Allison Hector-Alexander always knew she wanted to work in the ‘helping’ field, but never knew she wanted to work with students.
That was until 13 years ago when she got hired by the student government at Durham College to create a women’s centre, campus food centre, LGBTQ+ centre and a sexual health resource centre.
Hector-Alexander, 43, went to school for social work counselling, as well she has her master’s in education at what is now called Ontario Tech University.
Her previous job was working at a violence against women and children’s centre in Toronto. She came to Durham College to create something new where a gap existed. She says the job at DC came at a time where she wanted a change.
Hector-Alexander’s role at DC is to oversee all diversity and inclusion services. It can be anything from mediation, human rights work and helping students when it comes to diversity and inclusion.
The help she gives is not just for students having problems in school. Students can also come to her if they’re having trouble at home and don’t know what to do about it, she says.
Hector-Alexander is one of the reasons the school now has gender neutral washrooms. These washrooms are going to give students and faculty the chance to feel safe and secure in their own school, she says, adding it’s going to make students who are transitioning feel like they are being heard and they matter.
Hector-Alexander is also part of the Start Strong program at Durham College, which helps students transition into college.
She also oversees the First Peoples Indigenous Centre, where she creates programs for the campus community around education and understanding Indigenous ways of knowing and doing.
The RISE program is another program she oversees.
“RISE is an outreach and access program which helps students as young as six-years-old start talking about their future opportunities,” she says. It helps students who want to go to post-secondary school but think it can’t happen because of barriers in their way.
One of the things they do in the RISE program is help introduce students to Durham College and the culture around the school. They also coach these students to success and give them the support they need, she says.
Hector-Alexander oversees multiple programs across the school offering a variety of resources to students and faculty.
For this school year, Hector-Alexander hopes to have an education piece around consent and make sure there is an overall action plan and strategy in place when students and faculty need it.
“I want Durham College to be known as the institution where students can be themselves, and know that there are spaces that respect and celebrate who they are,” she explains.