Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 47.23
Liaison Keaton Schrank
Submission Date Aug. 15, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Westminster University - Utah
PA-6: Support for Underrepresented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.42 / 3.00 Kerry Case
Environmental Director
Environmental Center
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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 Policy:

Westminster College is committed to providing a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all members of the college community. The College will not tolerate discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in the workplace, academic setting, or in its programs or activities based on race, color, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, religion, military status, or genetic information. To that end, this policy prohibits specific forms of behavior that violate Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and the Utah Antidiscrimination Act of 1965. The College also prohibits complicity, false reporting, and retaliation under this policy.

In addition, the College prohibits sexual assault, sexual and gender-based harassment, gender-based discrimination, sexual exploitation, interpersonal violence, and other conduct that violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) or the College’s obligations under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (“VAWA”) and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“Clery Act”). Those categories of prohibited conduct are governed by the College’s Policy on Sexual Assault, Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Gender-Based Discrimination, and Interpersonal Violence (“Title IX Policy”), which also establishes separate procedures that outline reporting options and explain how the College assesses, investigates, and resolves reports of such prohibited conduct against students and employees. The Title IX Policy and related procedures supersede any conflicting information contained in this Equal Opportunity Policy or its related procedures with respect to the conduct the Title IX Policy specifically prohibits. Where a complaint alleges conduct that may violate this policy and other conduct that may violate the Title IX Policy, the Title IX coordinator will determine how the reports should be addressed.

URL: https://westminstercollege.edu/policies (Click "Individual Rights," then click "341 Equal Opportunity Policy."

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):

In November 2016 the college adopted a revised Equal Opportunity Policy that more clearly outlined the protections and obligations of all members of our campus community in creating an environment free of all forms of non-gender based discrimination and harassment.

All staff and faculty were required to complete an online training course to understand the policy and their responsibility to act. This policy, in combination with our Title IX policy, create the college’s protocol for investigating and formally responding to incidents of alleged discrimination and harassment.

Recognizing that not all incidents of bias will rise to the level of a potential policy violation, and in an effort to build capacity for support, education, and response when bias incidents occur, the college created a Bias Education and Response Team (BERT). Their protocol is listed below:

- Online reporting (with an anonymous reporting option)
- Compliance review and assessment
- 72 hour response window
- Information gathering by an assigned response team member
- Review of information and factors
- Assessment and categorization of bias occurrence
- Follow-up with individuals impacted to identify and provide support
- Formulate an action for education or an administrative intervention
- Develop a campus message, response, and/or activity (for community-level bias).

"Support With and Through the Process" is a written section within Westminster's Bias Reporting and Response Protocol:

"The purpose of the bias response process is to be educational, responsive, and supportive for all those involved. Some processes may require little action and involvement and others may require greater conversations and dialogue. Regardless of the approach, the BERT commits to listening (as opposed to judging) and providing information, support, and resources for everyone involved in the response process. After the initial report to the BERT*, a BERT member will follow-up within 72 hours to confirm receipt of 10 report, to discuss/explain the process, and obtain more information, if applicable. The assigned BERT member will also be available to answer questions throughout the process."

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:

Walkways to Westminster:

The Walkways to Westminster program is designed to introduce low-income high school students to college life, to provide access to campus support programs, and to attract nontraditional, first-generation students to post-secondary education.

When we launched the program in 2015, one of our goals was to attract these students to Westminster for their education; unfortunately, Westminster College does not yet have the financial capacity to provide full-ride scholarships to all of these students, so we have expanded the scope of our project to include providing access to any college, including Salt Lake Community College, Davis Applied Technology College, and others. Our primary goal as an educational institution is to ensure that students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, receive excellent education, and we are proud to help high school students imagine themselves in college, even if Westminster is not their ultimate destination.

URL: https://www.westminstercollege.edu/campus-life/centers-and-institutes/center-for-civic-engagement/walkways-to-westminster

Diversity and Faculty Hiring Practices:

The Westminster School of Arts and Sciences (under which a majority of Westminster's tracks of study fall) hires faculty according to their 2012-13 faculty hiring guide. The guide explicitly addresses Westminster's commitment to diversifying our faculty:

"The College’s focus on diversifying the faculty—increasing the number of Westminster faculty from a range of backgrounds, racial, ethnic, and social groups, and increasing the range of life and research experiences and perspectives faculty bring to the College—is not a focus on quotas or numbers. Rather, it reflects the College’s commitment to academic excellence, student learning, innovation, and continual improvement."

Tangible steps are taken in the hiring process to emphasize diversity. When recruiting candidates, the search committee is required to make diversity an explicit priority in the public listing, and the hiring guide offers several examples of how to make our diversity priority clear in job listings:

"We seek

• 'a culturally competent faculty member with demonstrated ability to work with diverse student populations and integrate issues related to domestic diversity and internationalization into the curriculum.'

• 'a candidate with demonstrated success in integrating diversity issues and/or a focus on global consciousness into the curriculum.' (What evidence will illustrate this?)

• 'a candidate whose experience and expertise will contribute to the College’s commitment to improving student learning about diversity and global issues.' (What evidence will illustrate this?)

• 'a candidate with demonstrated success working with a diverse student body.' (What evidence will illustrate that the student body was diverse and that the person was successful?)

"Other options include:

•'Westminster College is committed to enhancing student learning related to diversity and global issues, both within and outside the classroom. Candidates whose experience and expertise will help to develop the College’s curricular and co-curricular offerings in these areas are strongly encouraged to apply.'

• 'Westminster College’s commitment to diversity and global learning is revealed in its core values, mission and vision statements, and learning goals. The College’s most recent strategic plan includes a commitment to investing in programs, facilities, and people that are critical to the College’s ability to realize its long-range vision to prepare students for success in a diverse, global society.'

Teaching Fellows Program:

In addition to prioritizing diversity in candidate searches, Westminster offers a post-doctoral program with a diversity emphasis. The program description is as follows:

"Westminster College is dedicated to providing new PhDs with opportunities to develop proficiency within a student-centered, active-learning paradigm, as well as to providing a diverse academic environment for its students. To that end, we have created the Westminster Teaching Fellows program to attract and support promising post-doctoral scholars whose life experience, research, and employment background will contribute significantly to the academic excellence of the College.

"The College’s commitment to both domestic diversity and internationalization is revealed in its core values, mission, and vision statements, as well as in its college-wide learning goals. Moreover, Westminster’s most recent strategic plan includes a commitment to investing in programs, facilities, and people that are critical to our long-range vision of preparing students for success in a diverse, global society.

"Candidates with experiences, skills, and potential to provide mentoring and academic support to historically underrepresented students (students of color, LGBT students, students with disabilities, first-generation college students) and to help develop Westminster’s curricular and co-curricular offerings in these areas are strongly encouraged to apply to the Westminster Teaching Fellows Program."

This program has historically functioned as a pipeline into a full-time faculty role at Westminster, and has been successful in recruiting several current full-time faculty from underrepresented groups.

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:

Legacy Scholars:

The Legacy Scholars program is designed to help first-generation and traditionally underrepresented students get the most out of their college experience. Students in the program get extra help adjusting to college life from professors and staff who really care about their success. Throughout their four years at Westminster, Legacy students have access to academic support through tutors, study groups, and special research projects. And their mentors give them guidance along the way, helping them find learning opportunities outside of the classroom, from presenting at or attending academic conferences to participating in outdoor trips.

URL: https://www.westminstercollege.edu/campus-life/centers-and-institutes/student-diversity-and-inclusion-center/programs-and-initiatives/legacy-scholars-program

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:

McNair Scholars Program:

The McNair Scholars Program is a federally funded effort to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups who go on to graduate study. The program is named after Ronald E. McNair, an African-American physicist and NASA astronaut who died in the Challenger explosion in 1986.

The Westminster College McNair Scholars Program draws students from three campuses: Westminster College, Salt Lake Community College, and College of Southern Idaho. By encouraging and supporting qualified students through undergraduate school and the transition to graduate school, the ultimate goal is to increase faculty diversity in colleges and universities.

URL: https://www.westminstercollege.edu/about/resources/mcnair-scholars-program

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:

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