Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.15
Liaison Lori Collins-Hall
Submission Date March 5, 2021
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Sterling College (VT)
PA-5: Assessing Diversity and Equity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.88 / 1.00 Laura Berry
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution engaged in a structured assessment process during the previous three years to improve diversity, equity and inclusion on campus?:

A brief description of the assessment process and the framework, scorecard(s) and/or tool(s) used:

Sterling College in Spring '19 conducted a Student and Alumni of Color Survey to better understand their experience at the College and to uncover areas impacting the retention of students of color. Leadership for the study was provided by Dr. Steven Thurston Oliver, a Sterling trustee. Dr. Oliver is an Associate Professor of Secondary and Higher Education at Salem State University. A sociologist and qualitative researcher, he explores the ways in which race, class, gender, and LGBTQ+ identity impacts educational opportunity and academic achievement in secondary and higher education. Prior to Salem State, Dr. Oliver was the assistant vice president for institutional diversity at the University of Kentucky. Semi-structured interviews 60 minutes in length were conducted; the interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed.

To compliment the above survey which was targeted specifically to students and alumni of color, Sterling’s Equity Council conducted a Campus Climate Survey of the full student body to gather information regarding their experiences with bias, discrimination, culture, safety, and satisfaction.

In addition to the above, Sterling College is reviewing Exit Interviews completed by exiting staff at color to address challenges with retention. This information will inform how we onboard and support what we hope is a more diverse faculty once the current hiring process is complete.

Does the assessment process address campus climate by engaging stakeholders to assess the attitudes, perceptions and behaviors of faculty, staff, administrators and students, including the experiences of underrepresented groups?:

Does the assessment process address student outcomes related to diversity, equity and success (e.g. graduation/success and retention rates for underrepresented groups)?:

Does the assessment process address employee outcomes related to diversity and equity (e.g. pay and retention rates for underrepresented groups)?:

A brief description of the most recent assessment findings and how the results are used in shaping policy, programs and initiatives:

Dr. Oliver has presented his findings to the full Board of Trustees and President’s Cabinet and will be presenting to the Faculty Council, Student Engagement Committee, and Equity Council in the very near future. The preceding bodies of the College will explore the following questions based on the emergent themes of responses:

-How can Sterling find ways to enhance the experiences of students of color while increasing the awareness and capacity of faculty and staff to engage across human difference?
-How might the curriculum evolve in ways that reflect what ecological thinking and action looks like in communities of color? Who is doing that work and how can we bring them here?
-How might we prioritize diversifying the faculty and staff to increase representation and support for students of color and expanding the relational experience of our white students?
-How might campus leadership engender trust among students of color such that even in midst of challenging discussions there is the assumption of good intent?
-How can we take advantage of technology to connect students of color with scholars and practitioners of color around the world who are doing important work?
-How do we include more stories about the experiences of students of color in our promotional materials such that more students of color might be encouraged to come here?

Knowing that data collection is only the information-gathering component of the work necessary, Sterling in collaboration with College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, secured a $175,000 grant from a private foundation to address some of the retention barriers that came out of the aforementioned research. A Diversity & Equity Fellow will work collaboratively with faculty and student life staff at both colleges to enhance the academic, cultural, and professional experience of historically underrepresented students at both of our institutions (e.g., Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). The Equity Council at Sterling College and a similarly appropriate body at College of the Atlantic will play vital roles in supporting the position.

Are the results of the most recent structured diversity and equity assessment shared with the campus community?:

A brief description of how the assessment results are shared with the campus community:

Via recommendations from Equity Council

Are the results (or a summary of the results) of the most recent structured diversity and equity assessment publicly posted?:

The diversity and equity assessment report or summary:

The website URL where the report or summary is publicly posted:

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

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.