Diversity at SU

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Diversity at Southwestern / Initiatives


Institutional Commitments

  • Adopted the Official Diversity Statement (approved by the University Council in 2010)
  • Established the Office of Diversity Education (now named the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Center) to support the continued development of a positive campus climate.
  • Created the DIBE Coalition to promote a diverse student, staff, and faculty body and an inclusive environment that is equally welcoming to all
  • Developed a diversity and inclusivity strategic plan
  • Included a DIBE theme in the tactical plan.
  • Lacrella, Excelencia, others
  • More meeting spaces in new residence halls
  • Faculty, Staff, and Board diversity compared to national medians
  • Tactical Plan–DIBE, diversity coordinator

Admission and Financial Aid

  • Developed a strategic plan to increase diversity of the overall student population, leading to the most diverse incoming class in university history in 2020
  • Offer the Bishop Ernest T. Dixon Jr. Scholarship in partnership with the Texas Methodist Foundation to high-achieving African-American, Hispanic/Latina, and Native-American students.
  • Held workshops for faculty and staff on increasing and understanding diversity, including “Students of Color at a PWI (Predominantly White Institution): The Importance of a Sense of Belonging,” “Cultivating Gender-Inclusive and Queer-Friendly Classrooms,” and “Disability as Diversity in Higher Ed: Resisting Academic Ableism.”
  • Admission has partnered with EAB on a new initiative, College Greenlight, which helps support and recruit first-generation, lower-income, and historically underserved students. The College Greenlight seeks to develop a diverse pipeline of students who are more likely to apply, enroll, and succeed, and we will be part of a pilot program that will target seniors in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Houston, and Dallas. In recognition of our growing number of Hispanic/Latinx families, our financial aid office now employs a bilingual counselor, and this year we will begin work on website/material upgrades that will include Spanish language translations.
  • Southwestern has partnered with Grupo Salinas and Centro Richard B. Salinas Pliego to create two new scholarships for high school students in Mexico.


  • Created a new minor in race and ethnicity studies
  • Host an annual Race and Ethnicity Studies Symposium each January as part of the Martin Luther King Dream Week celebrations.
  • Created a social-justice curricular requirement that ensures every student takes at least one course that examines the relationship between socially constructed categories of difference and inequality 
  • SCOPE - SCOPE’s mission is “to foster a culture of research at Southwestern, made possible by student-faculty collaboration; to promote student investigative learning, persistence, self-efficacy, and success; and to create an inclusive and diverse research community.”  It is stated on the SCOPE website and application that SCOPE is dedicated to equal opportunities and creating an inclusive learning environment in all programs at Southwestern. We strongly encourage applications and welcome participants from underrepresented and diverse racial, ethnic, economic, and religious backgrounds.
  • HR sits in on staff searches to present AA guidelines (see TP 3.12 and others)
  • Thematic hires

Buildings and Memorials

  • Changed the name of Ernest L. Kurth Hall to Ernest Clark Hall in honor of the first Black student to attend Southwestern
  • Established the Cross-Cultural Center for students to use for meetings and trainings and as a safe gathering place
  • Provide resources on diversity and inclusivity through the Cross-Cultural Library.
  • Designated gender-inclusive restrooms across campus
  • Established the Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Center. The center creates diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments through quality education, robust research, and community building.

Faculty Development

  • Used funding from an Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) Faculty of Color Uniting for Success (FOCUS) grant to create a program for faculty of color from ACS institutions that includes a summer institute, networking, and ongoing peer mentoring
  • Provided support for a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation focused on recruiting and fostering the success of emerging scholars from underrepresented backgrounds and on strengthening inclusive pedagogy at Southwestern and the University of Texas at Austin
  • Added a component to the Orientation for New Faculty that introduces the diversity of our student body, provides an overview of our commitment to inclusive and supportive environments for students, and showcases strategies for pursuing this commitment
  • Hosted book groups on such texts as Claude Steele’s Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do and Jay Howard’s Discussion in the College Classroom 
  • Offered workshops for faculty on inclusive teaching, including “Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in the Advising Context,”; “Supporting Students in Distress,”; “Disability & Trauma, Accessibility & Presence, Disclosure, and Power,” “Cultivating Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Our Classrooms”; “Syllabus Design for Engaged, Inclusive Learning”; and “Bandwidth Recovery: Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Resources Lost to Poverty, Racism, and Social Marginalization”
  • Provide funding for faculty members who are underrepresented in their fields or on campus; whose research, teaching, and/or service helps to diversify the university; or who are actively involved in cultivating a climate of equity and inclusion on campus to attend the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity Faculty Success Program, an online mentoring resource.
  • Hosted a workshop titled “Rethinking Mentoring: How to Build Communities of Inclusion, Support, and Accountability” that focused on understanding the challenges that underrepresented faculty face and how to effectively mentor them.
  • Offered faculty the opportunity to attend a webinar titled “Advancing Diversity and Inclusivity through Multilevel Strategic Leadership.”
  • Participate in the Higher Education Research Institute faculty survey, which includes a module that assesses the campus climate.
  • Mellon Foundation Grant ($100K) to provide technology training for Dillard University faculty after Hurricane Katrina (2005-07)
  • FOC CONNECT mentoring initiative funded by the ACS in 2022-23 supports cross-institutional mentoring. Led by Drs. Alicia Moore and Maha Zewail-Foote.

Faculty Recruitment and Retention

  • Adopted an equal-opportunity hiring policy for faculty as well as staff with faculty rank
  • Established the Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Equity Task Force, which is charged with examining existing systems, developing strategies to assist in the recruitment and retention of faculty of color, and exploring the intersections and discrepancies between campus committee charges and strategic plans
  • Designed faculty search committee training on understanding implicit bias, implementing effective practices to mitigate bias, increasing the diversity of applicant pools, and actively searching for candidates who can contribute to the university’s goals for a diverse, inclusive community
  • Provided faculty status and review committee training on implicit bias in evaluations, bias in student evaluations, and other questions of equity and diversity as they relate to faculty evaluations
  • A question regarding faculty work towards creating inclusion and belonging has been included on BAR. 
  • A question regarding departmental work towards creating inclusion and belonging has been included on Dept Annual Report form. 
  • The SU template language for job ads was improved
  • Meetings of faculty of color were held, helping to continue to foster a sense of community and allow faculty of color opportunities to discuss shared concerns and suggestions.
  • A change to the BAR from that highlights DEI work in service: “Please reflect on your service activities (either within or outside of the University) that foster diversity, inclusion, belonging, and equity”
  • A policy that the Status Committee addresses the ways that racial bias plays out in the tenure and promotion process:
    • In Status’s letter to the Dean: “Are there instances of bias in any of the material (department letter, student evaluations?)”
    • Status should address bias in the process: use rubrics, the order of review (should be the same for every candidate).
  • Sent emails to faculty of color throughout the year, including sharing information about the work that DIBE has been doing
  • Provided written feedback to FSC requesting that they more clearly address issues of racial bias in the teaching observation process
  • Provided FSC with recommendations on ways to highlight DEI work in the Brief Annual Reports
  • Provided feedback to the Dean of the Faculty on the president’s plan to submit a proposal for SU to become an Hispanic Serving Institution
  • Asked the Dean of Faculty in the fall and again in the spring for updates on how Southwestern will improve the Visa process for international faculty members
  • Had DIBE description added to the Committee Preference form: "DIBE helps to advance current university policies and practices, and recommends revisions with the goal of improving the recruitment, hiring, retention of faculty of color (FOC) and international faculty
  • Developed a plan with the Dean that requires the Status Committee to address racial bias in the tenure and promotion process
  • Began the process of asking the Honors and Awards Committee if there are more equitable ways to distribute teaching and research awards
  • Provided the DOF with names of experts who could conduct diversity training this coming fall. Our institutional goal should be to have recurrent DIBE training.
  • Discussed how DIBE can lead in forging a path towards hiring a chief diversity officer/diversity ombudsman for the 2024-25 strategic plan
  • Proposal to add changes to the classroom observation protocol to clarify the procedure for requesting outside observers was approved by Faculty Steering Committee
  • Proposal to add changes to the Faculty Handbook language to include DEI work under service was voted on and approved by the Faculty 
  • Proposal to allow faculty members to read and respond to department letters was voted on and approved by the Faculty
  • Proposal to create a DIBE Coalition which includes faculty, staff and student committees was voted and approved by Faculty
  • Two meetings of faculty of color were held (one in fall and the other in the spring), helping to continue to foster a sense of community and allow faculty of color opportunities to discuss shared concerns and suggestions. These meetings are a continuation of FOCUS.

Student Affairs

  • Created a discussion forum called Our Stories Matter in which students, faculty, and staff have been invited to learn more about and reflect on racial justice and civil rights
  • Created the Persistence Committee to support first-year students, including first-generation students.
  • Established the Captain’s Academy, which provides social and academic programs for first-generation students in their first year.
  • Launched Daily Revision Advances Further Thinking (DRAFT), a program that uses writing and various forms of embodied and contemplative practices to generate support, solidarity, and community building for students who have historically been underrepresented in higher education.
  • Founded Embracing Quantitative Understanding and the Inquiry Process (EQUIP), a program for admitted first-year students, typically underrepresented students, who are interested in majoring in a math or science field.
  • Host the annual Multicultural Recognition Ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of students who have been advocates for diversity and social justice on campus
  • Conducted campus climate surveys to assess students’ perceptions of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and class.
  • Sponsor an annual diversity training retreat for students
  • Offer a variety of social justice and diversity workshops, including a stereotypes workshop, diversity circles, difficult dialogues circles, a leadership diversity workshop, an identity workshop, a social economics workshop, and an intersectionality workshop
  • Host Lavender Spaces training for creating meaningful safe spaces for marginalized orientations, gender alignments, and intersex (MOGAI) or LGBTQ+ students
  • HBCU Partnerships with Dillard and Huston-Tillotson Universities
  • $1 million in Federal Earmarks (Hispanic student program, $263K; TLCC equipment, $463K; and college preparatory program, $463K)
  • Engaged Diversity Grants ($400K) from The Mellon Foundation for student and faculty exchanges (Dillard, Morehouse, Hutson-Tillotson, and Rhodes as partners) (2004 – 2010)
  • Hosted Jeremy Battle, an exchange student from Morehouse College (2008)
  • Developed a “Greek Coalition” that is inclusive of all Greek letter organizations. The coalition was developed to create a collaborative and welcoming community for all fraternities and sororities. Provided a sense of belonging for the historically African American and Latina sororities.
  • Counseling & Health staff have actively integrated diversity education into our clinical staff meetings and are working on developing and expanding cultural competency and exploring how to work across a broad spectrum of identity issues and concerns.
  • Training related to unconscious bias is included in the training programs for the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board and the University Committee on Discipline.
  • Counseling and Health have two ongoing support groups centered on marginalized populations (students of color and trans and gender non-conforming students) and have tried others (lgbt) in the past, but the students did not engage with those. 
  • A staff member of the counseling center sits on the DEC committee.
  • The Health Educator is the advisor to the coalition for chronic illness student org.
  • Heritage Month celebrations (i.e. Hispanic and Native American Heritage Months, Black and Women's History Months)
  • Lavender and Multicultural Graduation 
  • Institutionalized DIBE interview questions for both staff and students
  • DIBE Certificate Program: A 5-week series tackling social inequality within organizations. We will introduce different dimensions of diversity and inclusion and will discuss how to address systemic forms of social inequities.
  • Coordinate and facilitate a "required" diversity and inclusion session during Welcome Week.
  • Our active bystander program explicitly addresses systemic oppression and microaggressions and gives participants the tools to recognize and intervene in moments of harmful language and behaviors. This program has continued to grow over the past 4 years, and as of fall 2022, all incoming students are required to attend an active bystander training during Welcome Week. 
  • We dedicate at least one out of the ten Pirates in Progress meetings to engage in a DIBE activity. We typically invite someone from the JEDI Center to facilitate. 
  • Sprog Orientation Leaders receive DIBE training, so they are more prepared to support incoming students with a variety of identities and experiences. 
  • The Mosaic Mini-Grant provides funding to student projects and experiences that help them make meaning of their college experiences. This fund provides students with access to unique opportunities by reducing financial barriers. 
  • The Division offers a menu of workshops and presentations for anyone at the university to request. While the presentations cover a broad spectrum of topics, many support diversity and inclusion efforts, either explicitly (i.e., microaggressions, white fragility, community agreements, navigating challenging conversations) or adjacently (i.e., team building, embodied self-care, mindfulness, stress management, protest safety).
  • The Division has hosted professional development in-service days for all division staff (summer ‘21 and ‘22). Diversity and inclusion training were provided.
  • Diversity training for RAs is conducted annually.
  • During RA recruitment and selection, we connect with diverse groups on campus in an effort to Increase diversity and awareness within the RA staff. 
  • Within the past four academic years, diversity within RA staff members has consistently ranged from 43% to 57% students of color.

University Staffing

  • Successfully recruited an underrepresented minority postdoctoral fellow for the Sociology and Anthropology Department. 
  • Hired an underrepresented minority staff member in the Counseling Center
  • Created a new position for a Hispanic Student Success Coordinator. This person will design, implement and evaluate academic success programs, workshops, presentations, and other innovative activities that provide academic and retention support for Hispanic students. 
  • Counseling & Health has successfully recruited staff of color for 3 of 5 open positions since the fall of 2020.
  • Successfully recruited a director of student inclusion and diversity.
  • Currently conducting a search process for a coordinator of student inclusion and diversity.

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