Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 73.93
Liaison Jim Dees
Submission Date April 19, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Appalachian State University
PA-6: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 3.00 Jim Dees
Data and Assessment Specialist
Office of Sustailability
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Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

The non-discrimination statement, including the website URL where the policy is publicly accessible:


Appalachian State University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. The University does not discriminate in access to its educational programs and activities, or with respect to hiring or the terms and conditions of employment, on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity and expression, political affiliation, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information or sexual orientation.

Does the institution have a discrimination response protocol or committee (sometimes called a bias response team) to respond to and support those who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, act of discrimination or hate crime?:

A brief description of the institution’s discrimination response protocol or team (including examples of actions taken during the previous three years):

Four policies protect campus members from harassment and discrimination and can be found at https://report.appstate.edu. Two campus offices are responsible for investigating claims of harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment and interpersonal violence – the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance (EDC) and the Office of Student Conduct (OSC). Both offices also provide information to affected parties about on-campus and community-based support options such as counseling.

EDC discrimination response: Upon receipt of an oral or written complaint, the EDC director/Title IX officer conducts a preliminary investigation, including interviews with the complainant and the accused individual ("respondent") and any relevant witnesses. If it is appears that immediate action is necessary to protect any/all involved parties from harm, university administrators and immediate supervisors are notified and actions deemed appropriate are taken. If the investigator concludes that the preliminary evidence indicates that university policy or law may have been violated, a full investigation is conducted in consultation with the appropriate supervisors. Witnesses who may have information relevant to the complaint are interviewed. The investigator presents a summary report of the investigation to the appropriate administrator/supervisor. The investigator may make recommendations to the administrator/supervisor, but the administrator/supervisor has the ultimate responsibility to make the decision if disciplinary sanctions are warranted based on the totality of the situation.

OSC response: All cases of student-on-student harassment are heard and resolved by the OSC through informal or formal means. During an informal resolution, the Conduct Review Officer will, in their professional judgment on the basis of the information provided or in consultation with appropriate University officials (e.g., Title IX Coordinator; University Housing; the Dean of Students), propose findings regarding any alleged violation(s) and may specify any sanction(s) described in this Code. Unless an informal resolution is accepted, the Conduct Review Officer refers the case to a hearing for formal The Director may also refer any case directly to a hearing without the option of an informal resolution.

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit students from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit staff from underrepresented groups?:

Does the institution have programs specifically designed to recruit faculty from underrepresented groups?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to recruit students, staff and/or faculty from underrepresented groups:

please see: http://diversity.appstate.edu/recruitment/

The ASCEND Program is an engaging, intentional, high-impact supplemental orientation program* targeting first time Appalachian State University students from marginalized and historically underrepresented backgrounds. The ASCEND Program is based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and establishes a solid foundation for new students to feel a sense of belonging and community, be empowered to succeed with knowledge, connections and resources, and to explore and give back to their new home-away-from-home.
Multicultural Prospective Student Day is designed to provide high school seniors with a firsthand view of Appalachian and the vast resources we offer, from small class sizes and quality of academic instruction to first-rate facilities and friendly people. High school seniors come to Appalachian's campus to attend classes and campus events, including Multicultural Club Connection (MCC), mini information sessions, Fall Open House and social events.
Multicultural Transfer Student Day is a free one-day event for diverse transfer students who want a first-hand look at Appalachian. Participants will experience our beautiful location, learn about our strong academic programs, explore resources for diversity and inclusion, and engage with faculty and current students. Students will have the opportunity to learn about financial aid and student leadership opportunities at Appalachian.

App State is a member of HERC, which is a non-profit consortium of over 700 colleges, universities, hospitals, research labs, government agencies, and related non- and for-profit organizations. Consortium members share a commitment to hiring the most diverse and talented faculty, staff, and executives.

The Faculty Fellows Program recruits and retains faculty members with life experiences unique to Appalachian's underrepresented student and faculty populations.

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support, academic support, or other programs to support students from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support staff from underrepresented groups on campus?:

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support or other programs to support faculty from underrepresented groups on campus?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support students, staff and/or faculty from underrepresented groups:

The Office of Multicultural Student Development, a part of the Division of Student Affairs, contributes to the academic mission of Appalachian State University by providing marginalized and underrepresented students with mentoring, advocacy, community and identity affirmation; as well as by offering multiple and varied learning opportunities for all Appalachian students to develop an appreciation for diversity and different perspectives, enhance self-awareness, increase multicultural knowledge and strengthen intercultural competency.

Faculty and Staff:
The Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance (EDC) and the Office of Disability Services (ODS) are charged to ensure that equal access to education and employment is guaranteed, respectful treatment is assured, and an appreciation of differences is fostered for all members of the university community.

Here are the Chancellor’s Commission on Diversity 2015 proposals and progress as of August 2017:

Engage a consultant to provide education to all supervisors on the topic of creating an inclusive campus.

2015-16 – A short list of possible consultants was created; in the interim, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance completed workshops on unconscious bias to over 1,000 students, faculty and staff members. (It was not confirmed whether the possible consultants were contacted.)

Spring 2017 – Infusion Inclusion project was implemented with Dr. Gloria Campbell Whatley of UNC Charlotte with Appalachian’s Chief Diversity Officer Willie Fleming, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Sue Edwards, Director of Institutional Research, Assessment and Planning Heather Langdon and Dr. Brandy Bryson of the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies. The project included 1,895 students and 328 faculty, staff and administrators completing an Inclusions Needs Survey, and 93 faculty, staff, administrators and students participating in focus groups. An on-campus Inclusion Institute Summer Diversity Institute June 5-7 provided approximately 50 faculty and staff for the first day of inclusion education and 25 faculty the second and third day with training to assess and infuse a more inclusive course syllabus.

2016-17 – The Chief Diversity Officer consulted with National Coalition Building Institute to provide education/skills to supervisors, faculty, staff and students on the topic of creating an inclusive excellence through collaboration and coalition building.

Implement a bias incident response process. This recommendation was provided not only by the recent Commission, but also the preceding Taskforce on Diversity.

2015-16 – A bias incident reporting protocol was developed and monitored by a bias incident response team comprised of faculty and staff members, including representation from the Faculty Senate, Dean of Students Office, Multicultural Student Development, and the Council of Chairs. An online reporting form was also developed and posted at bias.appstate.edu. The Equity Peers (a student group out of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance) was also created to communicate the existence of the bias incident reporting protocol to fellow students.

Create an online search committee compliance module.

Summer 2016 – The module was finalized for all roll-out to educate search committee chairs on the compliance parameters governing the search process.

Related to the item above, another proposal recommended that search committees be provided face-to-face education about the ways implicit bias can affect search processes.

2015-16 – All in-person search committee meetings conducted by either the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance (EDC) began including a section focused on concrete steps for diversifying applicant pools and the effects of bias in the search process.

2017 – EDC will offer search committee training throughout fall semester beginning the week of Aug. 21. In order to ensure compliance with equal employment opportunity requirements, all hiring supervisors, search committee chairs and search committee members should attend a session before beginning the search process for any EHRA (faculty or non-faculty) recruitment. Each information session provides guidance related to affirmative action/equal employment opportunity compliance information, search process steps, and recognizing implicit bias in the search and hire process. Learn more or RVSP at https://edc.appstate.edu/ehra-search-committee-training

Expansion of the exit interview process.

In Fall 2016, the exit interview process began being offered to departing employees from all divisions, and the exit interview instrument was updated to capture more climate and identity-based questions. The process was taken over by the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance (as opposed to shared responsibility between EDC and Human Resources).

Creation of a formal mentoring program for students from underrepresented groups.

2015-16 – The L.E.A.D program (Linking Education and Diversity) was revamped and expanded its mentoring program to include three layers. First-year LEAD mentees (predominantly students of color) were connected with upperclassmen LEAD mentors (also predominantly students of color). These upperclassmen LEAD mentors were then asked to complete a survey about their post-college aspirations and using these responses were connected with a professional mentor either that could help advise them on their chosen career or graduate school endeavors. This program has been spearheaded by the Office of Multicultural Student Development.

Fall 2017 – This program will repeat, and next year an assessment component will be added.

Increase awareness of university policies and student conduct processes related to individual and group harassment and discrimination.

2015-16 – The Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance presented on this topic to a number of student groups, including the Multicultural Presidents Roundtable.

These efforts have continued and remain ongoing.

Assess the feasibility of a complete implementation of the holistic review process in admissions. This proposal would expand the breadth of the holistic review process that admissions currently engages in when reviewing applications for incoming students.

2015-16 – The holistic review process in admissions was expanded further from its pilot season in 2015.

This process continues but is not yet at the stage of having all applications reviewed holistically.

Translate admissions materials into Spanish and provide informational sessions and campus tours in Spanish catering to families for which Spanish is the primary language in the home. Survey prospective students to assess whether there is a need to provide such services in additional languages.

2015-16 – On request, both admissions presentations and campus tours began being offered in Spanish. In a collaborative effort, the Office of Admissions developed a virtual campus tour offered in English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese to allow students who may be unable/unwilling to travel to Boone the opportunity to “visit” campus.

2016-17 – Translation into Spanish was expanded to publications.

Formalize relationships with secondary schools and community-based organizations in areas with a greater density of underrepresented populations.

2015-16 – Using the Gadugi Initiative (led by faculty member Dr. Allen Bryant) as a foundational program, conversations began occurring to determine what schools and community-based organizations can be connected to the work of our faculty members.

This effort is on-going, with AsUlead making connections with North Carolina public and private schools to increase underrepresented student enrollment.

2016-17 – The Marriage Family Therapy Pilot Clinic through the Reich College of Education is set to open fall 2017. Participants in the college’s Systemic Multicultural Counseling Certificate Program will be practicing therapists in the pilot clinic, serving overflow clients from Appalachian’s Counseling Center and specializing in work with marginalized populations on campus.

Implement a strategy that provides access to hair services for students of color.

2015-16 – Conversations began with stylists of color who provide haircare services for textured hair in Boone.

2016-17 – As of August 2017, Kevin-Kutz Barber Shop is offering hair services locally. Discussions have been taking place with other providers, as well.

Conduct a campus climate survey every three years and annual focus groups to assess the inclusive nature of the campus.

Spring 2017 – An Inclusion Needs Assessment Survey for all faculty, teaching staff, administrators, staff and students was administered to gauge the extent to which successful inclusive practices are already a part of the Appalachian Experience and to determine the need for additional practices designed to promote environments that are more inclusive.

Identify and reward initiatives pertaining to outstanding work in the field of diversity by individual students, faculty and staff, student groups and departments/units on campus.

2016-17 – The Office of Multicultural Student Development recognized and awarded students, faculty and staff at the end of the 2017 school year for their accomplishments in promoting diversity and inclusive excellence during the school year.

This initiative is being expanded. A Faculty Staff Infusion Inclusion Award Certificate was presented at the Inclusion Infusion Summer Diversity Institute, a second Faces of Courage Award program is being planned for fall 2018, and additional rewards for diversity initiative by students, faculty and staff being identified by the University Planning and Priorities Council.

Revamp and restore the faculty fellows program in order to better recruit faculty members with a demonstrated commitment to diversity in their respective areas of study.

2015-16 – Academic Affairs began assessing options related to more intentional recruitment efforts for faculty members from underrepresented populations.

2016-17 – Chief Diversity Officer conducted interviews with former Fellows Program recipients, underrepresented faculty and staff, and affinity group leaders. The purpose of the interviews engaged underrepresented faculty and staff, in dialogue to learn their concerns, questions and suggestions as we consider more culturally inclusive and excellent ways of serving underrepresented faculty and staff at Appalachian. The information learned from these interviews will assist in the university’s efforts to create a more sustainable environment for diversity, inclusion and excellence.


Does the institution have training and development programs, teaching fellowships and/or other programs that specifically aim to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members?:

A brief description of the institution’s programs to support and prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members:

Appalachian’s administration is strongly committed to diversity, offering strong support to various initiatives. Students learn best in diverse educational environments; therefore, central to the depth and quality of intellectual life at Appalachian is recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty. A diverse faculty attracts a diverse student body, thus enriching all learning, working, and social interactions and preparing students to thrive in an increasingly diverse world. One significant step that Appalachian took to recruit and retain a more diverse was instating the Faculty Fellows Program, first introduced in 1993, but formally launched in a campus-wide initiative in 2002, in conjunction with the establishment of the Office of Diversity (now the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance).

Does the institution produce a publicly accessible inventory of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus?:

Does the institution offer housing options to accommodate the special needs of transgender and transitioning students?:

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

Other Websites related to discrimination reporting or responses:


Other Websites related to discrimination reporting or responses:


The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.