San Bernardino Valley College Interim President Dr. Scott W. Thayer recently led a delegation to Ghana for a professional experience of a lifetime.

The team attended the All African Diaspora Education Summit at the University of Cape Coast, where they spent several days learning about ways educators can better support Black students and exploring important historical sites. The conference, held Sept. 19 through 24, attracted hundreds of attendees from around the world.

This was a first-time opportunity for SBVC, and during lectures and breakout sessions, participants were able to learn more about the governance of community colleges; supporting Black students, faculty, and staf; creating clear policies on diversity and hiring; being visible to student clubs and cultivating opportunities for learning; and how to address anti-Blackness.

SBVC counselor Tahirah Simpson, who is also co-chair of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges Black Caucus, proposed that members of the SBVC community attend the conference, knowing it would be a "profound professional development opportunity."

While still in Ghana, the SBVC delegation discussed how to implement what they learned when back on campus, and "how can we change how we do business to best serve students," Simpson said. There was commonality as well, with the team wanting to create programs focused on highlighting the work of students, especially those who are Black, and doing the work to fully execute new ideas.

"You have to maintain an open mind and be willing change things," Simpson said. "That was my biggest takeaway."