Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.78
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date Feb. 18, 2021

STARS v2.2

Virginia Tech
PA-7: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Michele Deramo
Director, Diversity Education and Initiatives
Inclusion and Diversity
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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

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

Policy 1025 on Harrassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Assault: https://policies.vt.edu/assets/1025.pdf

"Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law."

More information can be found here: https://vt.edu/equal-opportunity.html


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

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

The entire Bias-Related Incident Protocol can be found here: https://dos.vt.edu/content/dam/dos_vt_edu/assets/doc/bias_protocol_2_16.pdf.
Incidents that are widely known and/or violate policy will be processed by a Core Response Team.

The Virginia Tech Core Response Team responds to reports of bias related incidents. (https://saapps.students.vt.edu/bias/). The online form is not anonymous but the reporter's identity will only be known by appropriate university staff members on the bias response team. The action taken as a result of submitting this report is driven by the reporter unless it requires the involvement of other campus resources.

The process is intended to report incidents which involve students. If the incident that needs to be reported involves faculty or staff bias, they can go to this link: https://oea.vt.edu/

The procedures referenced below provide for prompt and equitable response to reports of prohibited conduct. The procedures also provide for thorough and impartial investigations that afford all parties notice and an opportunity to present witnesses and evidence and to view the information that will be used in determining whether a policy violation has occurred. The university applies the preponderance of the evidence standard when determining whether this policy has been violated. "Preponderance of the evidence" means that it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred. The appropriate university avenue for resolving a complaint covered under this policy is determined by the status of the person accused. All undergraduate, graduate, and professional students at the university are subject to the university’s student code of conduct as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, accessible at
https://www.hokiehandbook.vt.edu/.
Faculty members at the university are subject to the rules included in the Faculty Handbook, accessible at https://www.provost.vt.edu/faculty_affairs/faculty_handbook.html. Staff members are
subject to the rules included in university policies
(https://www.hr.vt.edu/resources/current-employees/policies-handbooks.html) and the
Virginia Department of Human Resource Management Policies (http://www.dhrm.virginia.gov/hrpolicy/policy.html#probper), with minor exceptions for University Staff. Procedures for addressing staff and faculty violations of this policy are available from Human Resources.

If an administrator, supervisor or individual with instructional responsibility becomes aware of an incident that might reasonably be construed as constituting discrimination/harassment, he or she must promptly contact the Office for Equity and Accessibility and coordinate with that office to take immediate steps to address the matter.

Administrators, supervisors and those with instructional responsibility should contact the Office for Equity and Accessibility whenever they learn—either directly or indirectly—about discrimination/ harassment. This obligation exists even if the complainant requests that no action be taken. Administrators, supervisors and those with instructional responsibility (for their respective teaching obligation) have the legal responsibility to protect a complainant from continued discrimination, harassment or retaliation, including implementing interim measures necessary to protect the complainant. They must also protect persons accused of discrimination/ harassment from potential damage by false allegations. Administrators and supervisors
will be held accountable for dealing with and taking necessary steps to prevent discrimination/harassment. It is not the responsibility of the complainant to correct the situation. Employees are responsible for informing employees and students under their supervision of this policy and the name and contact information of the person responsible for addressing discrimination complaints covered under this policy.

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The following video describes the process for what happens after a student files a complaint: https://www.inclusive.vt.edu/Initiatives/DiversityEducationandPrograms/inclusive-insights/report-bias.html. This video clarifies how the institution supports those who have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, act of discrimination or hate crime. The video goes into detail on what is done when an incident is reported. Reports of experiences can be reported to the Dean of Students website. Reports will be emailed to the Dean of Students and reviewed using the following questions which allow the office to determine if the behavior described is bias-related:

- Does it seem the incident is bias-motivated?
- Does it violate university policy?
- Does it violate the shared values and expectations of university community members?
- Who is affected by the incident?
- Are there legal consequences?
- Might the incident be investigated as a hate crime?

The Dean of Students then assesses the incident to determine if it is localized - affecting one or a few of our campus members - or, if it is community based - affecting a broader group of people and generating interest both on and off campus.

Upon determining if it is a bias-related incident, along with its size and scope, a report will be referred to appropriate offices for follow up.

Examples are given in the video.

Reports of bias-related behaviors are then used to determine trends in misconduct that could be impacting the climate of our learning community. Aspects like number of reports, types of incidents, and locations of incidents allows the Dean of students to convene with campus leaders around the challenging aspects of these situations and how Virginia Tech can be successful in its efforts to be more inclusive.


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

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

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

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

The following linked document includes a lot of information and metrics related to the university strategic plan for increasing representational diversity and includes information on important programs such as Target of Talent, the Future Faculty Diversity Program (formerly named FF Development Program), SOAR, and our engagement with Native communities in Virginia. https://www.inclusive.vt.edu/content/dam/inclusive_vt_edu/inclusive_documents/Virginia%20Tech%20Difference%20An%20Inclusive%20Process%20P2.pdf

Faculty Diversity:

Since 2017, Virginia Tech has accelerated its faculty diversity efforts. Through the leadership of a new position, Director of Faculty Diversity, the Office for Inclusion and Diversity coordinates college and campus-wide efforts in partnerships with the InclusiveVT Faculty Diversity Committee and Diversity Advocates on search committees. In addition, all search committee members must complete an unconscious bias online course.

The Future Faculty Development Program is a two-day program open to doctoral candidates and post-doctoral scholars from underrepresented backgrounds interested in a career in academia. Each year, approximately 40 selected participants are matched to Virginia Tech academic departments and introduced to university facilities, faculty peers, and key aspects of a faculty position. Participants are selected based on academic and research potential as well as their alignment to Virginia Tech's institutional commitment to service and diversity.

Inviting prospective faculty to Virginia Tech builds professional relationships, expands peer networks, and maintains institutional visibility as a premier career destination. Since the program's inception in 2011, a number of participants have accepted faculty positions at Virginia Tech in response to university wide growth in student enrollment, research initiatives, and community impact.

Target of Talent:

Virginia Tech's faculty diversity commitment follows two guiding principles: 1) the imperative of faculty identifying talented scholars through different strategies, recruiting candidates, and mentoring for success, and 2) an expectation of a shared commitment between the campus administration, departments, and colleges as a partnership model to advance faculty diversity. The Target of Talent program provides an incentive for hiring strategic priority candidates into academic faculty positions.

Funding for ten permanent recurring faculty lines was budgeted in support of this program in the 2018 fiscal year, following successful strategic priority recruitments by colleges the previous year. The program was again funded in fiscal year 2019 to reward successful strategic priority recruitments of up to ten faculty in fiscal year 2018. To date, all 20 of the available Target of Talen lines for the first and second rounds have been awarded to colleges with participation in the program benefiting eight of the Blacksburg campus colleges.

As Virginia Tech pledges to grow the underrepresented student body and underserved student body, it will need employees that mirror and reflect the student population. Virginia Tech must ensure that students have the opportunity to learn from faculty and staff that are intellectually and culturally diverse.

Native American Engagement:

Since 2016, Virginia Tech has been very active in engaging the eleven federally recognized tribal communities. It hosted the Native American Tribal Summit with all the tribal nations, and as a follow up to the summit, has developed tribal-focused engagement strategies. Engagement has focused on attending tribal nation pow-wows, but also hosting an annual pow-wow at Virginia Tech. In 2019, Virginia Tech hosted its third annual pow-wow. Specific engagement efforts include student recruitment, student retention, and tribal leadership partnerships. In addition, in 2019, Virginia Tech approved a resolution to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day on the day that has been historically recognized as Columbus Day. These efforts are complemented by the programming in the Native American and Indigenous Community Center.

Inclusion and Diversity Resolution for Graduate Education:

Seeking to build and support communities of diverse cultures and ideas, Virginia Tech ensures students learn, experience, and value inclusion and diversity. As a result, university leadership approved the 2018 resolution mandating all graduate students participate in an inclusion and diversity education component. This education will be iterative and adaptable across each academic unit and will complement the needs of each discipline. Graduate students will meet the inclusion and diversity educational requirement via workshops, training modules, lectures and discourse, and/or existing courses documented in the students' Plan of Study, approved by unit leadership, and verified by the Graduate School. Implementation of this program will begin in Fall 2019 with 100% participation across all the graduate programs no later than Spring 2022.

Student Diversity:

In 2017, Project 2022 was launched to encourage the university to accelerate its diversity and inclusion goals. Project 2022 set an ambitious goal that 25% of the entering class (freshmen and transfer) should be underrepresented minorities and 40% should be underrepresented minorities and or underserved (first generation, Pell-eligible, and veterans). To advance this goal, the Office for Inclusion and Diversity has coordinated, sponsored, supported, and collaborated with several programs and campus units. In addition to the Hispanic College Institute which has been in place since 2014 with almost 100 students, the Black College Institute attracted 50 students in its first year in 2017, over 150 in 2018, and 300 in 2019. These intitutes are residential summer pre-college programs for rising high school juniors and seniors. The Office for Inclusion and Diversity partners with the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and the College Access Collaborative (CAC) to support student recruitment, outreach, and engagement efforts. The College Access Collaborative is an organizational unit dedicated to increasing college access, which focuses on building collaborative partnerships throughout the commonwealth.

Another distinctive outreach, recruitment, and engagement office is the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED). Since 1992, the CEED has provided encouragement and support to engineering students, with a focus on the underrepresented population. The CEED sponsors several summer camps and outreach initiatives for women and underrepresented students.

As a parallel effort with recruitment, the campus supports several programs and units related to retention. The Black Cultural Center was created in 1991, and for some time, the Black Cultural Center and Multicultural Center were the only centers available for the underrepresented minority students. In 2016, the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, El Centro, the Native American and Indigenous Center, and the Asian and Asian American Engagement Center were added. The centers offer several programs for students, develop programming during cultural heritage months, and sponsor cultural celebrations during graduation week.


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

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

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

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

In 2018, the Student Opportunity and Achievement Resources Program (SOAR) was created to work with entities across the university to help students who are underrepresented and underserved. The program works with University Advising and the Student Success Center to enhance outreach and support for underrepresented minority students. The Student Success Center offers tutoring and mentoring to students across campus.

Another related mentoring program is the Life Sciences Mentoring Program. The program supports underrepresented minority, underserved, and female students majoring in the life sciences with a peer-to-peer mentoring program partnering offered with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Science, and College of Natural Resources and Environment. This program offers a research component to explore performance in math, chemistry, and biology.

Finally, to ensure a welcoming, affirming, safe, and accessible campus climate, all incoming students are required to complete DiversityEdu, an online course on InclusiveVT and the Principles of Community. This course, along with other pre-enrollment online courses, has been required of enrolled undergraduate and graduate students since 2017.

From the Graduate School:
New Horizon Graduate Scholars Program - By focusing on the university's plan for the New Horizon - creativity, collaboration, and innovation across disciplines - this community honors the contribution that diversity, broadly defined, brings to discovery. The New Horizons Graduate Scholars program, administered from the College of Engineering Dean's Office, supports and enhances diversity among our graduate student population. The NHGS community is a collaborative research network of ambitious Engineering graduate students who are nominated by their departments. This community is provided with resources and opportunities that can strengthen one's academic career while at Virginia Tech as well as preparing one for a successful future.

Advantages of being a New Horizon Graduate Scholar:
- Monthly Professional Development workshops, covering topics such as "Preparing the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Proposal," "Utilizing the CoE Research Librarian," and "Looking Toward the Future: The Job Search"
- Lunches and dinners with invited guest speakers from industry and academia
- Opportunities to participate in critical reading groups as well as writing groups
- Social activities

A Step to the Doctorate - Virginia Tech's Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED) Engineering is committed to fostering an intellectually and demographically diverse environment that supports creativity, innovation, and community. We welcome promising undergraduate engineering students from diverse backgrounds and experience to participate in a boot camp to learn more about:
- The graduate school experiences Virginia Tech's Engineering graduate program
- Ways to strategically position yourself to maximize future success in applying to graduate school
The boot camp helps students make significant progress on their graduate application process and personal statements. If you are struggling to find time and space to get going with the graduate school process, or just wish for a little more support as you do, this program is for you.

From the College of Science:
Graduate Opportunity Fellowship Program - GOFs will provide up to a $4000 fellowship for members of strategic priority populations being offered graduate admission. This initiative seeks to enhance the success of students from these populations, thereby bolstering diversity from underrepresented/underserved groups within a specific field or discipline, and with a focus on drawing students from within the United States.

From MAOP:
Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP): grant, a national project funded by the National Science Foundation. LSAMP aims to increase the academic success and quantity of students successfully completing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) baccalaureate degree programs, and to increase the number of students interested in, academically qualified for, and matriculating into programs of graduate study. A primary goal of the program is to increase the number of students who are engaged in undergraduate STEM research experiences. Students are encouraged to participate in undergraduate research or internships throughout their undergraduate career.

The MAOP Graduate Scholars Program (GS) assists with graduate school financing in exchange for assistance to MAOP Administration. Graduate students assist with programming implementation such as mentoring to undergraduate students and assisting with workshops for the undergraduates. MAOP partners with the graduate student's academic department to support students. In order to be considered as a Graduate Scholar, the student's academic department must be willing to also provide financial support in the form of assistantship funding and/or tuition. The graduate student's department provides the work assignment. Awards typically range between $6000 and $16000 per academic year. The awards may be renewed on a yearly basis subject to the availability of funds.

For Academic and Non-Academic Staff:
Virginia Tech has ten faculty/staff caucuses representing differing communities at the university. This include the American Indian and Indigenous People's Alliance, the Appalachian Caucus, the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Caucus, the Black Caucus, the Disability Caucus, the Hispanic/Latinx Faculty and Staff Caucus, the International Caucus, the LGBTQ+ Caucus, the Veterans Caucus, and the Women's Alliance Caucus. Each of these groups not only serve important roles for the university, but they also provide peer support to their members while pushing for advancement in the university. Many of these groups also include student members, reaching a wide range of individuals.

As an example of the work done by these caucuses, here is the Mission Statement of the Black Caucus of Virginia Tech: "The purpose of the Black Faculty/Staff caucus shall be to promote the well being of Black faculty, staff and students of Virginia Tech; to assertively push for the recruitment of Black faculty, staff and students; to assist in the recruitment and retention of Black undergraduate and graduate students at Virginia Tech; to encourage equitable utilization of Black faculty, staff and students throughout the university community; to be a liaison between the Black faculty, staff and students and the university administration; and to organize and maintain a support network for Black faculty, staff and students at Virginia Tech."

The full list of caucuses and their mission statements can be found at this link:
https://www.inclusive.vt.edu/Initiatives/FS-Caucuses.html


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?:
Yes

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

Future Faculty Development Program:

The Future Faculty Development Program is a two-day program open to doctoral candidates and post-doctoral scholars from underrepresented backgrounds interested in a career in academia. Each year, approximately 40 selected participants are matched to Virginia Tech academic departments and introduced to university facilities, faculty peers, and key aspects of a faculty position. Participants are selected based on academic and research potential as well as their alignment to Virginia Tech's institutional commitment to service and diversity.

Inviting prospective faculty to Virginia Tech builds professional relationships, expands peer networks, and maintains institutional visibility as a premier career destination. Since the program's inception in 2011, a number of participants have accepted faculty positions at Virginia Tech in response to university wide growth in student enrollment, research initiatives, and community impact.

Target of Talent:

Virginia Tech's faculty diversity commitment follows two guiding principles: 1) the imperative of faculty identifying talented scholars through different strategies, recruiting candidates, and mentoring for success, and 2) an expectation of a shared commitment between the campus administration, departments, and colleges as a partnership model to advance faculty diversity. The Target of Talent program provides an incentive for hiring strategic priority candidates into academic faculty positions.

Funding for ten permanent recurring faculty lines was budgeted in support of this program in the 2018 fiscal year, following successful strategic priority recruitments by colleges the previous year. The program was again funded in fiscal year 2019 to reward successful strategic priority recruitments of up to ten faculty in fiscal year 2018. To date, all 20 of the available Target of Talen lines for the first and second rounds have been awarded to colleges with participation in the program benefiting eight of the Blacksburg campus colleges.

As Virginia Tech pledges to grow the underrepresented student body and underserved student body, it will need employees that mirror and reflect the student population. Virginia Tech must ensure that students have the opportunity to learn from faculty and staff that are intellectually and culturally diverse.


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

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

Website URL where information about the institution’s support for underrepresented groups is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Additional Notes, Programs, and Comments:

The Work-Life Liaison Program in Faculty Affairs, Provost Office - Work-Life Liaisons support the faculty recruitment efforts in each college by meeting individually with candidate to discuss Virginia Tech's dual career resources, extend-the-tenure-clock policies, modified duties policies, commitment to diversity, community resources, and to refer candidates to appropriate resources for additional information. These meetings are confidential and separate from the formal search process. More information is available here: https://faculty.vt.edu/faculty-recruitment/work-life-liaisons.html

Diversity Search Advocates are appointed to all search committees to "interrupt and redirect" in order to ensure equitable search deliberations that minimize bias. DSA training is delivered through the Office for Equity and Accessibility as a component of the required Search Charge training.

Programs offered through the Diversity Undergraduate Recruitment arm of University Admissions are available here: https://vt.edu/admissions/undergraduate/diversity.html

The Women's Center offers a variety of programs that support new women faculty, caregivers, and people who have experienced gender-based violence. More information is available here: https://www.womenscenter.vt.edu/

Hokie Wellness also provides a variety of programs for students and faculty that address caregiving, work-life, and aspects of wellness that intersect with identities. More information is available here: https://hokiewellness.vt.edu/

Cook Counselling now includes anti-racism and Black mental health resources for students, among other things. More information is available here: https://ucc.vt.edu/

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.