Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Nikki Hicks, a native of Petersburg, Virginia and a graduate of Petersburg High School is an Associate Professor of Business at John Tyler Community College. She holds a B.S. in Marketing and Fashion Merchandising from Hampton University, a MBA from Averett University, and DBA from Walden University.

With more than 20 years of retail experience as a division manager and corporate buyer, Dr. Hicks has used her corporate experience and enthusiasm for the classroom to teach in higher education for the past 12 years at Southside Virginia Community College, Virginia State University, and John Tyler Community College.

Nikki Hicks, in her own words:

It’s critically important to have representation in the classroom from different backgrounds and cultures that reflect the demographics in our service areas. The communities served by our system are diverse in many ways, in not only ethnicity and race, but religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.

Faculty with diverse experiences and perspectives can enhance the student’s educational tenure at the college. Further, the student’s experience at the College often serves as the foundation for life’s next steps, whether it is transferring to another institution of higher learning or going into the workforce. Interaction with minority faculty sets the stage for what is to come, which is a more diverse workforce and community.

We have become a global society, and it is important that we keep that in the forefront of our educational objectives. The College may be a student’s first entry into a society outside of the sphere of his/her home and community, and our system needs to be the place that facilitates the exchange of new ideas and respect for differences.

The benefit to all students is the exchange of ideas and exposure to new perspectives and/or ideas. When you have diverse groups in the classroom, the conversation and other interactions are a great opportunity for sharing different perspectives which, in turn, gives way to a better understanding of and respect for each other. Diversity begets creative ideas, different perspectives, and student engagement and retention.

Studies also have shown that an organization that is committed to diversity is one with a competitive advantage. Working at John Tyler Community College, I have observed an administration that is committed to faculty diversity in the classroom. While there is room to add to the ranks, the majority of our academic programs have faculty of color -that clearly is a benefit to us all.

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Virginia's Community Colleges

Created more than 50 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 270,000 students a year in credit and workforce courses.

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