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Diversity & Affordability

by Mog,Justin M last modified Jul 07, 2016 08:25 PM

Working to ensure that UofL remains a diverse and affordable university.

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.

Diversity & Equity Coordination

Commission on Diversity & Racial Equality

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.”

Diversity & Equity Office

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.

Measuring Campus Culture

Biannual Campus Climate Surveys

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:

  • Domestic partner benefits – the University of Louisville was the first state-supported university in Kentucky to adopt domestic partner benefits to qualifying adults.
  • Gender- Neutral restrooms – several restrooms on campus were converted to gender-neutral restrooms in response to the need to be sensitive to members of the campus community who are gender non-conforming or transgender.  In addition, gender-neutral restrooms will be a part of all new campus constructions.
  • Cultural Center – a Cultural Center was developed to facilitate and enhance cultural programming and education to the campus community.
  • Hispanic/Latino initiative – an initiative designed to empower Hispanic/Latino(a)s to earn a college degree at the University of Louisville and create an environment in which they can enrich their lives and the community.

Commission on the Status of Women

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. 

Campus Safety Survey

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.

Black Faculty/Staff Association

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. 

Support Programs for Under-Represented Groups

On March 7, 2016, the board of directors of the University of Louisville Foundation unanimously approved the following statement: “This Board of Directors supports the basic tenet of accessible collegiate education for all citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and encourages the leadership of the University and its Boards to be key partners in preserving access to higher education, especially for minority and economically-disadvantaged citizens.”

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:

C.O.N.E.C.T. (Caring of New students Experiencing College Transition)

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.

Society of Woodford R. Porter Scholars

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.

15k/55k Initiative

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.

MAPS (Monitored Academic Preparation for Success)

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).

School of Interdisciplinary & Graduate Studies

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.

  • Minority Fellowships - Approximately 12-15 ethnic minority fellowships are awarded annually.  Both master’s and doctoral students are eligible for consideration.  Doctoral students are funded for two years, with a commitment of support for an additional two years from their department.  Master’s students are funded for one year, with the same commitment from their department for an additional year.  Students must be enrolled full-time for the duration of their funding and the award includes a stipend, tuition, and health insurance. 
  •  Visitation Day is an annual program sponsored and conducted by the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies (SIGS).  The program is a day and a half event, in which SIGS hosts prospective graduate students.  Historically, Visitation Day has targeted minority students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, along with minority students from other regional institutions of higher education.  The program is a diversity initiative; however, students of all ethnic backgrounds are eligible to apply.  The aim of Visitation Day is to connect academically qualified upper-class undergraduate students who have a strong desire to pursue graduate education with faculty, staff, and current graduate students at the University of Louisville as a way of providing an up close and personal campus visit.  Participants of the program attend workshops on admissions and scholarships/financial aid.  Overnight hotel accommodations and meals are covered for students who are selected to attend.   
  • Graduate Teaching Academy - The Graduate Teaching Academy was created in 2008 and is designed to assist Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) from different disciplines who are assigned some classroom responsibilities as part of their assistantship to develop knowledge, skills, and excellence in classroom teaching.  The focus of the academy is on the following topics:  critical thinking, development of evaluation rubrics for the classroom, creating a learner-centered syllabus, stimulating active learning, classroom management, test development, and student learning styles and generational differences.  Many ethnic minority graduate students participate in the Academy.
  • Professional development workshops - A new initiative within the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies (SIGS) is the Professional Development program for graduate students, known as PLAN (P – Professional Development, L – Life Skills, A – Academic Development, N – Networking).  PLAN aims to provide a series of professional development workshops, which are interdisciplinary in nature, for current graduate students.  Some workshops are designed specifically for ethnic minority fellows and SREB scholars.  Each fall, SIGS sponsors a “welcome back social” for all ethnic minority graduate students as a way of connecting them to one another and to provide networking with ethnic minority faculty, who are also invited.  Other workshop topics include but are not limited to financial planning, mentoring, critical thinking, and job placement. 

Student Organizations

  • American International Relations Club (AIRC) - serves as a platform for unity in diversity for American and International students from around the world.  The primary objective is to bring together students from diverse backgrounds, different countries, several languages, and across cultures into one common thread.
  • Association of Black Students (ABS) - designed to motivate Black students to become involved on campus, coordinate activities to strengthen cultural and political awareness, and provide assistance to the development and utilization of resources.
  • commonGround - commonGround is the LGBTQQIA organization on campus.  Members include individuals of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions to promote equality and diversity on and off campus.
  • Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB) - purpose is to assist African American males to excel academically, socially, culturally and professionally on campus and in the community.

More details on these and other student organizations.

Affirmative Action Office

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.

Communication Classes for Non-native English Speakers

UofL's Intensive English as a Second Language (IESL) program offers a Communication in English class that is designed to help non-native speakers of English (high-intermediate to advanced proficiency) become more effective communicators in academic, professional and social situations. Class instruction focuses on conversational fluency and strategies for professional interactions. Tuition remission is available for most UofL employees and evening classes are offered. For information, visit the IESL website or call 502-852-5901.

Faculty/Staff Organizations

  • Black Faculty/Staff Association - founded in 2002, the purpose of this organization is to address faculty and staff issues and develop a system of advocacy for Black employees of the University of Louisville.
  • Faculty and Staff for Human Rights (LGBT employee resource group) - U of L Faculty & Staff for Human Rights (FSHR) is a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer-identified (LGBTQ) employees and allies dedicated to promoting policies and a campus climate that ensure equality for all. 

Support Programs for Future Faculty

Southern Regional Education Board

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.

Arts and Sciences Peer Mentoring Program

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

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.

Affordability and Access Programs

UofL Indicators of Affordability (2015):
  • Percentage of entering students that are low-income: 37.6%
  • Graduation rate for low-income students: 47.5%
  • Average percentage of student financial need met (tuition): 79.5%
  • Percentage of students graduating with no interest-bearing student loan debt: 43%

Upward Bound

The University of Louisville Upward Bound Program is a federally funded project that has existed on the UofL 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.

Cardinal Covenant

UofL’s Law School holds the top spot in U.S. News & World Report ranking of 25 law schools offering the best education for the least money.  (UofL Today, May 31, 2013)
“These rankings affirm what we’ve been saying for years, that students and taxpayers really do get the best educational value — the absolute best bang for their buck — from UofL,” said President James Ramsey.

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.

Gender Neutral Housing

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.

UofL's Partnership with historically-black Simmons College advances educational access

Other Programs Promoting Diversity

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:

  • Up Close & Personal – an interactive and personal shadowing program for individual scholars & parents that gives each participant a “closer look” at the University of Louisville campus and academic programs. Prospective African American students are invited to campus to shadow a pre-selected mentor to class, lunch, and his/her club and/or organization meetings. Students also have the opportunity to meet with an Admissions Counselor for one-on-one consultation.
  • Think College Now! – a half-day college awareness program for freshmen and sophomore African American high school students consisting of financial aid and student life workshops, campus torus and an information fair featuring  academic and student service departments.
  • O’YES! (Order Your Educational Steps) – a campus visit program designed for high school, community, & church groups. The O’YES group visit program allows teachers, counselors, youth program coordinators, and other group chaperones and mentors to bring students to campus for an interactive day of events. Group participants engage in conversation with USHR (Undergraduate Students Helping to Recruit) mentors through a student panel, enjoy a complimentary lunch on campus, and meet with Diversity Recruitment representatives for instant admissions and scholarship decisions.
  • Making the Connection – pre-orientation program designed to help beginning African American freshmen connect to each other, as well African American faculty, staff, and administrators.  Students are given a special tour of the campus with emphasis placed on student service and multicultural “hot spots.”  Ice-breakers, food, and cultural entertainment are provided to help students to make the transition to college prior to the beginning of fall classes.
  • Undergraduate Summer Program in Cardiovascular Research – for students from Under-Represented or Under-Served Populations - The primary objective of this program is to expose undergraduate students from under-represented and under-served populations to cardiovascular research at the University of Louisville.  The program is supported by a NIH Short-Term Training Grant from the National Heart Blood and Lung Institute.
  • REACH (Resources for Academic Exchange) – provides academic services and specific support programs to enable students to better prepare and adapt to college life and to enhance their academic skills and performance in college courses. 
  • USHR (Undergraduate Students Helping to Recruit) – The USHR Mentoring Program is a two- part program that focuses on the retention of current students while serving as a mentoring organization for prospective African American students. Through USHR, current UofL students are paired with prospective senior high school students in order to assist them in their exploration of educational and leadership opportunities at the University of Louisville.
  • University of Louisville Talent Search Program – a 5-year grant-based initiative which will help more than 500 students from six public schools in Jefferson County. The program targets middle and high school students who have the potential to succeed in college and provides them with academic, personal and career counseling. New $1.1 million grant to help students prepare for college (UofL Today, November 11, 2011)

Employee Training Opportunities

Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

The Affirmative Action/Employee Relations Office offers training regarding sexual harassment. The course includes:

  • Defining and identifying sexual harassment
  • University policy and accompanying laws
  • Course of action for victims or accused
  • Reporting responsibilities
  • Complaint resolution
  • On-line Training Supplement -Preventing Sexual Harassment is an interactive web-based training program that provides an innovative way for employees to gain a basic understanding of what constitutes sexual harassment as well as what is and what is not acceptable in today's environment. The program provides a means to evaluate understanding and answers common questions. The program is used as a point of reference and does not replace training provided by the Affirmative Action/Employee Relations Office.

Safe Zone Project

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.

Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning

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:

  • Facilitating Difficult Discussions - faculty receive training on strategies to successfully manage difficult topics that can come up in any class.
  • Using Newspapers and Online Media to Enhance Student Learning in a Multicultural World – faculty learn how to integrate course content and current events from diverse perspectives to can foster students’ multicultural awareness and understanding.
  • Inclusive Teaching Circles - small, consistent groups of faculty, lecturers, and GTAs who are dedicated to teaching that is inclusive and equitable for all students. Teaching that is inclusive and equitable takes positive steps to ensure that no student is excluded, marginalized or denigrated by either course design or classroom pedagogy, with special attention to members of historically excluded or marginalized groups.  Such educational practice requires reflection on how social identities can impact course design, classroom pedagogy, and instructor-student interactions. This program was originally developed in 2005 by the College of Arts and Sciences Office of Diversity and Outreach (now, Office of International, Diversity, and Outreach Programs).

Cultural Center

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.

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