton.

The B.L.A.C.K. Student Success Program provides educational experiences and programs to address the needs and concerns of Black students in higher education.

Contact: 847.376.7796

The center provides support, educational experiences, and interactive learning opportunities. It represents the needs and concerns of historically underserved student identities and helps them access opportunities through programs, services and resources related to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

These opportunities include roundtable discussions, critical conversations, webcasts, workshops, special events, and self-care resources such as the Caring Closet.

Contact: 847.635.1687

SLCI provides inclusive programs and services to enhance the college experience for all of Oakton’s diverse students by providing 40 plus student organizations and clubs, the Emerging Leaders Student Leadership Program, the Student Government Association (SGA), and the Student Activities Programming Boards.

Contact: 847.635.1815

Over thirty co-curricular programs help to fulfill the college’s Equity Matters strategic commitment by providing a rich diversity of student organizations. Faculty, staff, and administrators serve as advisors. Students and employees can access diverse learning experiences through their participation in dynamic and distinctive cultural experiences provided by the Black Student Union, Hillel, the Mongolian Club, or many more.

Currently available diverse student groups are:

  • Black Student Union (BSU)
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Hillel (Jewish Student Organization)
  • Latinx Club
  • Muslim Student Association
  • Pride
  • Pilipino American Youth Organization (PAYO)
  • Polish Student Organization
  • South Asian
  • Students for Social Justice

The mission of TRIO Student Support Services is to provide comprehensive support empowering eligible students to overcome academic, economic, and social barriers to their education. TRIO staff foster close, supportive student/advisor relationships, and assist students with educational goals at Oakton. TRIO services include:
  • Course selection advising
  • Tutoring assistance
  • Transfer assistance
  • Multicultural activities
  • College visits
  • Financial aid guidance
To participate, students must be U.S. citizens or have permanent residency and meet one of the following criteria: be a first-generation college student (neither parent has a four-year college degree); demonstrate financial need; or have a documented disability.

TRIO Student Support Services is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. For more information, visit Room 2901 (2nd floor of the Enrollment Center) in Des Plaines or Room A135 in Skokie.

Contact: 847.635.1253

Diversity and Equity Services and Resources

The ADRC provides accommodations and services to students with documented disabilities. To determine eligibility, complete an intake appointment and submit the appropriate documentation. Once these steps are completed, accommodations and services may be requests. Be sure to submit requests at least four weeks prior to the anticipated need, and you must apply for accommodations on a semester-by-semester basis. For more information, visit the ADRC page.

Oakton’s Caring Closet, located in Room 1430 (Des Plaines) and Room A130 (Skokie), is a space where Oakton students can access nonperishable food and self-care items, such as soap and deodorant, at no cost. Access items by completing an online shopping sheet (requires login) or stopping by the Caring Closet when the campus is open. You'll be notified when items are available at the designated time and location. An Oakton ID is required for pick-up. All information is private.

If you or a guest are in need of a room for lactation, or if you need a moment to get away to reflect, meditate, or pray, you can reserve the spaces below on each campus. Reservations are for 30-minute blocks of time.

To reserve space on the Des Plaines campus, contact the Office of Student Affairs at 847.635.1739 during business hours. Employees can contact Human Resources at 847.635.1675 during business hours to reserve either space. Public Safety should be called after hours at 847.635.1880.

On the Skokie campus, students, employees and guests can reserve a room by contacting the Division of Business and Career Technologies office at 847.635.1910.

Lactation Rooms
2556, Des Plaines Campus
B209 and B217, Skokie Campus

Meditation/Prayer Room
2148, Des Plaines Campus,
190, Skokie Campus

Our language allies help us serve students and their families who may not speak English as their first language. Visit Oakton Equity Channel on myOakton (My.Oakton.edu > Resources by Area > Student Affairs > Language Allies) to find out who is currently on the list and what languages they speak.

The language labs provide support to students taking courses in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Urdu, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and English as a Second Language (ESL).

Services provided include multimedia PCs with Internet access, a library of ESL audio materials with books, modern language and ESL software, and DVDs. Limited modern language tutoring is available for enrolled language students. The labs also offer ESL and various modern language conversation groups each semester. Lab personnel can assist with lab equipment and the selection of appropriate materials.

Lab Usage

The labs are designed to be used primarily by students enrolled in Oakton credit courses, and offer priority access to teachers and students in these classes. On a space-available basis, students enrolled in Alliance for Lifelong Learning (ALL) courses or interested in using the labs’ materials and facilities may be accommodated.

The labs operate according to the Oakton academic calendar. During breaks between semesters, lab hours may vary. View the lab web page for more info.

  • Des Plaines Campus, Room 2446, 847.635.1612
  • Skokie Campus, Room C132, 847.635.1493
  • Hours: Monday - Thursday, 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • Summer Hours: Monday - Thursday, 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Closed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Note: Hours may change between semesters.)

Oakton recognizes the need for a welcoming campus where members of the diverse LGBTQIA2+ community are respected, valued, and supported. This mission is achieved through educational and informative training opportunities, services and resources, and Title IX compliance.

The LGBTQIA2+ Advisory Council at Oakton is dedicated to the College’s anti-bias values and works to institutionalize policy that advocates for the LGBTQIA2+ community. Examples of this work are to provide gender-inclusive restrooms, SafeZone trainings and more inclusive classroom instruction.

Gender Identity Recognition: Oakton College will treat students in such a way that is consistent with their gender identity when they or their parent(s) or guardian(s) notify the college that they will assert a gender identity different from the previous representation or records.

The College employs the following procedures:

  • Gender Identity Consideration: Oakton College considers a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of enforcing the law.
  • Gender Identity Based Harassment: Asserts that harassment based on gender identity, transgender status, or gender transition is a form of sexual harassment. An educational entity’s failure to address such harassment may create a hostile environment which would result in a violation of applicable laws/guidance.
Oakton College does not require students to use facilities that are inconsistent with their gender identity, or to use individual user facilities if other students are not required to do so. There are eight gender inclusive restrooms at the Des Plaines campus, including four restrooms on the first floor, 1470, 1914, 1915, 1916, and four restrooms on the second floor, 2914, 2915, 2916, and 2214. There is one gender-inclusive restroom at the Skokie campus, Room A181.

Our mission is to support undocumented and DACA students and their families through advocacy, training, and employee education. We identify and promote financial resources and remove barriers to admissions and student success.

Contact: 847.635.1416