Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.26
Liaison Alexi Lamm
Submission Date Oct. 10, 2022

STARS v2.2

Utah State University
PA-7: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Michelle Bogdan
USU Inclusion Center
"---" 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:

The Office of Equity outlines USU’s commitment to affirmative action and equal opportunity laws, requirements and concepts. This policy prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age disability, or veterans' status. In addition, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for employees in all aspects of employment and for students in academic programs and activities is prohibits.

Does the institution have a discrimination response protocol or committee (sometimes called a bias response team)?:

A brief description of the institution’s discrimination response protocol or team:

The institution has established a Social Climate Support Team that is comprised of representatives from the Office of Equity, campus police, the Disability Resource Center, Student Conduct Officers, Inclusion Center, PR/Marketing, Campus General Counsel, and the VP of Student Affairs. The USU Social Climate Support Team is a non-investigatory committee charged with providing support resources and services as well as options for reporting a potential discriminatory incident to the university. When the reported incident has an effect on the entire campus community, the committee collaborates with campus partners to help develop and implement opportunities for broader community support, healing, and learning.

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

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

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

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

o The purpose of the Center for Intersectional Gender Studies & Research is to assist USU in attracting, recruiting, and retaining female faculty. Committee members assist in recruiting women for faculty teaching and research positions by meeting with candidates during on-campus interviews, and introducing them to campus administrators and support programs.
o The Office of Equity contacts the chair of a search committee whenever a new job has been posted to request a meeting. During the meeting, they discuss the importance of recruiting a diverse pool of candidates. This is standard procedure. In addition, the committee is strongly encouraged to advertise in a variety of diversity publications, professional organizations, and through special mailing lists. Example text from this email: This position falls into a job group which is underutilized. Before the position is advertised, someone from our office would like to speak with you (either via telephone or in person) to discuss good faith efforts in advertising. Affirmative action laws require us to make good faith efforts to attract qualified women and/or minorities into our applicant pools. Some of these resources are available from our office.
o USU is a member of the Aspire Alliance’s Institutional Change initiative (IChange) to improve the recruitment, hiring, and retention of faculty from underrepresented groups (URGs) and the employment of inclusive teaching, advising, and research mentoring practices by all faculty. The IChange Network is designed to catalyze institutional change by providing a comprehensive, systematic approach to organizational transformation using a structured self-assessment process to inform the development and implementation of an action plan. Although the national network is focused on the STEM fields, USU has chosen to focus efforts across all academic fields.
o The Office of Admissions funds one full-time recruitment position with the specific mission of recruiting students from underrepresented groups. In addition, the Educational Opportunity Scholarship is awarded to incoming freshman students who are from historically underrepresented groups. This scholarship is awarded through the Office of Admissions.

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

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

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

A brief description of the institution’s programs designed specifically to support students, academic staff, and/or non-academic staff from underrepresented groups:

The Admissions Office hosts a True Blue Diversity & First Generation "True Blue" Day to help BIPOC and first-generation students to empower students and build a strong foundation.

The Latinx Cultural Center has partnered with Latinos in Action to create a campus chapter to provide mentoring, peer and academic support to high school students and continues supporting once they become students at USU.

The Inclusion Center provides support and advocacy for underrepresented student populations including Multicultural, LGBTQA and Nontraditional students. It provides mentoring, peer support, academic support and additional programs to enhance the educational experience while ensuring increased rates to graduation for underrepresented students. The Counseling and Psychological Services center provides counseling and peer support for all students including support designed for underrepresented students.

Aggies First Program was created to provide a framework to develop and recognize the success of first-gen students https://www.usu.edu/first-scholars/

Promoting Inclusion, Equity, and Respect (PIER) Socials are an opportunity for USU employees to support colleagues with diverse identities, as well as discuss issues and experiences related to diversity, equity and inclusion. PIER Socials are open to all faculty, staff, administrators, and visiting scholars of all identities and backgrounds.

The Center for Intersectional Gender Studies and Research builds on the long and successful history of women and gender programs at USU. In addition to providing pathways that bring women and members of other historically marginalized groups into full and equal participation in the humanities and sciences, we aim to:
o Support intersectional & interdisciplinary research by faculty and students across all USU's campuses.
o Provide outstanding intersectional & interdisciplinary instruction to students across USU’s campuses.
o Foster a climate that promotes equality and inclusion for all faculty, students and staff across USU's campuses.

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:

There is a decentralized model embedded within each individual college. There are STEM programs to encourage BIPOC students to pursue the sciences including a Howard Hughes Grant designed specifically to create a pipeline for Native American students. The Mentoring & Encouraging Student Academic Success (MESAS) program aims to encourage more Native American students to pursue graduate degrees in STEM fields, build a more inclusive campus environment, and provide academic assistant and cultural programming for all Native American students at Utah State University.

In addition, the Undergraduate Research and Honors Program supports undergraduate students through research, mentoring, and exposure to graduate degree programs.

The Undergraduate Research program operates under the belief that research is for every student. According to Alexa Sand, associate vice president for research, “we continually strive to make our programs as accessible as possible to underserved and underrepresented populations....We reach out to all students and potential mentors through workshops, public events and informational sessions as well as one-on-one advising and support.”

One of USU’s most successful programs, the Native American STEM Mentoring Program, brings Native American students from USU Blanding to Logan each summer to work with faculty mentors across campus on student research questions. At least 70 USU labs have hosted NASMP participants, and over 60 percent of these students have transferred to four-year programs from the two-year programs offered at Blanding.

The University Honors Program's mission is to empower a diverse community of tomorrow’s leaders, and our goal is to recognize and develop the potential of all students to become true agents of change. Honors gives students the opportunity to practice respectful civil discourse in our discussion-oriented classes and reading groups, which focus on a variety of topics including those related to diversity, inclusion, equity, access, and other challenges of our time. Students put learning into practice by working one-on-one with faculty on research and creative projects, with alumni and internship supervisors on professional engagement, and with community mentors on local and global humanitarian projects. Honors emphasizes mindset over grades, and we look for students who clearly demonstrate resilience, open-mindedness, passionate curiosity, and community engagement. Honors has served 679 such students in the past year, 10% of whom identify as first-generation, 7% as belonging to a marginalized group, and 61% as female or non-binary. To increase access and improve retention for all, the program has committed to establishing both mentoring support and dedicated scholarships for students from underrepresented groups. The launch of a USU Statewide Honors pilot this year also extends the Honors Aggie community across our great state of Utah.

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?:

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for underrepresented groups 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.