Since creating the University Diversity and Inclusion Alliance (UDIA) in academic year 2015-16, and drafting a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan in April 2016, Emporia State University has worked diligently to address diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. Out of the work undertaken by the original steering committee, a more permanent college-wide institutional group was developed. The UDIA is a group charged with examining diversity, inclusion, and equity issues on campus with respect to policy and practice from multiple perspectives (including access, recruitment and retention, community connections and outreach to diverse constituents, and campus climate and culture). UDIA works together with the President’s Cabinet leadership and Emporia State University’s constituents to engage the campus community in productive dialogue about campus climate issues and to make recommendations toward action.
UDIA collaborates with Institutional Research to lead and carry out Emporia State’s Campus Climate Survey, which focuses on gauging collective change in experiences and perceptions of Emporia State’s campus climate as reported by faculty, staff, and students. Furthermore, UDIA is charged, in collaboration with the Cabinet, with developing and implementing the institution’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan. UDIA reviews current efforts aimed at enhancing diversity in representation and practice and considers which diversity goals and approaches might serve effective in furthering the university’s diversity and inclusion vision, and diversity statement.
The goals and objectives of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan are designed to help move the university from its current state with regard to diversity, equity and inclusion, practice, and representation toward the future state to which we aspire. Important to the accountability of each strategic goal is the institution’s role in providing the human and financial capacity to effectively carry out said objectives.
The goals, objectives, and strategies contained in this document were informed by the feedback from the Emporia State community, shared governing bodies, a literature review, and the UDIA subcommittees, which are Policy Review, Data Analysis, Structure and Best Practices. These initiatives have been reviewed by the University Diversity and Inclusion Alliance co-chairs, senior administrative liaisons, Institutional Research and Assessment, and the steering committee.
Policy Review Committee
Reviews current university policies within the context of what should be changed and what, if anything, is missing. Prepares recommendations for consideration by the full Alliance.
Data Analysis Committee
Reviews existing data and develops conclusions regarding the current environment, taking into consideration the demographics of survey completers. Prepares recommendations for consideration by the full Alliance.
Reviews the current organizational structure, including offices, committees, and personnel within the context of what should be changed and what if anything, is missing. Prepares recommendations for consideration by the full Alliance.
Best Practices Committee
Researches best diversity and inclusion practices within the field. Prepares recommendations for consideration by the full Alliance.
Because of its importance, this Plan is a component of the university’s new Strategic Plan. Specifically, it is the means to achieve Goal 5 of the Strategic Plan, “Become a model for diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Continuing Programs and New Infrastructure
In addition to the new initiatives outlined in this plan, the many programs and offices established over the years will continue to provide foundational support and infrastructure for this work. From those designed to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion to those that offer personal resources and assistance to community members, the ongoing programs will play a vital role in achieving our goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Metrics and Reporting
Because we are committed to holding ourselves accountable for achieving progress under this plan, we will track — over time — metrics that represent important factors in assessing progress toward our goals. We will use these metrics in combination to determine whether specific shifts up or down, or lack of activity, represent positive outcomes relative to creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus. At regular intervals, we will update the community on our progress. This tracking and reporting will occur at the university as well as the school, college, and unit levels. Major progress will be evaluated at the end of each academic year.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Emporia State University supports an inclusive learning environment where diversity and individual differences are understood, respected, appreciated, and recognized as a source of strength. We expect that students, faculty, administrators, and staff within Emporia State will respect differences and demonstrate diligence in understanding how other people’s perspectives, behaviors, and worldviews may be different from their own. Dimensions of diversity can include sex, race, age, national origin, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, intellectual and physical ability, sexual orientation, income, faith and non-faith perspectives, socio-economic class, political ideology, education, primary language, family status, military experience, cognitive style, and communication style. The individual intersection of these experiences and characteristics will be valued in our community.
Emporia State University’s Affirmation of Values (University Policy Manual, Page 2) includes the following statement:
ESU has a commitment to recognize the value of diversity and the respect for individual ideas, opinions, and experiences.
Students, faculty, staff, and administrators provide opportunities within and outside the classroom that foster contact with and respect for diverse groups of people and increased appreciation for pluralistic ideas and experiences. We value and welcome the benefits of diversity. Therefore, we expect and demand that the worth and dignity of all people be recognized without regard to any classification that might preclude a person from consideration as an individual.