Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.79
Liaison Leslie North
Submission Date March 5, 2020

STARS v2.2

Western Kentucky University
PA-5: Diversity and Equity Coordination

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.67 / 2.00 Molly Kerby
Associate Professor
Department of Diversity & Community Studies
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a diversity and equity committee, office, and/or officer tasked by the administration or governing body to advise on and implement policies, programs, and trainings related to diversity, equity, inclusion and human rights?:

Does the committee, office and/or officer focus on students, employees, or both?:
Both students and employees

A brief description of the diversity and equity committee, office and/or officer, including purview and activities:

The mission of Western Kentucky University is to prepare students to be productive, engaged, socially responsible citizens and leaders of a global society. The success of these future leaders is enhanced through the encouragement and support of faculty, staff, and community, as well as a willingness to embrace the multiple dimensions of diversity. The encompassing dimensions of diversity involve an appreciation of the differences and unique contributions represented by individual identity, opinion, and culture. Differences may be represented through areas such as race, gender, ethnicity, language, religion, sexual orientation, geographic location, abilities or disabilities, and socioeconomic status.

Western Kentucky University places a premium on teaching and student learning and growth; therefore, it is important for the University to seek achievement of diversity among its faculty, staff and student populations. As stated in the University’s Strategic Plan, Challenging the Spirit, three (3) of the five (5) Strategic Goals relate to the importance of diversity in the development of culturally responsible citizens, growing a high quality and diverse student body, and enhancing the climate for diversity and collegiality. The Strategic Plan’s performance indicators include the engagement of two new Chief Diversity Officer's (CDOs); one in Academic Affairs and one in Enrollment and Students Experience (ESE) - the new CDOs were appointed in August 2019 ad report to the Provost and Vice President of Student Affairs. In fall 2019, The CDOs formed a Diversity Equity & Inclusion Workgroup comprised of a faculty member from each college, a staff member for each ESE unit, an Student Government representative, a Faculty Senate member, and a Staff Senate member.

Estimated proportion of students that has participated in that has participated in cultural competence, anti-oppression, anti-racism, and/or social inclusion trainings and activities:

Estimated proportion of academic staff that has participated in cultural competence, anti-oppression, anti-racism, and/or social inclusion trainings and activities:

Estimated proportion of non-academic staff that has participated in cultural competence, anti-oppression, anti-racism, and/or social inclusion trainings and activities:

A brief description of the institution’s cultural competence, anti-oppression, anti-racism, and/or social inclusion trainings and activities:

At present all faculty, staff, and students are required to take a mandatory Title IX training course online. In addition, several endeavors have been implemented.

The first endeavor, in alignment with the WKU DEI Plan, included a commitment to new diversity trainings for hiring committees offered by two, dedicated full-time staff; WKU’s Title IX Deputy/Investigator and Human Resource’s Organizational Development Officer. In spring 2018, WKU hired DEI training consultant, Emily Duncan, to begin the process of fostering effective unconscious bias trainings for employees who participate in hiring committees. The initial workshop presented (see attached) was a three-hour seminar-style facilitation that included individual/self-reflection, group discussion, and useful tools and best-practices. The workshop was conducted again in fall 2018. Since WKU in essence, had a general “hiring freeze,” there were very few new hires but search committee data were retained through EEO for use in baseline data reporting as we continue our efforts. While the data shows no new URM hires, the university now has a process in place for unconscious bias training for future search committees.

Another effort to achieve this strategy as outlined in the WKU DEI Plan was an Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) book club cohosted by the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, the Office of the Dean of Students, and the Department of Sociology and Criminology. Our first campus-wide book was “So You Want to Talk about Race” by Ijeoma Onuo. The book club consisted of intellectual discussions on the topics addressed in the book as well as practical suggestions for how to apply these lessons in personal and professional lives. The effort was directed at a) faculty and staff who get uncomfortable talking about issues pertaining to race, b) professors who wanted to make sure students feel included in their classes, c) staff members who want to ensure to include diverse perspectives in decision making, and d) social justice advocates who wanted to be more effective in discussions about racism and inclusion. Fifty seven (57) people signed up for the book club – 27 staff and 30 faculty from 39 units on campus. The book club met over the course of three Friday afternoons during the fall 2019 semester.

Human resources and academic affairs are also devoting time, energy, and funding to explore resources obtained through our membership with HERC (Higher Education Recruitment Consortium), which provides excellent micro-learning topics on diversity hiring best practices. WKU’s newly formed university DEI Workgoup has begun discussions within colleges/units on diversity hiring best practices and training. In short, while it might take some time to collect direct-measure data on the effectiveness of unconscious bias training, feedback from participants in these workshops has shown this to be an effective strategy in several ways: a) reinforced the need to continue these training to collect longitudinal data; b) offered the prospect of using the workshops for cultural competence among faculty and staff; c) demonstrated a need for continued funding and allocation of new monies for these efforts; and d) supported our efforts in creating equity in the classroom and curriculum.

Website URL where information about the institution’s diversity and equity office or trainings is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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