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DEI Steering Committee Report

Report of the President’s Steering Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion | March 29, 2021

Introduction

This is the first report of the President’s Steering Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  It provides a description of the Steering Committee’s work and includes recommendations based on its work to date. The findings and recommendations included here serve as an opportunity to effect systemic change as we aspire to become a more equitable and inclusive campus community. To provide context, a brief history of the Steering Committee follows.
 
The reader should note that this report is based on the work done through March 2021.  As the Steering Committee’s work is ongoing and continuing, additional documents and policies, practices, and procedures have been identified and are under review. More findings and recommendations will be forthcoming. We also recognize that offices and departments at the University continue to examine and update their policies, practices, and procedures. As a result, there may have been changes made in some of the items referenced in this report. 

History

President Woodward established the President’s Steering Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in August 2019. The Steering Committee’s charge is comprehensive and purposeful, reflecting the University’s goal of embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the University.The Steering Committee “is charged with the responsibility for leading, advocating, and assisting in the coordination (of) University-wide efforts to realize diversity initiatives and foster inclusive excellence.”

In the document establishing the Steering Committee, President Woodward noted that the Steering Committee “is central to and will lead all efforts pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University.” (Attached as Appendix “A”) In addition, the establishing document directed the Steering Committee to:

  • provide leadership in advocating and advancing diversity initiatives and inclusive excellence throughout the University community;
  • serve as a resource to senior leadership as the University seeks to embed and layer diversity, equity, and inclusion into its culture and in all University-wide activities and initiatives;
  • support and enhance our University’s identity as a welcoming and inclusive community that celebrates and draws strength from its diversity; and
  • advocate for the development and implementation of programs and initiatives for students, faculty, and staff in order to support campus-wide efforts relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The Steering Committee is comprised of students, staff, and faculty. A list of members is included as Appendix “B.”  Members are appointed by the President, faculty and staff to two to three (2-3) year staggered terms and students for one year.  Committee members are not selected to simply “represent” certain areas or constituencies, but rather are identified to afford the Committee the opportunity to utilize the wide array of skills and expertise that members bring to the work and to benefit from the diversity of perspectives and experiences they possess. The Steering Committee holds monthly meetings, with additional full meetings or subgroups meetings, as needed.

The first meeting of the Steering Committee was held in November 2019. At the first meeting the charge to the Committee was shared and members considered how best to structure the work.

President’s Steering Committee: Structure of its Work

In order to begin to address its far-reaching and expansive charge, the Steering Committee co-chairs felt it important to conduct a comprehensive inventory and evaluation of what efforts in the DEI space already existed at the University. To do so, the Steering Committee created and formed three working groups to conduct inventories of these efforts in relation to the specific items articulated in the Committee’s charge. Each working group selected a chair in order to facilitate communication and afford the Steering Committee co-chairs the opportunity to coordinate any overlapping issues that might arise. The Steering Committee formalized and approved its work structure at its December 2019 meeting. Findings and recommendations generated by the working groups are incorporated in this report to President Woodward.

Three Working Groups

Policy Working Group

The Policy Working Group examined existing student, staff ¹, and faculty policy documents and were tasked to:

  • review University policies, practices, and procedures to assess their impact on our efforts to support and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion; and
  • propose University policies and procedures that promote positive systemic changes in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Population Working Group

The Population Working Group was tasked to:           

  • monitor and support efforts to recruit and retain diverse populations of students,
    faculty, and staff


Academic Programs Group

The Academic Programs Working Group was tasked to:

  • monitor and support efforts to expand the diversity of content within all
    academic programs

Other items contained in the charge, including assessment and accountability, were addressed by the full Steering Committee as a next step.

 


[1] staff includes administration.

Findings & Recommendations of the Working Groups

Faculty Policy

Faculty policies reviewed included the Manual of Policies and Procedures (MAPP), the Faculty Policy Manual (FPM), and the Part-Time Faculty Handbook. 

Findings:

The three documents are not consistent in language or coverage.

MAPP

  • The Mission, Vision, and Values statements are out of date in the MAPP.
  • The MAPP’s statement on diversity is out of date and “equity” and “inclusion” do not appear, while “diversity” only appears in the outdated diversity statement.
  • The introduction to the MAPP does not include all protected classes in its anti-discrimination statement.
  • The MAPP is lacking information on support services, including Accessibility Services.

FPM

  • The FPM contains no information or statement regarding diversity, equity, or inclusion
    and the Mission, Vision, and Values statement are not included.
  • The only mention of diversity in the FPM references the Staff Employment Manual, but the link to the manual is broken.
  • The EEO section in the FPM is short and lacks details on processes and procedures in case of EEO violation. 
  • The FPM contains no details for faculty needing accommodation under the ADA.
  • DEI trainings for faculty search committees are not listed.

Part-Time Faculty Handbook

  • The Part-Time Faculty Handbook contains no DEI statement and no Vision, Mission,
    and Value statements.
  • The Part-Time Faculty Handbook is lacking guidance on training opportunities.
  • The EEO section in the Part-Time Faculty Handbook is short and lacks details on
    processes and procedures in case of EEO Violations.
Recommendations:
  • The parties responsible for the three documents (Office of the Provost and Faculty Senate) should coordinate to ensure consistent language and coverage, review annually and update as needed.
  • The three documents should be amended to include the current Mission, Vision, and Value statements. 
  • DEI and other statements in support of equity, inclusive excellence, and social justice should be prominently located in each.
  • Required and recommend trainings in support of equity, inclusive excellence, and social
    justice should be included in the documents.
  • Required DEI training for faculty search committees should be listed in the FPM.
  • The FPM should to inform faculty of the importance of ADA, EEO, and Sexual Harassment Policies and provide instructions to access information the policies.
  • The MAPP and the Part-Time Faculty Handbook should be reviewed and amended to include comprehensive information to assist faculty on procedures for support services.
  • Procedures for filing complaints of discrimination or bias based on protected classes not covered by Title IX and the ADA should be published in all documents where Title IX and ADA procedures are listed.

Student Policy

The Student Policy working group has reviewed the Source and the Student Services website. Student policies are dispersed widely across the institution.  The working group is continuing its inventory and examination of all student policies, practices, and procedures. Additional findings and recommendations are forthcoming.

Findings:
  • The origin of the diversity statement in The Source is not clear.
  • The diversity statement in The Source does not recognize that how an individual identifies and identity terms used may grow and change.
  • The Right to Privacy is lacking a link to appeals information in The Source.
  • The Hazing Policy in The Source is lacking mention of “demeaning to one’s personal or cultural identity”.
  • The images of students and staff on the Student Services website do not reflect our campus diversity.
  • The Student Services website introduction mentions connecting student to Greek Life and intramurals but is silent on other organizations or activities, including affinity groups.
  • The language and presentation regarding student financial aid are limited on the Student Services website.
  • The Student Services website section on dining service does not include information for students with dietary restrictions or preferences.
  • Student Policy Documents are not in line with the University Mission and Vision Statements.
  • College documents that focus on student polices appear not to be consistent with University
    documents.
  • Procedures for reporting suspected Title IX and ADA violations and for filing grade disputes are found in The Source and MAPP, but procedures for filing complaints based on other protected classes are unclear.
Recommendations:
  • The Source be amended to acknowledge that identities change and grow.
  • The Right to Privacy section in The Source should link to information on the appeals process.
  • The Hazing Policy in The Source should be amended to add actions or activities
    “demeaning to one’s personal or cultural identity”.
  • The parties responsible for enforcing and determining violations of the Hazing Policy should conduct an examination of its application to ensure that the policy is applied uniformly and equitably.
  • The Center for Student Success should work with the Office of Marketing and
    Communication to identify and present more images that represent our diverse student and staff populations.
  • The introduction to the Center for Student Success website should be amended to encourage participation in all student activities and organizations and not a select few.
  • The Center for Student Success website should be changed to include video tutorials to explain the financial aid process.
  • Clear language regarding holds on student accounts and the removal process should be posted on the Student Success website along with video/tutorial links. 
  • A schedule to regularly review all documents (including those online) and policies should be instituted. All reviews should confirm that links are operational.
  • All documents, including, online documents, should include publication and effective dates, review date, and should list offices responsible for the document.
  • Procedures for filing complaints of discrimination or bias based on protected classes not covered by Title IX and the ADA should be published in all documents where Title IX and ADA procedures are listed.

Staff Policy

Staff policies reviewed included the University Staff Manual, Staff Council materials, and items found on the University webpage including: the whistle-blower hotline, wellness page, employee assistance program, and employment opportunities, including the voluntary self-identification section.

Findings:
  • The Staff Manual contains a nondiscrimination notification but it is not at the top of
    page.
  • A civility statement first appears in the Staff Manual in section 2.0 and not earlier.
  • The employment opportunities page contains a nondiscrimination notification but it is not
    prominently displayed.
  • The voluntary discloser form does not provide a rationale for the request and does not include a statement in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Recommendations:
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion statements should be included in all staff policy
    documents and web pages.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion statements should be displayed prominently on
    all pages.
  • All policies and procedures need to be reviewed on a scheduled regular basis.
  • All documents, including, online documents, should include publication and effective dates, review dates, and should list offices responsible for the document.
  • Procedures for filing complaints of discrimination or bias based on protected classes not covered by Title IX and the ADA should be published in all documents where Title IX and ADA procedures are listed.

The population working group examined strategies to recruit, retain, and support a diverse student, faculty, and staff.

Student Population

Findings:

The recruitment of students from diverse backgrounds is central to the University’s admissions office strategies. The retention and support of students while they are enrolled at the University of Hartford is a focus of the offices of the Dean of Students, the Dean of Undergraduate Programs, and the Dean of Graduate Studies.

With students from 48 states and 48 countries, the University focuses on attracting and retaining talented and academically motivated students with diverse backgrounds. These characteristics are shared in the University Values Statement. It affirms that we seek to enroll a diverse student body and provide a culture of respect that meets the needs of all students of varying abilities and backgrounds. Our Values Statement defines specific qualities of integrity, curiosity, responsibility, excellence, and accomplishment, all of which apply to the recruitment and retention of ASALAM [All Students, All Levels, All Modalities). This is reinforced on the undergraduate admissions page, which states that “our diverse backgrounds and different perspectives inspire, challenge, and motivate us.”

While there is no set DEI strategy or strategic plan for Admissions at this time, several initiatives support the University’s effort to attract a diverse population of students. These include:

A revitalized marketing effort is the medium by which we showcase and connect with; prospective students of ASALAM. With changes in the administration, a new President; and VP of Marketing and Communications in 2018, a direct alignment was created between Marketing and Communication and Admissions and Financial Aid to reach and speak to our prospective students via a new website launched in Winter 2019 and updated print materials and digital communication plan, all operationalized through a new CRM (Slate). 

The move to a test-optional admissions policy was an intentional decision to help open access to the University of Hartford for all students, and particularly to those from diverse and underserved populations. The Admissions team continues to monitor the impact of test scores on both recruitment and retention efforts and will continue to refine and evolve these policies to ensure we deliver access to quality education and promote equal opportunity by removing racial, class, gender, and cultural barriers.

The Admission team participates in external events aimed at promoting college awareness and access where the University of Hartford is represented and actively engaging with and recruiting students from diverse backgrounds, including the following:

    • Hartford Career Beginnings “Hartford Days” (Participating since 2015): An event aimed at increasing the percentage of Hartford Public High School seniors who attend college in the Fall following their high school graduation. Hartford Days is aimed to support the “next steps” required after the deposit has been paid and before the first day of classes. Founded in 1986 as a program of the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education, Career Beginnings is a free, in-school program, connecting Hartford-area high schools, businesses, volunteers, mentors and parents in a coordinated effort to increase the percentage of teenagers who graduate from high school, pursue higher education, and fulfill career goals. The Hartford Public School District’s student population is majority black and Hispanic—31.3 percent of its students are black; 49.9 percent, Hispanic. Career Beginnings supports students (11th and 12th grades) at the following schools:
        • A.I.Prince Technical High School
        • Bloomfield High School
        • Bulkeley High School
        • East Hartford High School
        • Hartford Public High School
        • New Visions Program
        • Weaver High School
    • Hartford Job Corps Fair (Attending since 2014): Job Corps is a no-cost education and career technical training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) that helps young people ages 16 to 24 improve the quality of their lives through career technical and academic training. The Job Corps program is authorized by Title I-C of the *Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (“WIOA”). WIOA is landmark legislation that is designed to strengthen and improve our nation's public workforce system and help get Americans, including youth and those with significant barriers to employment, into high-quality jobs and careers, and help employers hire and retain skilled workers. WIOA also authorizes programs for specific vulnerable populations, including the Job Corps, YouthBuild, Indian and Native Americans, and Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker programs, as well as, evaluation and multistate projects administered by DOL. In addition, WIOA authorizes other programs administered by U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    • WCSU Youth Summer Fair (Attending since 2015): Students participating in this college fair are those in the Western Connecticut State University ConnCAP/Upward Bound Programs, which are state and federally funded and designed to help students from lower-income families get the additional help they need to succeed in school. Many of the students are first-generation college students.
    • Multiple University of Hartford College 101 virtual events, college readiness programs, and FAFSA completion events: Designed to engage and attract students and their families to the University of Hartford by educating them on the college admission process and improve their financial aid literacy.
    • Hartford Promise Scholars: Hosted at the University of Hartford, an annual event for scholarship-qualified graduates of Hartford Public Schools including community building, workshops to prepare for the transition from high school to college. University of Hartford recruits from this pool of diverse students and averages ten admissions per year of Hartford Scholars.

Retention efforts directed toward supporting and improving persistence and completion of a University of Hartford degree for students from diverse backgrounds likewise include multiple initiatives, including the following:

  • STRIDE - The Success Team for Readiness, Improvement, Diversity and Excellence: A University of Hartford program created to support eligible Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino men during their first term. The STRIDE program focuses on offering opportunities for students to achieve academic success, receive mentoring and participate in leadership training to adjust to college and work toward related goals. This program is slated for further expansion in AY2021-22. The program includes:
    • A one-credit course, US 190 Special Topics: STRIDE Dialogue, which meets for an hour each week during the fall semester.
    • Guaranteed 4.0©: a proven system combining learning methods and other techniques to help students maximize their grade point average (GPA);
    • Peer Mentoring: a support network connecting STRIDE students and upperclassmen;
    • Panel Discussions: connecting STRIDE students with a diverse pool of alumni and professionals;
    • Professional Development: connecting STRIDE students with corporate partners through resume reviews, mock interviews, job shadowing and more;
    • Workshops: discussions on scholarships and student financial assistance.
  • First-Gen Student Support Initiatives:
    • Orientation and registration event for first-generation students only.
    • First-Gen Recognition Day event to connect faculty and staff who were first-generation students with undergraduates who are first-gen.
  • Women’s Advancement Initiative LEAD program: Designed to respond to the unique opportunities and challenges of female students at each stage of their undergraduate experience, LEAD provides students with the tools, training, and community to successfully navigate the journey to and through college to life and careers. Opportunities for students admitted to the program include activities focused on empowering women.
  • Center for Student Success First-Year Advising Programs: Professional advising focused on providing first-year students with information, skills and support to assure a smooth transition to academic and campus life in the first year, including:
    • Required annual trainings for professional advisors in implicit bias, managing difficult conversations, addressing micro-aggressions
    • Facilitating connections between first-year students and student clubs and activities to create communities for BIPOC students, international students, LGBTQ+ students, and others.
Recommendations:
  • Develop a targeted strategic plan to recruit, retain, and successfully graduate students from under-represented populations.
  • Consider target-population advising and support groups for first-year students who are LGBTQ+, BIPOC, first-generation, international, etc.
  • Update Banner to include non-binary gender identification.
  • Continue and expand annual trainings in DEI issues Center for Student Success professional advisors and all academic advisors.

Faculty Population

Findings:

For the last three years, the Provost’s Office has increased efforts to hire a more diverse full-time faculty with small positive gains. Below are initiatives aimed at recruitment of a more diverse faculty, followed by retention strategies. Current strategies to recruit a diverse faculty include the following:

Full-time Faculty Search Committee Trainings: Every person assigned to a full-time   faculty search committee is required to attend a training called “Reducing the Effects of    Implicit Bias in the Search Process.” If a search committee member has already had that training (in a previous year), they are still required to participate in a facilitated         conversation about diversifying the faculty through the search process, which includes a refresher in the effects of implicit assumptions and discussion of recruitment, support and retention of diverse faculty, including addressing micro-aggressions, supporting and mentoring students into the academic market pipeline through graduate school, marketing and search strategies for diversity, etc. Over the last two years, more than 100 of our 360 full-time faculty members have participated in the implicit bias training.

Marketing and Diversity Recruitment Plan: Every search committee is required to complete and submit an extensive market research report on the diversity of the discipline for the position for which they are hiring, the current college and department demographics, and a specific and detailed plan for how they will be recruiting diverse; candidates to the pool. We ask them to reach out directly to the faculty at graduate; schools that are graduating diverse candidates in their discipline, to spend advertising dollars in journals that target diverse candidates, and to make direct outreach attempts to listservs, organizations, conferences and other places that serve minority candidates. Personal contact to graduate program and directors must be specified before any job posting is approved.

Targeted Advertising: Every job is advertised on DiverseJobs.net (an academic job board) and at least one other (discipline-specific) venue, as well as HigherEdJobs.com. Beginning with searches in AY2020-21, all positions are also advertised on BlacksinHigherEd.com and LatinosinHigherEd.com.

Diversity Reports: At two (and sometimes more) points in every full-time faculty search process, each search committee chair (as well as the Dean and the Provost) is provided with an update on the general demographics of the search pool their advertising and outreach has generated. If the pool is not very diverse, the chair and committee are asked to redouble their efforts at recruitment of diverse candidates. If a finalist list is submitted without representation from diverse candidates, permission to interview finalists is denied until further recruitment efforts are made. On occasion, searches that do not result in a diverse applicant pool or finalist list have been “failed” or cancelled, with no full-time long-term faculty hire made that for that year.

Jackie McLean Fellowship Program (begun in 2008): targets applicants for full-time faculty positions from under-represented groups. These candidates—who, in general, have yet to complete their dissertation or final project for the terminal degree—are hired first to the full-time faculty as Visiting (NTT) faculty, and, if their work in their year or two at the University is satisfactory and a position becomes available, then offered a   tenure-track (TT) contract. (This hiring process has not yet been moved into the    PeopleAdmin hiring platform process and demographic data is therefore not usually    available.) The University has gained at least six tenure-track faculty from under-represented minority groups through the Jackie McLean Fellow Program.

Cluster Hire in the Health Professions: In AY2020-21, the Provost’s Office announced the University of Hartford’s intention to recruit a cohort of 10-15 new full-time faculty from under-represented populations over the next three years to fill openings related to the health professions. This effort has been widely publicized.

Ever-Fi Trainings: Beginning in AY2020-21, faculty were asked to complete a series of online trainings focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. All new faculty will be required to complete these trainings as part of their onboarding process henceforth.

Recommendations: 
  • Connect the PeopleAdmin system to Institutional Effectiveness to facilitate the generation of reports about recruitment and hiring (for both faculty and staff), which could support the development of a future “diversity dashboard”.
  • Add “Middle-Eastern or North African (MENA) descent” to the list of choices for race/ethnicity in the data collection form on PeopleAdmin to more accurately gather data on diversity of applicant pools.
  • Update/expand the demographic questions on Self-Service Center (make sure all diversity categories are included).
  • Human Resource Development (with the Steering Committee) request that current faculty and staff to update their demographic information on Self-Service Center annually.
  • Encourage more faculty-focused affinity group development.
  • Develop a university-wide faculty mentoring program.
  • Centralize processes for hiring non-tenure-track and part-time faculty to increase oversight and emphasis on diversity and equity in hiring practices.
  • Develop a formal exit interview process and data collection system to assess reasons for departures and address retention of diverse faculty.
  • Update Banner to include non-binary gender identification. 

Staff Population 

Findings:

Human Resources Development (HRD) is charged with the recruitment and retention of diverse staff. Several new initiatives and proposals are outlined below. There is some overlap with faculty population initiatives and recommendations.

Everfi Trainings:  Beginning in AY2020-21, all staff were required to complete a series of online trainings focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. All new hires will be required to complete these trainings as part of their onboarding process henceforth.

HR Focus Group: Reestablished in AY2020-21, this group is examining ways to increase DEI focus in all staff interview and hiring practices

Current Recruitment Practices: Training sessions are provided for hiring managers on the importance of diversity in the workplace. Jobs are post on the HRD website, CTDOL, Higheredjobs.com, Diversejobs.net, BlacksinHigherEd.com and HispanicsinHigherEd.com. Managers encouraged to interview a diverse grouping of candidates. 

Current Retention Practices: Affinity Groups are available to all employees and at least 2 Diversity and Inclusion Conferences/Sessions are offered per year for all staff to attend.

Annual Affirmative Action Plan: Maintained by HRD; this report allows comparison from year to year or dept by dept of the percentages of diverse populations on campus. All reported demographic data pertaining to race/ethnicity is voluntary and self- reported.

Recommendations:
  • Empower Human Resources to slow down or stop the interview/hiring process if it is found to not include diverse candidates.
  • Implement committee-based interviewing in (almost all) positions.
  • Begin a culture shift of mandatory hiring manager training before posting or interviewing for staff positions (more reflective of the faculty process).
  • Assign metrics to the hiring process, to be tied to our annual Affirmative Action Plan goals.
  • Look at opportunities to better retain staff, once they are hired.
  • Begin/kickoff hiring manager training in Spring.
  • Revamp the Hiring Process Manual.
  • Connect the PeopleAdmin system to Institutional Effectiveness to facilitate the generation of reports about recruitment and hiring (for both faculty and staff), which could support the development of a future “diversity dashboard”.
  • Add “Middle-Eastern or North African (MENA) descent” to the list of choices for race/ethnicity in the data collection form on PeopleAdmin to more accurately gather data on diversity of applicant pools.
  • Update/expand the demographic questions on Self-Service Center (make sure all diversity categories are included) and develop strategies to encourage participation.
  • Update Banner to include non-binary gender identification.
Findings

An inventory of current course (code and number), and instructors, has been compiled that are currently doing a very good job in meeting many of the components of the Intercultural Knowledge and Competence (IKC) rubric, or include one or more of these goals:

  • Students explore their own cultural and intellectual limitations as part of class preparation.
  • Students address their own potential biases about course-related issues duringclass.
  • Students develop skills necessary to work effectively with people from various cultural backgrounds.

The compilation of courses demonstrates current areas of strength, and also serves as a building block for future DEI initiatives. Two such initiatives are:

  1. General Education Task Force has a sub-committee dedicated to DEI. The aim of this sub-committee is to discuss, share ideas, brainstorm including using the Intercultural Knowledge and Competence (IKC) AAC&U rubric to help articulate some goals, use of inclusive pedagogies (especially in 100-level courses), looking at current courses identified as strong in IKC and reflecting on the thoughts of the associate deans on the state of DEI in their units. This committee is also working with the Career Studio to ensure competencies similar to IKC when students take part in internships, for example.
  2. Taskforce for diversity in the curriculum uses the Intercultural Knowledge and Competence (IKC) rubric from AACU as a guide for curricular outcomes the role and shape of DEI in students’ first-year experiences.

Other DEI work that occurred this semester includes a collaboration with the Faculty Senate’s sub-committee on Diversity to roll out the EverFi online Diversity training and Learn@Lunch Workshop Unconscious Bias.

Recommendations:
  • Consider curriculum mapping: to ensure students build upon DEI content and experiences.
  • Collect and interpret student experiences. Possible themes: (a) understand the ways they do or do not feel prepared to enter a complex workforce and society, (b) complexity of students’ majors, minors, and degree programs, (c) inputs and outputs – to determine what DEI experiences are students receiving and what are they getting out of it.
  • Examine advising processes related to DEI and university relationships that extend students’ skills.

President’s Steering Committee—Work of the Full Committee

Policy on Policies

The Steering Committee’s charge highlights the important role University policy, practices, and procedures play in achieving equity and inclusive excellence and in promoting social justice. 
 
As part of the examination of University policies, the Steering Committee noted that the Policy on Policies, a document that provides guidance on the creation and amendment of policies, makes no mention of the importance of examining the implication for diverse populations when policies are adopted or amended.  While the Policy on Policies contains a process of review by the Office of General Counsel after a policy is proposed or amended, there is no statement requiring such an examination by those creating new or amending existing policies.  In addition, the University’s policy landing page does not include a statement regarding the University’s commitment to equity and inclusive excellence in our policies, practices, and procedures. A subgroup of the Steering Committee is currently working to address this foundational policy.

Recommendations:
  • The Steering Committee recommends that instructions regarding the creation and modification of policies include a directive to consider and examine how the policy might impact our diverse student, staff, and faculty.
  • The Steering Committee recommends that the Policy landing page on the University website include language that reflects our commitment to equity, inclusive excellence, and social justice.
  • The Steering Committee co-chairs will work with the Office of General Counsel to effect the recommendations.

University Definition of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

As part of its charge, the Steering Committee is tasked with developing a definition of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University of Hartford.  As part of that task, President Woodward asked the Steering Committee to review and suggest changes to the University’s Mission Statement to ensure it is consistent with and strongly reflects our commitment to equity and inclusive excellence and promoting social justice.  A subgroup of the Steering Committee is working on this issue and will share its recommendations with the President.

Data Practices

The President’s Steering Committee found a lack of systematic collection and retention of data, especially disaggregated data. Evaluating progress toward equity and inclusive excellence is impossible if we do not systematically collect, retain, and utilize data to inform policy, practices, and procedures. 

Recommendations:

  • The Steering Committee will work with the Office Institutional Effectiveness to ensure that the University collects and maintains complete and comprehensive data sets to measure and evaluate our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and to inform the development and implementation of policy, practices, and procedures.
  • Membership on all university committees should be made readily available to the university community in order to ensure equity and inclusive excellence.
  • The Steering Committee endorses the strategy articulated in UHart Start to make use of disaggregated data in the matrices contained in the plan.

Assessment

The Steering Committee was charged to “develop plans for ongoing assessment of our efforts pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University.”  The Steering Committee is working to formalize a structure to identify areas where the University has made progress and where more work needs to be done.  It will work with offices and departments responsible for implementing the recommendations contained in this report and UHart Start.

Appendices

President’s Steering Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – Charge

The President’s Steering Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

University of Hartford is committed to inclusive excellence where diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded and manifested in all University activities and strategic directions.
 
Charge:  The Diversity Steering Committee is charged with the responsibility for leading, advocating, and assisting in the coordination of university-wide efforts to realize diversity initiatives and foster inclusive excellence.
 
Recommendations for the President’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Committee:

  1. The Steering Committee is central to and will lead all efforts pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University. The Steering Committee shall:
     
    provide leadership in advocating and advancing diversity initiatives and inclusive excellence throughout the University community
     
    serve as a resource to senior leadership as the University seeks to embed and layer diversity, equity, and inclusion into its culture and in all University-wide activities and initiatives
     
    support and enhance our University’s identity as a welcoming and inclusive community that celebrates and draws strength from its diversity
     
    advocate for the development and implementation of programs and initiatives for students, faculty, and staff in order to support campus-wide efforts relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion 
     
    review University policies, practices, and procedures to assess their impact on our efforts to support and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion
     
    propose University policies and procedures that promote positive systemic changes in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion
     
    monitor and support efforts to recruit and retain diverse populations of students, faculty, and staff
     
    monitor and support efforts to expand the diversity of content within all academic programs
     
    develop plans for ongoing assessment of our effort pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University

  2. The Chairs shall meet monthly with the President and, as needed, with the Cabinet to update, review, and provide an assessment of the Committee’s work.

  3. The Chairs shall present an annual report to the President and the Board of Regents
     summarizing the work of the Committee, evaluating institutional progress, and outlining
     future initiatives.

Committee 

The President’s Committee is comprised of students, staff, and faculty.  Staff and faculty terms will be staggered and student representatives are appointed to serve one-year terms. Members are appointed by the President.

President’s Steering Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion—Membership

(Membership through May 2021.)

Christine Grant-Co-Chair

Prof. Jane Horvath-Co-Chair

Randi Ashton-Pritting-Staff

Tanya Bethea-Staff

Nate Carr-Student

Jen Conley-Staff

Courtney Davidson-Staff

Jill Engel-Hellman-Staff

Natalie Durant-Staff

Susan Fitzgerald-Staff

Sarah Hartt-Faculty

Krista Hill-Faculty

Michael Kaselouskas-Staff

Nicole Kukerstewart-Staff

Michael Ormsby-Staff

Jayden Rameikas-Student

Tyson Rose-Faculty

Olga Sharp-Faculty

James Shattuck- Administration

T. Stores-Administration

Laura Whitney-Administration

Sahara Williams-Student

Ying Yu- Faculty-Faculty

President’s Steering Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Structure of Work

University of Hartford is committed to inclusive excellence where diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded and manifested in all University activities and strategic directions.

Charge:  The Diversity Steering Committee is charged with the responsibility for leading, advocating, and assisting in the coordination of university-wide efforts to realize diversity initiatives and foster inclusive excellence.

Recommendations for the President’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Committee

  1. The Steering Committee is central to and will lead all efforts pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University.  The Steering Committee shall:

    provide leadership in advocating and advancing diversity initiatives and inclusive excellence throughout the University community

    serve as a resource to senior leadership as the University seeks to embed and layer diversity, equity, and inclusion into its culture and in all University-wide activities and initiatives

    support and enhance our University’s identity as a welcoming and inclusive community that celebrates and draws strength from its diversity

    advocate for the development and implementation of programs and initiatives for students, faculty, and staff in order to support campus-wide efforts relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion

    develop plans for ongoing assessment of our effort pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University

Policy Working Group:  9 members –3 subgroups: Students, Faculty, Staff

review University policies, practices, and procedures to assess their impact on our efforts to support and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion propose University policies and procedures that promote positive systemic changes in support of diversity, equity, and inclusion  

Population Group- 3 members

monitor and support efforts to recruit and retain diverse populations of students, faculty, and staff

Academic Programs Group- 3 members

monitor and support efforts to expand the diversity of content within all academic programs