In this roundup, we profile 10 of the 12 institutions that received a grade of B on Pillar IV (Institutional Representation/Composition) of CoopLew’s analysis, as part of the DOIT (Diverse Organizational Impact and Transformation) program. All institutions were asked how they are addressing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their plans to attract underrepresented professionals to senior level positions and what mechanisms they have in place or are actively developing to onboard, retain, promote and cultivate the pipeline.
Two of the 12 schools that received the grade of B are not included. McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, declined to be interviewed as the campus has sustained considerable damage due to Hurricane Delta. Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad in California did not reply to interview requests.
William & Mary
Dr. Fanchon Glover, chief diversity officer at William & Mary in Virginia, is a member of the executive leadership team of Dr. Katherine A. Rowe, William & Mary’s president. Glover oversees and implements all the diversity initiatives across campus. The current student population is 8,773, with 6,500 of those being undergraduates.
Glover’s office works closely with the human resources department. In 2019, they
created a plan outlining concepts for faculty hiring that are presently being implemented.
“We will do training for search committees and also departments,” Glover says. “It’s a mandate that all members of a department who plan to evaluate a candidate have to be trained.”
To cast the widest net possible, search committees use not only traditional modes of advertising but also software programs such as Listserv. Representatives attend the Southern Regional Education Board’s doctoral scholars institute. Recruiting for professional staff is also far-reaching and includes visiting multiple job fairs.
William & Mary holds a future faculty development program called IGNITE. There are plans to hire a talent acquisition specialist, who would engage in long-range planning for faculty and senior leadership positions. The school also plans to use Oregon State University’s Search Advocate Program.
“Recruitment and retention go together [in] all levels of employment,” says Glover, who holds networking receptions.
There are regular assessments of DEI climate and follow up to make sure any needed changes occur.
“Within our evaluation system for tenure and promotion, [we’re trying to make sure that] the service activities that faculty do — whether working with students or working with the community on things that will enhance our DEI efforts — are counted,” says Glover.
In less than two years as the inaugural chief diversity and inclusion officer at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, Dr. Terrence A. Mitchell has worked to increase student, staff and faculty diversity. For fall 2020, the total student population is
4,319, of whom 3,146 are undergraduates.
In hiring Mitchell, the university moved from addressing DEI as a compliance issue to a proactive, intentional stance.
“They wanted to broaden the work and have a comprehensive and institutional look at diversity,” says Mitchell.
If you’re successfully doing DEI work with the student body, the satisfaction of faculty and staff improves, Mitchell says. There is anti-bias training, and faculty and staff respond well to the flexible video modules. He engages faculty and senior staff in diversity work, particularly in areas where he may be less familiar, such as Hispanic Heritage Month.
The campus location is somewhat rural, so Mitchell encourages search committees to focus on the city of Erie, about 25 minutes away — African American, Latinx, Asian as well as LGBTQ hires have all found community in Erie.
While the mechanisms are in place, due to financial woes at present, the university does not have the resources for new senior hires.
“That’s curtailed some of the plans around building pipelines,” Mitchell says. “We can only fill the positions that have to be filled.”
Edinboro has had diversity at the senior levels, including a previous African American president.
Iowa Wesleyan University
Dr. DeWayne P. Frazier, university provost of Iowa Wesleyan University, says the university’s rural location and lack of multicultural amenities in the surrounding area thwarts efforts to increase faculty and senior leadership diversity. While there is robust diversity among the student body of 739, potential faculty and senior staff are turned off by everything from the lack of a hair salon that serves Black clientele to predominantly White houses of worship.
There is no lack of trying; however, “we struggle when we try to recruit someone that’s never lived in rural America,” says Frazier.
Students of color, who make up approximately half of the student body, find community in a Latinx club, an international club and the Black student union. The university has a diversity and inclusion council and a persistence and completion council for first-generation students.
“We work really hard to integrate different vantage points in our classrooms,” says Frazier. “We honor history of inclusion.”
Iowa Wesleyan is a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), the only school in Iowa that qualifies (more than 10% of the student body is Latinx).
Taking a long-term view, the university is trying to grow its own, encouraging today’s students to return in the future as faculty and staff who can rise through the pipeline. Frazier says the university is also working with the local chamber of commerce to develop more Black-serving businesses.
Frontier Nursing University
Dr. Geraldine Q. Young was hired as Frontier Nursing University’s chief diversity and inclusion officer in March, just as the majority of the student body (all of whom are already registered nurses) and some of the faculty were called to the frontlines to fight COVID-19. The Versailles, Kentucky-based university has held support sessions for faculty, staff and students to hear their concerns and make necessary
Frontier is a graduate institution with approximately 2,500 students pursuing master’s and doctoral programs. Part of the university’s mission is to serve rural and underserved communities. Young says the university has a holistic admissions process, looking for diverse students to serve those communities.
Young is a member of the president’s cabinet, the only person of color in the five-person cabinet. Approximately 25% of the student population and about 20% of the faculty are people of color.
The university has a strategic plan with specific DEI goals. Frontier is revamping its application process for hiring. In terms of retention, data on underrepresented groups within the institution — students, faculty and staff — is currently being tracked to make sure needs are being met.
Young sees DEI as part of creating more equitable healthcare for all.
“Probably everywhere is going to need to revamp things such as curriculum to address issues such as racism,” she says.
Frontier has set aside funds to advertise positions in various publications that attract diverse applicants and Young has input into the process. In terms of retention, as a recent hire herself, Young feels supported by fellow leadership and works to support others too. Her department is currently doing assessments and putting in place anti-racism and bias reporting policies and procedures.
“When you … make sure this information is embedded so you can track it, then you can create strategic plans to ensure the needs of diverse populations are met,” says Young.
Dr. Paula O’Loughlin, provost and dean of the faculty at Coe College in Iowa, says everything the college does connects to its goals around DEI. Since joining the college’s senior leadership team in 2016, O’Loughlin has worked with human resources to make the search process for faculty more inclusive, increasing faculty of color from approximately 2% to 12%. Those changes have been incorporated into college-wide searches.
“We have added training about implicit bias to our faculty review and promotion process,” says O’Loughlin. “We changed the tenure and promotion guidelines to pay attention to advising loads and additional responsibilities of faculty of color.”
Coe is centrally located in the city of Cedar Rapids, whose population is approximately 11% people of color. The college’s student population of 1,394 is approximately 25% domestic students of color. New faculty members of color are connected with younger alumni of color in the area and other faculty of color at nearby colleges.
Inclusive hiring practices have increased the diversity of faculty and staff on Coe’s campus.
“This starts with the [expanded] pipeline, continues with intentional pool development and measurement, unconscious bias trailing, highly conscious interview practices and the Inclusive Coe program, as well as many best practices,” says O’Loughlin.
Inclusive Coe connects candidates with faculty and staff from historically underrepresented backgrounds to confidentially discuss their experiences in Cedar Rapids, including information about K–12, shopping and houses of worship.
“When candidates for senior level positions come to campus, they meet our administration and see our authentic commitment to students and the principles of DEI and access,” she adds. “People can see … the credibility members of the senior leadership team have with students from underrepresented communities.”
Western Connecticut State University
Jesenia Minier-Delgado has been the chief diversity officer at Western Connecticut State University since 2017. The diversity of the university’s student body — of which 3,967 are undergraduates and 497 graduate students — is ever-growing, particularly when it comes to first-generation and low-income students.
“We’re trying to coordinate and collaborate for additional resources on how we can help our campus make progress in its diversity,” Minier-Delgado says. “As the chief diversity officer, I’m trying to contribute to not just the leadership role for this growing institution but [to] the aspiration of closing the equity gap and reaching our full potential.”
Within the university, there is mentorship of junior faculty and staff by senior faculty and staff.
“We’re enriching our workforce in order to retain and grow them within,” says Minier-Delgado.
The university has partnered with the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium through Columbia University to market open positions for administration and faculty. There is also a partnership with the NAACP to reach out to historically Black institutions as a pipeline.
“We’ve also created a task force that speaks to our efforts in diversity and inclusion with a diversity action plan,” says Minier-Delgado. “We recently started that work with … a group of eight members representative of our staff, faculty and students.”
Minier-Delgado says the work includes gearing up recruitment and retention in ways that generate more effective pipelines with collaborative networks and other organizations. The university recently hired a chief financial officer, Beatrice Fevry, who is African American.
“When I joined in 2017, I was the second person of color [in the president’s cabinet]. We have now five members who are persons of color,” says Minier-Delgado. “Our university president [Dr. John B. Clark] is committed to diversifying his cabinet to speak to the importance of not just cultural and social integration, but also having a professional network of advisors.”
University of Washington, Seattle
As vice president for minority affairs and diversity, Rickey Hall oversees a full portfolio of programs and services for the University of Washington’s Seattle campus, and, as university diversity officer, he is a resource for the university’s other two campuses, Tacoma and Bothell, which have their own diversity leads. He meets with those individuals to discuss initiatives that will span all three campuses.
Washington is a public institution with 48,103 total students at the Seattle campus in the 2019-20 academic year. Being part of the president’s cabinet enables Hall to engage the university’s leaders around DEI and make sure these issues are always on the radar. At a large, complex, decentralized institution, Hall says much happens at the local level, meaning the colleges, schools and administrative units.
“This has to be everybody’s everyday work,” says Hall. “If you start the search when you have an opening, you’re too late. We should always be in recruitment mode.”
President Ana Mari Cauce is Latinx. Over half of her cabinet, which is composed of individuals from all three campuses, is female. There are three African American vice presidents, including Hall. Over 40% of the deans are people of color.
Propelling DEI at large public institutions is a group effort, Hall notes. “Our deans have to have commitment,” he says. “Vice presidents, the provosts, the president and others certainly have to have commitment to realize [DEI].”
Hall works closely with the associate vice provost for faculty advancement on institutional transformation efforts. There are currently a couple of open dean positions. Hall sent one of the search committees the names of eight possible candidates.
“The president has communicated her expectations to search firms and those on search committees that the pool will be diverse,” Hall says. “When those senior positions are open, we are actively engaging colleagues across the country to identify diverse candidates that will be competitive in our searches, and it has paid off.”
Grand Valley State University
A public university in Michigan, Grand Valley State University has two campuses. Although one is urban and one rural, they are located relatively close and many of the 24,000 students — 21,000 undergraduates and 3,000 graduate students — access both campuses.
DEI programming is overseen by Dr. Jesse M. Bernal, vice president for inclusion and equity, and is university-wide. Equity and structural diversity are priorities as is working to remove barriers for both employment and educational access, says Bernal.
“We administer climate surveys to all of our faculty, students and staff every four years,” says Bernal, a member of the president’s cabinet and the university’s first Latinx vice president. “We use that data to inform practices across our university.”
Although now hampered by COVID-19, for the past three years the university has hosted quarterly recruitment and retention symposiums centered around equity. For underrepresented employees, there is also the leadership development program, Cultivate, sponsored by the social justice education office.
The program helps individuals “be their full, authentic selves while navigating institutional structures,” says Bernal.
Also, there are acceleration teams, for which diverse groups are formed across disciplines and departments to address pressing university issues. Bernal says these teams have enabled individuals to shine and be seen as valued candidates for promotion to senior leadership positions.
Following the death of George Floyd, Dr. Philomena V. Mantella, Grand Valley State’s president, issued a 15-point plan and created a network of racial equity advisors that includes faculty, staff, students and alumni. Bernal says Mantella is intentional about the recruitment and retention of senior and executive officers from underrepresented backgrounds and is actively involved in the search processes. The first Black male vice president and first LGBTQ vice president were recently hired.
“The president has asked the network of advisors for racial equity to begin to develop evaluation criteria that would hold our supervisors and hiring managers across the university accountable for recruitment and retention of underrepresented employees,” says Bernal. “We’re now in the process of finalizing those metrics and evaluation criteria that will be implemented in the next few months.”
St. Catherine University
When Patricia Pratt-Cook was hired as the senior vice president for human resources, equity and inclusion three and a half years ago, she was the first person of color in the senior leadership team at St. Catherine University in Minnesota. Today, she is joined by several other people of color, including Dr. Anita Thomas, executive vice president and provost.
Pratt-Cook says St. Catherine President Rebecca Koenig Roloff realized that human resources needed to be involved with hiring at a strategic level with equity and inclusion a key part.
“When we were looking to fill positions, we made a commitment that we wanted to have a diverse pool of candidates,” says Pratt-Cook. “We are in a state of transformation as a university. For a leader who is looking … to help change the very essence of who we are as we move forward … this has been a key driver.”
The total student population at St. Catherine is 4,300, which is divided among three colleges: a women’s college, a coed college for adults and a coed graduate school. At the women’s college, 42% of the student body and 52% of this year’s freshmen are women of color.
Pratt-Cook’s work involves developing infrastructure around equity and inclusion. For the past year, the university has been examining its recruitment, hiring, screening and selection processes across the board. There is a recruitment task force looking at both staff and faculty hiring to make sure processes are consistent and reflective of best practices.
There is not yet an institutionalized plan for onboarding and retaining underrepresented professionals in senior leadership, but Pratt-Cook says new hires are scheduled to meet all key people and establish networks right at the start.
“We’ve been much more intentional to get them connected and oriented to the university,” Pratt-Cook says. “We want to be sure we give them as many tools and resources as possible.”
California Institute of the Arts
By its very nature, an institution focused on the arts aims to be eclectic and diverse. Dr. Eva M. Graham, institute diversity officer for the California Institute of the Arts, says those efforts must still be intentional.
“It is clear that our commitment to social justice, equity and inclusion has to be demonstrated from all areas of campus,” says Graham, a member of the president’s cabinet and chair of the equity and diversity committee.
CalArts allowed Graham to change the hiring statement so it is clear applicants have a global world view and understand what developing diverse students entails.
CalArts pushes its student body of 1,500 beyond the limits of the traditional canon (i.e. Western art being the standard), and that requires faculty and leadership who are open to diverse expressions in all areas of art.
According to Graham, Ravi S. Rajan, CalArts’ first president of color, “not only understands the need for diversity in perspective and approach, but he also represents it.”
Recruitment involves making clear CalArts’ intent toward social and cultural development. In terms of retention, Graham holds regular meetings with new hires and addresses any concerns they may have. In the last year, CalArts also hired a director of faculty affairs, who is developing specific initiatives around recruiting and retaining faculty of color.
“Just this summer the faculty started three anti-racist pedagogy committees that the director of faculty affairs is supporting,” says Graham. “All of that came out of us deciding we needed someone to focus on recruitment, retention and professional development.”
This article originally appeared in the November 12, 2020 edition of Diverse. You can find it here.