Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.81
Liaison Kelly Wellman
Submission Date Dec. 6, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Texas A&M University
PA-6: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Jennifer Reyes
Vice President & Associate Provost for Diversity
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a publicly posted non-discrimination statement? :

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

University Statement on Harassment and Discrimination

Texas A&M University provides equal opportunity to all employees, students, applicants for employment or admission, and the public regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity. Texas A&M University will promptly investigate all complaints of discrimination, sexual harassment, and/or related retaliation in accordance with applicable federal and state laws. Students who have questions or believe they have experienced illegal discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence, and/or related retaliation are encouraged to contact:

Texas A&M University College Station contacts - Notice of Nondiscrimination and Abuse
Texas A&M University Health Science Center contacts - Notice of Nondiscrimination and Abuse
Texas A&M University at Galveston contacts - Notice of Nondiscrimination and Abuse
For more information regarding Discrimination or Sexual Harassment, see TAMU Student Rules 45. Discrimination and Discrimination Appeals or 47. Sexual Harassment and Related Retaliation, or TAMU at Galveston Student Rules 45. Discrimination and Discrimination Appeals or 47. Sexual Harassment.


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):

Too often, acts of hate and bias go unreported for a number of reasons ranging from a lack of trust to fear of reprisal. Some events, like racial epithets written on bathroom walls, are occasionally dismissed as “too trivial” to report. However, research suggests that these types of events tend to build into much bigger ones. Furthermore, they create a hostile, unsafe, and unwelcoming climate for the people they target and do damage to our community as a whole.

These events are highly significant. Those targeted cannot easily grow, flourish, or carry out everyday functions without difficulty, like walking to school or to their place of residence.
Filing a report allows the university the opportunity to meet the goals of creating a safe environment that supports the educational mission of the institution; to support TAMU students, faculty, and staff impacted by a bias/hate related event; and, to understand, in part, the university climate/environment.

Individuals may use the online report form to report hate/bias incidents. You have the option to fill in your contact information or submit the report anonymously. Reports submitted anonymously or with limited information may limit our ability to follow up on an incident. Once a report is submitted online, a copy is emailed to a team for appropriate review and necessary action. NOTE: Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed for every report submitted through this site. State law determines confidentiality.

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:

Strategies from the unit-level accountability reports from both the academic and support units provide some examples of different units approached undergraduate and graduate student recruiting and retention:

The College of Liberal Arts is offering 100% need-based scholarships to undergraduate
students to support students from lower income groups who would like to attend college.
We see this as an equity effort that provides educational access to low-income students.

• The College of Architecture held Camp Arch, a summer program; 10 targeted high school students received scholarships to attend the camp. One current freshman comes from this cohort; three of the five senior campers have been admitted to the college, and these applicants are being advised to ensure the completion of their applications.

• The Division of Academic Affairs developed a partnership with the Posse Foundation, an organization that identifies, recruits, and trains youth with exceptional leadership and academic potential and sends them to select institutions of higher education in multicultural teams.

• In 2013, the College of Engineering had over 611 first year engineering students residing in the Engineering Living and Learning Community (ELLC). The students in the ELLC program obtained 81% first year retention overall, 76% for women, and 78% for Hispanic and African American students.

• The Baylor College of Dentistry (BCD), of the Health Sciences Center, received a $3.4 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers of Excellence program to advance student and faculty diversity. By linking with the Dallas Independent School District, three undergraduate institutions, and community-based entities, this program strengthens and expands efforts to enhance academic performance of URM dental students at BCD.

• The College of Medicine (COM) also has multiple pipeline programs that serve students from historically underrepresented backgrounds. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recently funded a $150,000 grant to create a program called the Aggie Doctor Initiative which creates two new pipeline programs for Black and Hispanic students from TAMU into the COM (as well as a pre-matriculation program discussed under retention).

From Fall 2012 through Fall 2016, Texas A&M has achieved increases in the numbers of Asian faculty and Hispanic faculty and staff. Strategies from the unit-level accountability reports from both the academic and support units provide examples of the faculty and staff recruiting and retention efforts:

• University Libraries developed training to improve faculty interviewing and hosting practices. As of November 17th, 2014, 65 staff and 67 faculty members have completed the training. The unit is seeing more diverse candidates; better representation in the makeup of the profession; and is inviting more diverse, underrepresented minorities and military veterans for interviews in recent years.

• The Division of Finance and Administration entered into a collaborative agreement with other higher education institutions to form a regional Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC). The mission of HERC is to recruit and retain outstanding and diverse faculty and staff.

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:

There are a wide variety of programs which support several different under-represented groups. These programs are documented in our Diversity Initiatives Database, found at: http://diversity.tamu.edu/Campus-Resources/Campus-Diversity-Collections. Beginning this year, the Department of Residence Life received a grant to inform our practice to better serve and support underrepresented student populations. Over the years, assessment has affirmed that living on campus does provide advantages to students collectively, as compared to their off campus peers. Those academic advantages are reflected in higher grade point ratios overall, greater retention rates, higher percentages of four year graduation rates, and greater percentages of students going on to graduate and professional education. The social advantages reported are the convenience and connection to campus resources, student organizations and classes; as well as an easier transition to life on campus—friends, organizations, and campus life. Those trends are affirmed by the national literature. However, when broken down out of an aggregate format, these results suggest students experience living on campus differently. When compared to their White peers, African American and Hispanic students do not appear to have the same experience living on campus at Texas A&M University.

Additionally to support students from underrepresented groups, the DSA College Completion Grant is two-fold which includes (1) a research project to inform the initiative intervention, and (2) create identity-conscious spaces for on campus students.
Part I: Informed by Yosso’s six-part Community Cultural Wealth Model, a qualitative research design will engage 15 - 20 Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino undergraduate students (freshmen). Participants will be invited and interviewed as a purposive sample of the on-campus underrepresented student population at large. The interview protocol will center upon the cultural capital (assets) students bring with them to Texas A&M University (aspirations, linguistic, familial, social, navigational, and resistance capital). Findings from this study will inform the proposed initiative and the development of untraditional interventions in housing.

Part II: Utilizing professional staff members and undergraduate upperclassmen who are passionate about supporting and serving underrepresented student populations, we will create a support network for students in their first year. Monthly identity-conscious programs will be marketed via invitation to the targeted student population. These programs may include invited faculty talks, listening sessions (opportunities for students to talk openly about their experiences at Texas A&M so far), and networking activities. In addition to these identity-conscious programs, 30 – 50 students will be provided a high impact learning practice opportunity that will include individual/direct support from mentoring departmental staff to include weekly check-ins, study skill discussions, academic and social expectations, personal issue mitigation, and experiential reflection.

For faculty from historically underrepresented groups, the university ADVANCE Center provides Administrative Fellow Program, Success Circles, and Scholars Program.

The aim of the Administrative Fellow Program is to give tenured women STEM faculty experience in College- and University-level leadership, with the long-range goal of significantly increasing the participation of female faculty in University leadership

The ADVANCE Center facilitates peer mentoring groups known as Success Circles for women faculty based on professional and personal interests. This activity functions as a complement to existing one-on-one mentoring (e.g. in departments, the Women’s Faculty Network) and facilitates the development of social connections among women faculty. Currently, peer mentoring is focused on three areas: academic writing, motherhood, and departmental leadership. See the ADVANCE Calendar for scheduling.

Launched in 2011, the ADVANCE Scholar Program is one of the activities of the ADVANCE Center. The purpose and goal of the ADVANCE Scholar Program is to promote and advance the success of Texas A&M University women faculty of color in STEM through mentoring with eminent scholars in their fields.

In 2015, the program expanded to include women from non-STEM fields. The mentoring program matches women faculty of color at the university with an internal advocate who is a senior faculty member at the university and an external mentor who is an eminent scholar of their choosing in their field.

The internal advocates comprise the Scholar Program Advisory Committee and meet to discuss best practices for mentoring and advancing their Scholars. The internal advocates also meet with their respective Scholars and serve to broaden the Scholars’ circle of contacts within the university and to establish a sustainable professional network for them. Since the first cohort in 2011, 40 women faculty of color at Texas A&M have participated in the program. The 2016 cohort is the largest cohort including both pre-tenured and tenured faculty, representing STEM and non-STEM disciplines.

To support staff from historically underrepresented groups, Texas A&M's staff mentor program is available through Human Resources - The primary objectives of the program are: To help new and less experienced employees successfully transition into their position; and to help experienced employees enhance their career potential or identify new career paths This is a voluntary program whereby mentees are paired with mentors according to various areas of interest.

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:

Specifically to support and prepare students from historically underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members, the Office of Graduate and Professional Students offers Graduate Diversity Fellowships to support the development of high achieving scholars who show promise for distinguished careers and whose life, research experiences and/or employment background will contribute significantly to academic excellence at TAMU and will maximize the educational benefits of diversity for all students. The evaluation criteria for receiving a fellowship includes, but is not limited to the following: "A nominee may be from minority groups that historically have been under-represented at TAMU and/or in their profession; may be first generation college graduates (neither parent earned a bachelor’s degree); or may be persons with disabilities or veterans. This list is not meant to be exhaustive." http://ogaps.tamu.edu/Buttons/Funding-opportunities/Graduate-Diversity-Fellowships.aspx.

Additionally, International Student Services provides support and preparation for students from underrepresented groups for careers as faculty members by encouraging international students to seek out professional development opportunities while they are engaged in their studies. This can include getting involved on campus in student groups, campus activities, on-campus professional organizations, on-campus employment, internships, or attending workshops to learn more about working in the U.S. http://iss.tamu.edu/Side-Menu/Events/Professional-Development-Series

In 2015 Texas A&M University implemented a "Compact Between Graduate Students and Their Supervising Faculty" http://ogaps.tamu.edu/OGAPS/media/media-library/documents/Forms%20and%20Information/TAMU-Faculty-Student-Compact.pdf - the document formalizes the guiding principles intended to promote and support the development of a positive mentoring relationship between the graduate student and the graduate student's supervising faculty. Specifically, career development, attendance at professional meetings, and professional development are addressed in the compact.

Additionally, the Office of Graduate and Professional Students provides University-level Teaching Assistant (TA) training is a requirement at Texas A&M University. For more information, visit Teaching Assistant Institute. New TAs and/or current TAs that have not previously completed TA training with the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), should contact their department supervisor regarding the CTE Teaching Assistant Institute (TAI). Teaching Assistants’ attendance at the Teaching Assistant Institute is mandatory.

Furthermore, the Center for Teaching Excellence provides graduate students with support for completing an Individual Development Plan Http://ogaps.tamu.edu/OGAPS/media/media-library/documents/Forms/Fillable-Forms-IDP-for-TAMU_v6.pdf

The Individual Development Plan (IDP) is an essential tool designed to help graduate students: Identify professional goals and objectives; assess current skills; and communicate with their advisor and mentor to develop an action plan to achieve short- and long-term objectives.

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:

The university map indicates gender neutral bathrooms on campus.

Although there is not yet dedicated gender neutral housing on campus, the Department of Residence Life works to accommodate the special needs of transgender and transitioning students on a case by case basis. Currently, there is a living learning community (LLC), entitled 'Intersextions' being established. Members of this community will live in on campus housing together and like other LLC's will have programming, staff support and a level of academic integration.

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.