Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 49.23
Liaison Maria Dahmus
Submission Date June 21, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of St. Thomas
PA-6: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Artika Tyner
Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Office of Diversity and Inclusion
"---" 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:

Equal Opportunity Statement and Notice of Nondiscrimination

The University of St. Thomas is committed to the principles of equal employment opportunity and equal educational opportunity. St. Thomas does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family status, disability, age, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, membership or activity in a local commission, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. The university’s policy of nondiscrimination extends to all aspects of its operations, including but not limited to, employment, educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs and all other educational programs and activities.

A file with contact information for persons that have been designated to handle inquiries regarding St. Thomas’s nondiscrimination policy appears in the "additional documentation" section below.

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):

The University of St. Thomas continually strives to meet the highest standards of respect and civility that are both implicit and explicit in its vision, mission and convictions. It is the university’s goal that no member of the University community shall be subject to any physical or verbal harassment, abuse or violence based on the individual’s race, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, religion or physical or mental disability. The University of Saint Thomas responds to and supports individuals who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, act of discrimination or hate crime through several entities described below.

Dean of Students (DOS) Office and Student Diversity and Inclusion Services
In accordance with its mission, the DOS Office ensures the university community functions as freely as possible from disruptive and inappropriate behavior through the oversight of student conduct, bias related incidents and sexual violence/harassment protocol. The department staff support students and their families in crisis or challenging situations. Upon receiving a report from a student, the DOS staff first examine any measures they can offer to help the student feel safe on campus. The DOS Office offers emotional, psychological and academic support by connecting students to resources on campus and off campus.

Depending on the nature of the incident, the office also offers different ways for the community to acknowledge the harm and try to heal the harm that has occurred. Student Diversity and Inclusion Services has also offered opportunities for community members to gather and talk about the incident and offer support to one another. Student Affairs has implemented restorative justice talking circles as a means for community members to gather and discuss the harm that has occurred and the impact it has had. Student Affairs has also offered educational events to educate students and community members on a specific topic after an incident has occurred.

DOS staff also make sure students know the options they have in terms reporting the incident to the police (this is dependent on the nature of the incident). Once the University receives a report, Public Safety actively investigates the incident. If the person who caused the harm is a student, the Dean of Students Office follows up appropriately through our student conduct process. If the person who caused the harm is faculty or staff, Human Resources is responsible for appropriate follow up.

The Diversity Action Response Team (DART)
DART is a proactive advisory committee committed to advancing the University’s mission and convictions by:
1) Anticipating and recommending University responses to campus-wide concerns which impact the University’s inclusive environment, including incidents of hate and intolerance.
2) Recommending and supporting proactive educational efforts which seek to enhance the University’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, rigorous thinking, meaningful dialogue and the dignity of each individual.

DART is not responsible for investigation of incidents or disciplinary action. These are handled in accordance with university policies and processes. DART's role is to consider the impact of incidents and concerns on the community and to recommend community responses which are consistent with and advance the St. Thomas mission and convictions. As part of its action response, DART identifies and works with the appropriate University offices to ensure that those who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, act of discrimination or hate crime are provided support.

EDUDART was formed as a sub-group of DART and is tasked with identifying current and potential future efforts at building a diverse and inclusive campus community. The core members include Karen Lange (VP for Student Affairs), Rob Riley (VP for Academic Affairs), Michelle Thom (AVP for Human Resources), and Artika Tyner (AVP for Diversity & Inclusion).

Anti-Racism Coalition (ARC)
A grassroots group of staff and faculty at the University of St. Thomas working in solidarity with students of color who have courageously asserted their vision for an equitable and inclusive education that affirms their dignity as part of our human family. ARC works with students in a variety of ways to close the gap between our vision for our human family and the lived realities on campus. ARC efforts include organizing public events on campus, supporting attendance at off-campus anti-racism events, providing safe spaces across campus for dialog and care, and sharing information in a timely manner about racially-motivated events that need immediate action.

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:

The University of St. Thomas’s recruitment strategy includes a specific strategic initiative to recruit a diverse candidate pool for staff and faculty positions. This strategy includes the following:
• All positions at the university are posted on 17 different diversity sites.
• A diversity review is completed for each position to ensure the candidates selected for the interview process are representative of the overall candidate pool and represent a diverse population.
• The university also follows the guidelines of an Affirmative Action Plan
• All job postings indicate language that the university is an Equal Opportunity Employer

St. Thomas has a comprehensive recruitment plan that targets low-income, first generation and underrepresented students. Names are purchased as a part of the “search” process to invite and encourage those students to consider St. Thomas and to get them into the recruitment funnel. High school visits are made to schools that have a large percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunch and to those located in urban areas. Community Based Organization (CBO) visits are made to reach students from underrepresented, low-income families, first generation backgrounds and to those who may benefit from either the baccalaureate or the Associate of Arts program.

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 Center for Faculty Development provides faculty with free membership in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) through an institutional membership. This provides targeted programs to support success of faculty of color at St. Thomas. Approximately 200 of our faculty and graduate students are currently enrolled.

Faculty Development offers its Inclusive Classroom Institute, with workshops throughout the year that focus wholly or in part on power/privilege issues. The Institute offers certification, which faculty can use to demonstrate engagement with diversity/inclusion for evaluation and promotion purposes. A half-day workshop on building an inclusive classroom is now required of all new full-time faculty.

Employee resource groups offer support to underrepresented faculty and staff. The Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) provides cost-free professional consultation and referral services for staff and faculty who are experiencing work and personal-related difficulties. Immediate family members are also eligible for EAP services.

The Student Diversity & Inclusion Services office exists to enhance the campus climate and holds deep commitment in developing and sustaining a diverse campus community in the broadest sense including differences in gender, race, ethnicity, generational history, culture, socioeconomic class, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship status, political perspectives, geographic origin, and physical ability, through programs and initiatives aimed at St. Thomas students. Their work is based on four pillars: education, leadership, advocacy, and community.

Student Diversity and Inclusion Services staff provides one-on-one and group consultations related to academic success; personal growth; an engaging climate; a just community; programs that increase multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills; serving as a resource for multicultural training, education, and development.

Student Diversity and Inclusion Services coordinates the Linkages Mentor Program, which began in 2007, and serves as a formal peer mentoring initiative designed to support the retention of underrepresented students (students of color, first-generation students, and students demonstrating significant financial need) at the University of St. Thomas. Upper class student mentors serve as a resource to help first year students successfully transition from high school to college.

Student Diversity and Inclusion Services coordinates the Reaching Excellence in Academics and Leadership (REAL) Program, a selective, five-week academic and co-curricular orientation program for students who are members of groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education (including students of color, asylees, refugees, and permanent residents) that are newly committed to attending the University of St. Thomas. Founded in 1998, the REAL Program is designed to acquaint 16 students with campus life, resources and services, and to provide experience with college-level coursework.

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:

The Excel! Research Scholars Program is an academic enrichment program that prepares undergraduate students who are first-generation and/or low-income and/or underrepresented in research-based, graduate school programs for graduate school admission and success in their programs. The mission of the program includes developing future scholars as leaders. Specifically, this program is reserved for underrepresented students who aspire to, and are committed to, earning a Ph.D. as a critical step in the process of becoming experts in their respective fields and for creating a more representative academy for future generations. Excel! uses a living and learning community and cohort style approach to teaching by working with students collectively and individually to provide effective and tailored mentorship designed to help each student successfully prepare for the next steps in their education process. As part of the program, students present their research at national conferences and scholarly meetings and attend Director’s Seminars throughout the academic year. Students receive a stipend to serve as a teaching assistant or research assistant or academic tutor in their field of study working alongside a faculty member. Upon successful completion of a baccalaureate degree, the Excel! Research Scholars Program provides students with a number of benefits, including a merit-based scholarship, GRE training, financial support for GRE registration and graduate school applications, and free housing during the Summer Research Institute.

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:

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.