SAN MARCOS – Palomar College has hired a new Chief Diversity Officer to represent Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility and Anti-Racism (DEIAA) at the school. Dr. Nicole Belisle has taken the position and started just over a two weeks ago.
Dr. Belisle is coming straight from San Diego State University after five years. She spent her time there as a graduate student, equity analyst, professor, and also the university’s Associate Chief Diversity Officer.
Her background is in education policy specifically. She dedicates her work now exclusively to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives as well as strategic planning.
Understanding how important DEIAA is to Palomar College, she was excited when the job offer came. She said, “when I saw the call from Palomar and I saw how important Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility and Anti-Racism was, it was really compelling.”
Dr. Belisle admires the commitment of DEIAA to Palomar. Specifically, the emphasis on Accessibility and Anti-Racism at the school because of its boldness. She shared her respect for Palomar taking the extra step to inclusivity and directness by saying, “ooh this is very exciting.” It is more common for a school to promote only DEI, so it was intriguing for her to be part of something more. She likes the idea of “really making some change” and shared that Palomar “looks like a good place to be.”
Dr. Belisle’s role as Chief Diversity Officer of Palomar is still developing.
Her main goal, right now, is to figure out the needs of the Palomar community. Filling gaps where they are needed and updating old policies. She emphasized the importance of collaboration and shared governance. She believes in “making sure we amplify voices that are not always heard.”
She also mentioned possibly revising the mission and vision at the college. Dr. Belisle explained how important it is to address matters from the past and find where there is room to improve.
So far, her first week has consisted of many different meetings, hearing from new people and getting familiar with new faces. She says it’s the best way to do it. In order to gauge where she is most needed, she emphasized that “you got to hear from the people.”
Dr. Belisle said she likes Palomar so far and believes it’s an exciting time to join the community. She senses Palomar is on the cusp of change and growth. “I think as new people come in, they bring new ideas and different things,” she said.
Dr. Belisle doesn’t know what her role is going to look like quite yet, but she hopes to be accessible to students. She shared, “my whole goal the first couple weeks is making sure that I’m meeting with everybody.” Whether that’s focus groups, student meetings, or even just open office hours to talk. Dr. Belisle wants students to know that “I am going to be accessible… you’re going to see me at all types of events.”
Overall, she plans to find ways to best support the community of Palomar and help empower students. Her two main goals as the new Chief Diversity Officer right now, are accessibility and engagement. She plans on making it her priority to be “on the frontline doing things.”