A dive into Mia Hardy’s vision for COD: Candidates vie for the associate vice president, student affairs position


Hannah Davis (Photo Editor)

Mia Hardy during an open interview hosted by COD

Tessa Morton, News Reporter

More student counselors and greater attention to the needs of students of color could be the hallmarks of Mia Hardy’s tenure if she becomes College of DuPage’s (COD) new associate vice president of student affairs.

Last week, COD hosted their first of three open interviews for the position. On Thursday, April 11, Mia Hardy got her chance to answer questions and communicate her vision for the role.

Hardy began her career as an admissions counselor, and over the 20 years of her career as a higher education professional has worked in various roles, including as the director of Student Success and Retention, the director of Student Leadership Development, the associate vice president of Student Life, and the dean of Student Services. Central to Hardy’s career has been her drive to support student success. She described herself as results-orientated and repeatedly stated she “loves getting results for the win for the student.”

Hardy, with a doctorate in Sociology from Georgia State, was asked about student diversity programs and counseling services here at COD. Through her work at other community colleges, she had experience working with student wellness centers and, in her view, they were frequently highly understaffed.

“In community colleges, we are helping students navigate a myriad of issues that are not necessarily as prevalent at four-year institutions, “Hardy said, “In my experience, the counseling staff and the counseling wellness areas have not been adequately staffed to best serve the needs of students.”

Hardy included looking into the counseling staff structure as one of her priorities if hired here at COD. She also discussed the importance of addressing the needs of diverse students.

“Much of my work within my career has been geared towards serving underserved populations,” Hardy said. That includes not only students of color, but also students of diverse sexualities, religions and abilities. Hardy also has focused on serving first-generation students and low-income students.

“I think that’s a part of diversity as well,” she said. “Most people think about race, but when we take a deeper dive into the College of DuPage, we can find all kinds of diversity.”

Hardy supports the idea of implementing a multicultural center at COD, but added the school should not be singular in its focus.

“We want to have a campus climate, a campus culture that values diversity and inclusion,” she continued. “It should be infused throughout the campus so that a center is not just something that we are doing to address diversity, because sometimes those initiatives are just ‘service’.”

Hardy works at Elgin Community College, but she did not divulge any information about her work and experience there. Her work with the Pathways program at City Colleges of Chicago was highlighted and discussed, however, as COD is about halfway through the Pathways implementation process. Her experience working with the program was of particular interest to those questioning what Hardy could specifically bring to COD. Hardy focused on the utilization of data dives as a resource for not only understanding where the school was falling short in serving students, but also as a stepping stone for understanding why.

You can read more about the first open interview with Scott Friedman in our April 11 issue of the Courier, or online at www.codcourier.org.