Diversity & Affordability
by Mog,Justin M — last modified May 22, 2013 10:55 AM
Working to ensure that UofL remains a diverse and affordable university.
Urban League honors UofL’s efforts to champion diversity (UofL Today 5/22/13)
UofL praised for supporting minority businesses (UofL Today 12/15/12)
The Office of Diversity at the University of Louisville strives to foster and sustain an environment of inclusiveness that empowers us all to achieve our highest potential without fear of prejudice or bias.
The University of Louisville‘s diversity equity committee is the Commission on Diversity and Racial Equality (CODRE). CODRE serves as the primary policy advisory group on issues of diversity and racial equality at the University of Louisville and reports to the President. CODRE stays abreast of relevant issues including, but not limited to: recruitment, retention, and promotion of faculty and professional/ administrative staff from diverse populations; group-based inequalities and inequities; the academic success of a diverse racial and ethnic student body including retention, curriculum, and campus climate concerns; addressing sexist and racist conduct that impedes the educational mission of the university; and strategies and praxis that support “education that is multicultural.”
Mordean Taylor-Archer, PhD is the University of Louisville Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs. She is responsible for providing leadership and working collaboratively with administrators, faculty, staff and students to advance diversity on campus. Offices under her administrative purview are the Cultural Center, Women’s Center, International Center, Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice and the Office of LGBT Services. Dr. Taylor-Archer serves on various committees including the Commission on Diversity and Racial Equality, the Commission on the Status of Women, the University Community Partnership Board, Great Places to Work Executive Committee and African American Alumni Council, and chairs CODRE’s Campus Environment Team and the International Affairs Advisory Committee. She is the institutional representative for the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) Committee on Equal Opportunities(CEO) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence (CADE). The Office for Diversity employs an Assistant to the Vice Provost and a Program Coordinator in addition to the employees in those offices reporting to the Vice Provost.
On-line campus climate surveys are administered to the university community. The most recent survey for students focused on diversity and inclusion relative to student life and their experiences in the classroom. The employee survey included questions provided by the Great Places to Work Committee, the Part-Time Faculty initiative, and the Commission on the Status of Women in addition to questions related to diversity and inclusion. An executive summary of findings from the two most recent surveys is available here.
The Vice Provost for Diversity, in collaboration with the chairs of the commissions, recommends and advises the administration regarding changes to to better serve the needs of students, faculty and staff. As a result, changes have been made to improve the campus culture, such as:
In 1994, the Commission on the Status of Women (COSW) organized a report which presented the status of women in all employment categories and recommended changes to improve the climate for women and all UofL employees. In 2008-2009, COSW organized an update to the original 1994 report. The members of COSW analyzed and reviewed each of the objectives and recommendations to ascertain whether progress has been made towards outcomes for the identified goals. As part of the methodology for this review, the COSW conducted 10 focus groups and individual interviews with campus leaders. UofL policies, procedures, publications and programs were reviewed. Based on the findings, the Commission on the Status of Women made recommendations regarding representation, recruitment, retention, campus environment and integration of work and family life for women. The Provost has appointed the Vice Provost for Diversity to serve as the point person in addressing these recommendations.
In January 2010, the PEACC program (Prevention, Education and Advocacy on Campus and in the Community), conducted a confidential online survey to a random sample of participants to assess campus violence experiences and perceptions at UofL. Survey results will provide important information to enable UofL to create programming and improve safety services to students, staff and faculty.
The Black Faculty/Staff Association (BFSA) recently conducted focus groups to assess the attitudes of employees related to compensation, access to information, and climate for staff. In collaboration with the Staff Senate, recommendations were shared with university administrators and changes were made to improve the campus environment for staff at the university.
In addition, the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs hosts periodic meetings (formally and informally) with students, faculty and staff from under-represented groups to get their opinions and discuss issues or concerns related to diversity, inclusion and campus climate.
The University of Louisville has a number of programs that support under-represented groups within the student body, the faculty and the staff. Examples include:
A peer mentoring program to assist Black students with the transition from high school to college. C.O.N.E.C.T. mentors host monthly workshops and programs organized and facilitated by the peer mentors. All first year students are assigned a peer mentor during summer orientation sessions at Making the Connection. The program has been so successful with Black students that its programs have been expanded to work beyond the first year through “C.O.N.E.C.T. Remix.” They also host a regular discussion group targeting Black females entitled A Sistah’s Voice and the African American Recognition Reception to celebrate the academic success of students of color.
A society of African-American scholarship recipients named in honor of Woodford R. Porter, Sr., a leader in Louisville's civic, business and education communities. He was the first African-American to serve as President of the Louisville School District Board of Education and as Chairman of the University of Louisville's Board of Trustees. The group was formed in 1986 to provide academic and social support to UofL's Porter scholars with the goal of increasing the retention and graduation rates of Porter Scholars. The organization also promotes interaction, enhances leadership opportunities and personal development as well as encourages professional/graduate education.
In 2009-2010, 27.9 percent of the adults (33.0 percent of white adults and only 14.1 percent of black adults) in Metro Louisville had completed at least four years of college, roughly equal to the national average but far below our leading peer cities. The 55K Initiative was organized in 2010 to address this problem by adding 55,000 new degree holders to our community by 2020 - with a corresponding 15K Initiative to eliminate the racial attainment gap by insuring that 15,000 of those new graduates are African Americans.
Offered for Woodford R. Porter Scholars who have earned fewer than 60 credit hours and who have been identified as having academic difficulty. This program offers structured advising and academic support and is a collaborative effort involving Porter Scholars Advising and Resources for Academic Exchange (REACH).
The School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies (SIGS) is committed to providing financial support for UofL departments and programs to assist in the matriculation and graduation of qualified, underrepresented ethnic minority students.
The mission of the affirmative action/employee relations unit includes:
a. Mediating disputes between university employees in conflict in order to facilitate communication of issues/expectations and/or resolve dispute.
b. Assisting persons with disabilities with fully participating in university employment and employment opportunities including conducting ADA investigations as requested.
c. Listening and advising staff concerning difficulties they are experiencing with respect to work and/or home issues/challenges.
d. Conduct construction site visits to ensure compliance with contract provisions relating to nondiscrimination and equal employment opportunity.
e. Preparing and presenting employee informational and other seminars to proactively address issues involving respect in the workplace, harassment, employment rights and responsibilities, or other workplace issues which might negatively impact positive employee relations.
f. Assisting staff and departments with family and medical leave issues and requests.
g. Administering the university commercial driver's license program to ensure we are in compliance with federal law.
h. Attend CODRE and Commission on the Status of Women meetings in order to receive and/or convey information.
i. Coordinate with the Vice Provost for Diversity and International Affairs on diversity and other initiatives.
The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) is a nonprofit organization that aims to improve education in its 16 member states (including Kentucky). The University of Louisville (UofL) is specifically involved with the SREB-Doctoral Scholars Program, which is committed to increasing faculty diversity. The Doctoral Scholars Program supports a nationwide initiative to produce more minority PhDs and encourages their pursuit of joining the professoriate. The program offers financial support and guidance for doctoral students throughout their studies.
UofL participates in SREB’s annual Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, which is the largest gathering of minority doctoral scholars in the country. While at the Institute, doctoral students attend workshops designed to assist in their scholarship and prepare them for success as faculty members. UofL’s participants in the Institute have traditionally included students (SREB doctoral scholars), faculty mentors, and staff, who attend the Institute to recruit minority faculty.
Currently, there are five former SREB doctoral scholars who hold faculty positions at UofL. Four SREB doctoral scholars earned their doctorates in May 2010, and there are another 18 students participating as doctoral scholars, dissertation scholars or institutionally funded scholars. We expect four additional SREB students (two doctoral scholars and two institutionally funded scholars) for the 2010-11 academic year. The “institutionally” funded SREBS are a creation of the University of Louisville and the CPE, and they provide programmatic support and travel money for attendance at the Institute for a limited number of qualified students who have funding provided by grants or assistantships elsewhere in the university.
Supports small groups of junior faculty, many of which are faculty of color, who want to learn how to be productive scholars and effective teachers. These peer mentoring groups meet regularly to discuss with other junior faculty various topics, including how to be a productive scholar, time-management skills, syllabus design, teaching practice, or the formal and informal standards for success.
Inclusive Teaching Circles are small cohorts of faculty who meet monthly to discuss how teaching can be made more inclusive of students of all social identities. Typically, such meetings focus on a reading concerning research on oppression, pedagogy, or best practices. The outcomes include more effective and inclusive teaching practices and the development of a community of practitioners who come together to share their experiences and knowledge.
$3.3 million allows UofL to continue Upward Bound program (UofL Today, Nov. 26, 2012)The University of Louisville Upward Bound Program is a federally funded project that has existed on the University of Louisville Belknap Campus for more than 40 years. The program affords the opportunity for its student participants to excel in the standard pre-college curriculum and ultimately during post-secondary educational endeavors. Upward Bound serves high school students from first generation and/or low income families; first generation families are described as those in which neither parent holds a collegiate bachelor degree; low-income families are those that meet the pre-established guidelines as required by the federal government. The goal of the Upward Bound Program is to increase the rate at which its student participants enroll in and graduate from institutions of post-secondary education.
In 2007, the University of Louisville initiated a special program called the Cardinal Covenant in response to rising college costs and the challenge for students from low-income families to fund their education. UofL's Cardinal Covenant is the first program of its kind in the state of Kentucky. This program helps make college attainable for the 22.6% of Kentucky families living at or below 150% of the federal poverty level as published by the U.S. Census Bureau. Cardinal Covenant students are expected to perform community service as a part of their UofL experience. In 2011, the university began offering a special orientation called Cardinal Covenant College so these students can get a head start on the new school year.
The University of Louisville provides a variety of other programs and services that, while not specifically targeted to low-income students, provide significant benefits to students and parents from low-income backgrounds. Examples include:
The UofL Housing Office has been providing special accommodations (private room, private bath) for transgender and transitioning students for several years by special request of the student. During the 2009-2010 academic year, the housing application form was updated so that students now have the option of requesting special housing based on gender identity.
The Affirmative Action/Employee Relations Office offers training regarding sexual harassment. The course includes:
The university’s is a workshop designed to give faculty and staff the tools and resources they need to understand LGBT students and create a welcoming, affirming campus environment for all. Participants attending this fun and informative half-day session are not required to be an expert in sexuality or gender identity/expression to attend, but rather someone who is interested in helping all members of the campus community succeed. Workshop participants receive a comprehensive resource manual and a poster or sticker to display somewhere in the office. Displaying a Safe Zone poster or sticker sends the message to others that you are comfortable talking about LGBT issues, and that you are supportive and willing to listen.
The university’s Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning offers conferences, workshops, symposiums and training through the Faculty Instructional and Development Program. Examples of these programs include:
The Cultural Center provides cultural competency and diversity education for faculty and staff of the university. During 2009-2010, the Cultural Center collaborated with and provided training and education for university advisors, unit diversity committees, Provost’s staff, and Student Affairs staff. Every Wednesday of the month the Center collaborates with other units and organizations to host educational workshops for students and employees. The second Wednesday of each month is specifically designed as a faculty colloquium series in which faculty and academic administrators are invited to discuss strategies to increase the success of students from under-represented groups.
The Cultural Center in collaboration with the First Year Initiatives Department provides "Difficulty of Difficult Discussions" training for students and staff. This training is designed to engage participants in dialogue about difficult cultural topics, and provide them with tools to successfully navigate these topics with others.
Additionally, diversity awareness and training programs are provided within some units and/or upon request. For example, Information Technology employees and all campus police officers are required to participate in diversity training.