Nominated largely for his virtual sharing of Black-based literature, Dr. DeWitt Scott has done a lot of work to educate others on human differences such as class, religion, language, gender and sexuality. He was named the 2022 Embracing Diversity Award winner.

In fall 2020, Scott submitted the first video for Moraine Reads, a collaborative effort of book recommendations between the Library and Communications Department to promote reading. Then he created eight more videos that semester and continued submitting for a year. Each one demonstrated his in-depth knowledge of African American studies and global cultures while highlighting major scholarly debates around significant issues and connections to other impactful texts. From political leaders and critical race theory to religion and athletes, his selections run the gamut.

“Scott inspires students, faculty and staff to become seekers of knowledge and to look beyond the commonly recommended conical texts. He shows that one book alone will not provide the complete answers. Rather, like a true scholar, he demonstrates that a deeper understanding is gained by reading and connecting ideas among many different texts,” said one of his nominators.

With a background of book-filled shelves, he recommends a vast array of literature and has received positive feedback from coworkers and strangers, some eager to read his selections.

“He truly demonstrates that knowledge enlightens and pushes for a deeper understanding of marginalized and global communities,” said one of his nominators.

This year, Scott helped assemble an online and physical display for Black History Month. He also worked with public service librarian Hannah Carlton to create two video discussions on the relevance of community college education and Chicago’s history.

“His videos guide students, faculty and interested audiences beyond Moraine Valley. His ever readiness to share his knowledge with the college community and beyond is beyond inspiring and deeply appreciated,” said another of his nominators.

Because of those videos, Scott was recruited to help develop the Difficult Conversations Initiative with Kevin Navratil, political science professor. The two conduct several virtual discussions on sensitive issues such as critical race theory, cancel culture and the erosion of democracy in the U.S.

In his daily job, Scott works with first-time, full-time students, nontraditional students and Chicago Public School graduates. He helps many students who come from various backgrounds navigate the college experience. He loves helping the young minds of tomorrow but also loves books and always has one on hand.

“I’m a book fanatic. I’ve always loved to learn, and books are comforting. Books can help shorten the learning curve because you can never learn everything possible. I’ll read books from positions I disagree with. I read them often to understand what I don’t understand,” Scott said.

As for his award, Scott explained that diversity encompasses so much more than one expectation. “When people think diversity, they automatically think race, but it’s race, class, religion, ableism, language, gender, sexuality. The books I reviewed were about diversity with different aspects.  I covered a lot about religion, class, economics, not just race.”

Scott is happy to be recognized with this honor. “I’m very thankful and grateful for this award. And thankful for Dr. JoAnn Jenkins [dean of Student Success] for being very supportive and allowing me to be who I am in this position,” he said.