New Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Offers Prospect of Community Development

Anticipated leadership for two Anoka colleges while overexposure to injustices continue.

This photo of Brandyn Woodard, which the Campus Eye obtained from the Anoka Ramsey Community College website, has been authenticated based on its contents and other Campus Eye reporting.

This photo of Brandyn Woodard, which the Campus Eye obtained from the Anoka Ramsey Community College website, has been authenticated based on its contents and other Campus Eye reporting.

Brandyn Woodard is the new vice president of equity and inclusion at Anoka Technical and Anoka-Ramsey Community College.  

He has fulfilled this role at both colleges in a tumultuous time, yet the modern tumult is neither unfamiliar nor unknown.  

“The discrimination, the misogyny, the sexism, the violence against minoritized and marginalized people — that’s not new — what’s new is that we have access to it in a way that we didn’t before,” he stated. 

Woodard is an alumnus of Carnegie Mellon and Webster University. He alluded to joining the Peace Corps after completing his BA in Spanish and graduating from CMU. He then lived and taught in Turkmenistan, in Central Asia, for about three years. 

Once returned to the United States, he secured a position at a community college in his home city St. Louis, Missouri, working with college students from the Caribbean and Central America. Here, his work in higher education began.  

Since 1998, Woodard has worked in international and multicultural education.  

“I’m working for world peace. I’m not working for this world peace where we all get along and never have any problems. I’m working for the world peace where we resolve our conflicts without killing each other, literally or figuratively, with our words or with our actions.”  

Peaceful environments, he suggested, become hindered by a form of passiveness that has an ability to affect community decline. He alluded to everyone’s responsibility. 

“We have got to tell the truth about some of our stories whether there is joy or pain, or awareness and insight, or ignorance, we’ve got to own that,” Woodard continued, “some of us would rather not go into the realm of making a mistake, so we just aren’t going to practice, we’re not going to try, we’ll just stay within our own little comfort bubble.” 

He expressed sentiments like elation and triumph can be shared through nonconformity. 

“In order for us to have healthy relationships with ourselves and others and the environment and the world and universe, as we know it, it requires us to know ourselves, know each other, and then develop the skills to have a healthy interaction, fully recognizing that we’re not always going to agree,” expressed Woodard. 

As for his role on the two campuses, he mentioned that he wants to begin by getting a sense of each campus, the culture, and his coworkers. He plans to continue gathering information, listening to other’s stories, and gaining a sense of what is needed and where the needs are and where his skills match, to actively assist any community progress. 

Woodard: “Make it personal. Do the work. Every day.”