Goal 4: Maintain Access, Affordability and Enhance Diversity
Strategy 4.5: Build on the Framework to Foster Diversity
Penn State has made considerable progress over the past decade in enhancing the climate for diversity, enrolling a significantly higher proportion of underrepresented students, recruiting and retaining more women and faculty of color, incorporating multicultural and international course content, improving the educational and physical environment for people with disabilities, and enhancing institutional leadership of diversity endeavors. Much of that progress can be attributed to what is still regarded by many other universities as a bold strategy encompassed in A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State, a major five-year planning process that holds academic and administrative units accountable for making progress in achieving greater diversity. Unit plans are submitted at the start of a five-year planning timeline, progress reports are reviewed at the midpoint of the period and at the end, and institutional data are used to provide benchmarks for progress. Best practices in pursuit of major challenges are shared widely, and unit reports are publicly available on the Web. The second five-year plan under this approach will conclude in 2009.
The diversity planning process focuses on seven major challenges in creating a more diverse university, and fostering diversity must continue to be recognized as a core value of the institution. Penn State should continue to pursue progress for the seven challenges that have been identified through the Framework process: developing a shared and inclusive understanding of diversity, creating a welcoming campus climate, recruiting and retaining a diverse student body, recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce, developing a curriculum that fosters United States and intercultural competencies, diversifying University leadership and management, and pursuing organizational change to support our diversity goals.
A new planning framework for diversity is being launched for 2010 through 2015 that will roughly parallel the University strategic plan. A separate diversity planning process remains necessary to continue to highlight our responsibilities as a university to lead in efforts to create a more multicultural environment for the future. Although it is beneficial to include these elements in the University’s strategic plan, experience indicates that it is too easy for diversity to get lost or become an afterthought or an appendix to the very challenging aspects of other University strategies. The forthcoming 2010-2015 planning process will target areas in which further progress is necessary, while recognizing the considerable progress that academic and administrative support units have made in fostering greater diversity.