College of DuPage Names Nevien Shaabneh as New Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

By: Brian Kleemann

Nevien Shaabneh

Nevien Shaabneh, Ph.D., brings more than 20 years of experience to her new role as Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at College of DuPage.

“There is so much more to education than just teaching content,” she said. “People bring their whole selves to schools, and we need to recognize the importance of attending to the whole person. DEI is essentially about humanizing spaces and places to ensure everyone is treated with the dignity they deserve.”

COD President Dr. Brian Caputo said Shaabneh’s engagement with the campus community will benefit student success.

“Dr. Shaabneh has an impressive history of working on DEI efforts with institutions across the country, and that experience will help her make a positive impact at College of DuPage,” he said.

Shaabneh earned a Bachelor of Arts in secondary education from University of Illinois Chicago, a Master of Arts in education from Saint Xavier University and a Ph.D. in literacy, language and culture from UIC. She also earned the Certified Diversity Executive designation from the Institute for Diversity Certification.

She began her career teaching high school AP English but found herself drawn to DEI work, becoming the equity coordinator for her high school. During the past 20 years, Shaabneh also provided diversity consulting for a wide range of organizations, including educational institutions and nonprofits. As a published novelist and children’s book author, she has a unique insight and expertise on DEI that has been sought after by leaders in the book publishing industry. Shaabneh also has shared her expertise at numerous writing conferences.

Her work includes conducting research to inform diversity and equity initiatives; implementing workshops for leadership teams to help them recruit, hire and retain a diverse workforce; creating and implementing equitable hiring rubrics; implementing diverse, equitable and inclusive grievance procedures and protocols to align with company cultures; and creating training programs to develop employees’ skills.

“It’s important to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels heard, respected and valued,” she said. “This not only benefits individuals but is also vital for the success of any organization.”

She believes in the power of community colleges and was impressed by COD’s early commitment to DEI work in 2019.

“Community colleges are institutions that serve the community and provide necessary access to education and vocational training,” she said. “They are critical in preparing students for their future careers, whether they plan to transfer to a four-year-university or choose to complete a technical education program.

“I am excited to connect with people at College of DuPage and share my passion for this work. I am looking forward to learning more about their efforts, listening to their input and needs, and continuing this important work together. I see opportunities where I can make a great impact and look forward to being a part of them.”