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

STARS v2.2

Western Kentucky University
PA-7: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Molly Kerby
Associate Professor
Department of Diversity & Community Studies
"---" 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:

Western Kentucky University (WKU) is committed to equal opportunity in its educational programs and employment. As an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action/University ADA Services employer, WKU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, veteran status, or marital status in admission to career and technical education programs and/or activities, or employment practices in accordance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Revised 1992, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. On request, WKU will provide reasonable accommodations, including auxiliary aids and services, necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in all services, programs, activities, and employment.
https://www.wku.edu/eoo/nondisc.php

Additionally, WKU has a statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities, which includes the following:
"The right to participate in all areas and activities of the university, free from any form of discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, or veteran status in accordance with applicable federal and state laws."
Full statement can be found here:
https://www.wku.edu/studentconduct/student-rights-responsibilities.php


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 University has published policies and procedures for investigating and/or addressing discrimination or harassment in its educational programs and employment.
This protocol is different depending on whether the person is a student or employee. The protocol states that:
A person experiencing discrimination or harassment but who does not desire to make a formal report may consider the following alternatives:
1. Contacting the WKU University Ombuds Officer for information and guidance;
and/or,
1. Clearly informing the alleged offender / harasser that the behavior is offensive,
unwelcome and will not be tolerated.
If the person wishes to file a formal report, the policy states the following:
B. Formal Report / Procedure: Emphasis shall be on getting at the facts, assuring those facts are reported accurately to the proper authority, and providing a decision based on
verifiable information.
1. Stage I / Initial Report
a) A complaint of discrimination or harassment should be submitted within thirty (30)
calendar days of the most recently alleged discriminatory, harassing or retaliatory
action to the Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action/University ADA
Services (EEO) Director.
b) Any individual who believes he/she may have experienced or observed conduct which
is in violation of this policy should report this information immediately to the EEO
Director.
c) Any dean, director, faculty member, department head, manager, supervisor, or
other individual with supervisory or administrative responsibility who learns of,
or receives, information that conduct in violation of this policy has occurred (or is
occurring) must immediately report that information to the EEO Director.
d) The EEO Director is Mr. Joshua Hayes.
e) Upon receipt of information, the EEO Director will either initiate stage 2, or if the
report / complaint is an allegation of student to student violation of the policy, the
EEO Director will refer the report / complaint to the Vice President for Student Affairs,
who will initiate stage 2.
f) The EEO Director shall also notify the Title IX Coordinator of any reports or
complaints received.
2. Stage 2 / Investigation
a) Investigator: Responsibility for investigation of discrimination or harassment
complaints:
1) Student to student violations: A report or complaint brought forward by a student
where the accused is a student shall be investigated by the Vice President for
Student Affairs or his/her designee.
2) Non-student to student violations: Reports or complaints brought forward by a
student where the accused is an employee or non-university person (ex: visitor)
shall be investigated by the EEO.
3) All other violations: Reports or complaints brought forward by a University
employee or non-University person (ex: visitor), regardless of the status of the
person accused, shall be investigated by the EEO.

The full policy can be found here:
https://www.wku.edu/policies/docs/251.pdf

The Office of Student Conduct is the “Judicial Umbrella” at Western Kentucky University. Within the Division of Student Affairs, direct supervisory jurisdiction of student behavior matters involving violations of The Student Handbook is assumed by the Director of Student Conduct who serves as the senior conduct officer of the University.

A University Student Ombuds Officer and Employee Ombuds Officer exist as "an information source and point of communication for students who believe they may have a personal grievance regarding an alleged violation, misinterpretation or improper application of University policies and procedures, or alleged improper treatment."


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:

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 the Chief Diversity Officers who have direct access to the President. The University Diversity Equity & Inclusion Committee serves in an advisory capacity to the Chief Diversity Officers who are responsible for overseeing diversity initiatives, continuous improvement in meeting diversity goals, and establishing a Diversity Plan for the University.
The Diversity Statement and Plan can be viewed here:
https://www.wku.edu/dec/wkudiversitystatement.php
https://www.wku.edu/dec/wkudiversityplan.php

The International Enrollment Management and International Student Office provide specialized support services including admissions processing, immigration advising and guidance, programs and events, cultural adjustment, resources and so much more for more than 1300 international students and scholars from more than 70 countries.

The Cynthia and George Nichols III Intercultural Student Engagement Center (ISEC) promotes a culturally inclusive campus environment, cultural awareness and competence, inter-group dialogue, engagement and intercultural interaction, and supports lifelong learning about self and others. The office, with it’s five full-time staff, serves as a hands-on recruitment and retention resource for the many cultural, religious/spiritual, and gender identity groups reflected within the WKU community. The center provides student support services to foster academic success and sponsors culturally-based celebratory events. ISEC staff carry out programmatic initiatives designed to increase the cultural competency of students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, the center staff manages respectful spaces for students to learn about themselves and others through meaningful experiences, dialogues, and opportunities for growth. Two programs within ISEC, The Intercultural Student Engagement (ISEC) Academy and the Pride Center (LGBTQ+), offer Living Learning Communities for first and second year students.

The Intercultural Student Engagement Center (ISEC) Academy Living Learning Community (LLC) is for any student who identifies as a student of color (Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native American, and Multiracial) and/or is a first-generation college student, Pell eligible, and has some need with their transition, persistence, and graduation from WKU. In their first semester, ISEC Academy LLC participants are enrolled in two courses, UC 175: University Experience and ENGL 100: Introduction to College Writing. Common courses for subsequent semesters vary depending on scheduling and course availability. The linked, common courses are all grounded in at least one High Impact Practice – most commonly, service learning. In addition to common courses and living spaces, students in the LCC receive intrusive peer mentoring, coaching, and academic advising from a full-time staff member. Full-time staff and mentors in the center are available for personal as well as academic engagement.

The Stonewall Suites (LGBT+) Living Learning Community, another group under the umbrella of The Cynthia and George Nichols III Intercultural Student Engagement Center (ISEC), is for students who strive to promote social integration and change for all gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations. This Stonewall LLC is open to any student interested in participating, but interested participants must go through an interview process before being selected into the community. Since the Stonewall Suites are part of ISEC, students in the LLC also take linked, common courses grounded in at least one High Impact Practice, receive intrusive peer mentoring, coaching, and academic advising from a full-time staff member. In addition to the five, full-time staff in ISEC, the Pride Center and Stonewall Suites have a part-time staff member who serves as an advisor and access to specialized services offered by the WKU Counseling Center.

Western Kentucky University’s Facilities Management Department employs the majority of campus staff persons. The department partners with the WKU International Center and the Bowling Green Refugee Center to recruit and place eligible individuals in staff positions at WKU. The success of these efforts have led to a significant increase in diversity in University staff (75 individuals from underrepresented groups in 2016), and the establishment of ESL programming in Facilities Management.

In 2018, WKU developed a Diversity Recruitment Officer (DRO) position in the Office of Admissions who was tasked with creating, coordinating, and implementing recruitment efforts geared specifically to communities of color within the institution's service region and the Commonwealth. As outlined in WKU’s DEI Plan, the DRO is charged with “leveraging relationships with service region high schools and community members by identifying key personnel to arrange occasions to speak with URM students, low-income students, and their families or support persons.” The new DRO hosted and/or participated in 52 (fifty-two) pre-college events designed not only to recruit high school juniors and seniors, but to impress upon them the benefits of post-secondary education and to provide strategies or mechanisms to access post-secondary opportunities. During these events, prospective students received individualized on-site financial aid counseling, academic and career pathway counseling, and a projected timeline to graduation. The minority recruitment office, in collaboration with the Intercultural Student Engagement Center (ISEC), also piloted a Multicultural Preview Day that included a free application fee waiver.

In addition to face to face recruitment, the DRO started an aggressive marketing effort specifically targeting URM students. Any student who identified as Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, or self-identified as two or more races within a 400 mile radius of WKU was sent recruitment materials (postcards via mail, email invitations to multicultural preview day, etc.). In total, 8700 postcards were distributed in fall 2018 and spring 2019 to URM pre-college students. In early summer of 2019, 933 postcards were sent to admitted URM students who had not yet registered for an orientation. Another 3,861 URM students with summer or fall 2019 entry terms who had inquired about WKU but had not applied were sent mailings as well.

Communication about the Multicultural Preview Day organized by ISEC began in late summer 2019. Information was sent to all students who identified as Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, or self-identified as two or more races within a 400 mile radius of WKU (approximately 3,860 students). Invitations for this event were sent in the form of postcards via mail and email invitations and the event was listed on WKU’s calendar events, which was sent to local and regional counselors. There were 14 students who attended the preview day.

The recruitment effort in June of 2019 aimed at URM students (n = 933) who had not yet registered for an orientation, resulted in the following: Seventy-seven (77) students registered for a Topper Orientation Program (TOP) and were all, subsequently, enrolled for the fall 2019 semester (yield rate 77/933 or 8.25%). The recruitment information sent the 3,861 URM students with summer or fall 2019 entry terms who were inquiries but had not applied to WKU as of June 2019, also were targeted with digital ads. Of the URM students receiving both the postcards and digital ads, four (4) students applied, were admitted, and enrolled; a yield rate too low to report. Of the 14 students who participated in the Multicultural Preview Day and received the free application waiver, 7 enrolled in fall 2019 (50%). *Note: Data for fall 2019 enrollment numbers was included because recruitment efforts actually occurred within the 2018-19 reporting parameters.

The 8.25% yield rate for URM recruitment materials and the lack of attendance at the Multicultural Preview Day were most likely due to late notice; many students has already enrolled in other schools. While the numbers are low in term of students who enrolled at WKU in fall 2019, there were some positive outcomes. Since the Multicultural Preview Day resulted in a 50% enrollment, this, perhaps, is something WKU should explore on an on-going bases with substantial monetary investment.


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:

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 the Chief Diversity Officers who have direct access to the President. The University Diversity Equity & Inclusion Committee serves in an advisory capacity to the Chief Diversity Officers who are responsible for overseeing diversity initiatives, continuous improvement in meeting diversity goals, and establishing a Diversity Plan for the University.
The Diversity Statement and Plan can be viewed here:
https://www.wku.edu/dec/wkudiversitystatement.php
https://www.wku.edu/dec/wkudiversityplan.php

The International Enrollment Management and International Student Office provide specialized support services including admissions processing, immigration advising and guidance, programs and events, cultural adjustment, resources and so much more for more than 1300 international students and scholars from more than 70 countries.

The Cynthia and George Nichols III Intercultural Student Engagement Center (ISEC) promotes a culturally inclusive campus environment, cultural awareness and competence, inter-group dialogue, engagement and intercultural interaction, and supports lifelong learning about self and others. The office, with its five full-time staff, serves as a hands-on recruitment and retention resource for the many cultural, religious/spiritual, and gender identity groups reflected within the WKU community. The center provides student support services to foster academic success and sponsors culturally-based celebratory events. ISEC staff carry out programmatic initiatives designed to increase the cultural competency of students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, the center staff manages respectful spaces for students to learn about themselves and others through meaningful experiences, dialogues, and opportunities for growth. Two programs within ISEC, The Intercultural Student Engagement (ISEC) Academy and the Pride Center (LGBTQ+), offer Living Learning Communities for first and second year students.

The Intercultural Student Engagement Center (ISEC) Academy Living Learning Community (LLC) is for any student who identifies as a student of color (Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native American, and Multiracial) and/or is a first-generation college student, Pell eligible, and has some need with their transition, persistence, and graduation from WKU. In their first semester, ISEC Academy LLC participants are enrolled in two courses, UC 175: University Experience and ENGL 100: Introduction to College Writing. Common courses for subsequent semesters vary depending on scheduling and course availability. The linked, common courses are all grounded in at least one High Impact Practice – most commonly, service learning. In addition to common courses and living spaces, students in the LCC receive intrusive peer mentoring, coaching, and academic advising from a full-time staff member. Full-time staff and mentors in the center are available for personal as well as academic engagement.

The Stonewall Suites (LGBT+) Living Learning Community, another group under the umbrella of The Cynthia and George Nichols III Intercultural Student Engagement Center (ISEC), is for students who strive to promote social integration and change for all gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations. This Stonewall LLC is open to any student interested in participating, but interested participants must go through an interview process before being selected into the community. Since the Stonewall Suites are part of ISEC, students in the LLC also take linked, common courses grounded in at least one High Impact Practice, receive intrusive peer mentoring, coaching, and academic advising from a full-time staff member. In addition to the five, full-time staff in ISEC, the Pride Center and Stonewall Suites have a part-time staff member who serves as an advisor and access to specialized services offered by the WKU Counseling Center.

Western Kentucky University’s Facilities Management Department employs the majority of campus staff persons. The department partners with the WKU International Center and the Bowling Green Refugee Center to recruit and place eligible individuals in staff positions at WKU. The success of these efforts have led to a significant increase in diversity in University staff (75 individuals from underrepresented groups in 2016), and the establishment of ESL programming in Facilities Management.

Due to state budget short-falls in 2018, WKU was forced to eliminate 140 positions, cut 101 programs, and dismantle a multidisciplinary college. While occupied tenured faculty lines remained unchanged, the emotional impact resonated across the campus. In addition, vacant positions due to attrition and retirement were suspended or simply left unfilled to reduce payroll costs in order to meet the budget reductions. Despite these losses, the percentage of URM in tenure-track faculty positions increased from 8.9% (2017/18) to 9.6% (2018/19). Unfortunately, the majority of positions eliminated were among staff, which resulted in a 1.8% decrease in management occupation positions held by URMs. In fact, the number of staff, in general, has decreased more than 10% over the last five years. Although there were very few open searches for faculty and staff, substantial efforts were developed to recruit and retain URM faculty and staff.

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.

In 2018, WKU developed a Diversity Recruitment Officer (DRO) position in the Office of Admissions who was tasked with creating, coordinating, and implementing recruitment efforts geared specifically to communities of color within the institution's service region and the Commonwealth. As outlined in WKU’s DEI Plan, the DRO is charged with “leveraging relationships with service region high schools and community members by identifying key personnel to arrange occasions to speak with URM students, low-income students, and their families or support persons.” The new DRO hosted and/or participated in 52 (fifty-two) pre-college events designed not only to recruit high school juniors and seniors, but to impress upon them the benefits of post-secondary education and to provide strategies or mechanisms to access post-secondary opportunities. During these events, prospective students received individualized on-site financial aid counseling, academic and career pathway counseling, and a projected timeline to graduation. The minority recruitment office, in collaboration with the Intercultural Student Engagement Center (ISEC), also piloted a Multicultural Preview Day that included a free application fee waiver.

In addition to face to face recruitment, the DRO started an aggressive marketing effort specifically targeting URM students. Any student who identified as Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, or self-identified as two or more races within a 400 mile radius of WKU was sent recruitment materials (postcards via mail, email invitations to multicultural preview day, etc.). In total, 8700 postcards were distributed in fall 2018 and spring 2019 to URM pre-college students. In early summer of 2019, 933 postcards were sent to admitted URM students who had not yet registered for an orientation. Another 3,861 URM students with summer or fall 2019 entry terms who had inquired about WKU but had not applied were sent mailings as well.

Communication about the Multicultural Preview Day organized by ISEC began in late summer 2019. Information was sent to all students who identified as Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, or self-identified as two or more races within a 400 mile radius of WKU (approximately 3,860 students). Invitations for this event were sent in the form of postcards via mail and email invitations and the event was listed on WKU’s calendar events, which was sent to local and regional counselors. There were 14 students who attended the preview day.

The recruitment effort in June of 2019 aimed at URM students (n = 933) who had not yet registered for an orientation, resulted in the following: Seventy-seven (77) students registered for a Topper Orientation Program (TOP) and were all, subsequently, enrolled for the fall 2019 semester (yield rate 77/933 or 8.25%). The recruitment information sent the 3,861 URM students with summer or fall 2019 entry terms who were inquiries but had not applied to WKU as of June 2019, also were targeted with digital ads. Of the URM students receiving both the postcards and digital ads, four (4) students applied, were admitted, and enrolled; a yield rate too low to report. Of the 14 students who participated in the Multicultural Preview Day and received the free application waiver, 7 enrolled in fall 2019 (50%). *Note: Data for fall 2019 enrollment numbers was included because recruitment efforts actually occurred within the 2018-19 reporting parameters.

The 8.25% yield rate for URM recruitment materials and the lack of attendance at the Multicultural Preview Day were most likely due to late notice; many students has already enrolled in other schools. While the numbers are low in term of students who enrolled at WKU in fall 2019, there were some positive outcomes. Since the Multicultural Preview Day resulted in a 50% enrollment, this, perhaps, is something WKU should explore on an on-going bases with substantial monetary investment.


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:

The Office of Scholar Development (OSD) challenges URM students to dream big and assists them in making those dreams attainable. Additionally, OSD offers support to faculty and staff members in their endeavors to assist individual students and promote research, creative activities, and achievement university-wide. The offices collaborates with faculty and staff to apply for grants and create opportunities for URM students, develop workshops related, and celebrate the successes of WKU students and their faculty advisors. In support of the institutional mission to increase the diversity of faculty, the OSD assists with application for Ford Foundation Fellowship programs, described below.
"Through its Fellowship Programs, the Ford Foundation seeks to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the faculty of the nation’s colleges and universities, thus maximizing the educational benefits of diversity and increasing the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students."

WKU is committed to assisting individuals from minority groups in obtaining their higher education goals. The Distinguished Minority Fellows program is designed to help minority students attain graduate degrees by providing tuition as well as employment opportunities and careers in higher education.

At Western Kentucky University, the Minority Teacher Recruitment Center (MTRC) is committed to increasing the number of minority teachers in Kentucky classrooms through recruitment and retention efforts. The MTRC is dedicated to assisting students who are pursuing teacher education as a major, and collaborates with the Kentucky Department of Education and area school districts in bringing resources together.


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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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.