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College Diversity Strategic Plan 2015-2019

Diversity and inclusion are important aspects of everyday life in the College of Agricultural Sciences. Diversity is defined as the state or quality of being different, and as individuals we are all uniquely different. To be an inclusive campus is to respect and value differences and to encourage and create opportunities to capitalize on those differences. Our aim is to create an environment where differences are considered assets that make us better learners, teachers, scholars, researchers, extension educators, employees, and students. A truly inclusive institution benefits all, both educationally and professionally, at Penn State and beyond. Advancing not only diversity, but also inclusion, requires commitment, leadership, and the participation of the entire college. The diversity strategic plan includes strategies and initiatives that work toward creating a truly inclusive environment. Enhancement of diversity within the College of Agricultural Sciences remains an important goal and a challenge for the college, and is being given increased effort and attention. The Diversity Coordinating Council, including faculty, staff, administration, students, and extension educators, has been revived and reinvigorated with the support of the assistant dean for multicultural affairs. One of the first important functions of the council has been the creation of the Diversity Strategic Plan. The council also worked to increase the number of nominations for the college’s Diversity Achievement Award. We continue working toward our vision of weaving diversity into the fabric of the college.

Diversity and inclusion are important aspects of everyday life
in the College of Agricultural Sciences. Diversity is defined as
the state or quality of being different, and as individuals we are
all uniquely different. To be an inclusive campus is to respect
and value differences and to encourage and create opportunities
to capitalize on those differences. Our aim is to create an
environment where differences are considered assets that make
us better learners, teachers, scholars, researchers, extension educators,
employees, and students. A truly inclusive institution
benefits all, both educationally and professionally, at Penn State
and beyond. Advancing not only diversity, but also inclusion,
requires commitment, leadership, and the participation of the
entire college. The diversity strategic plan includes strategies and
initiatives that work toward creating a truly inclusive environment.
Enhancement of diversity within the College of Agricultural
Sciences remains an important goal and a challenge for the
college, and is being given increased effort and attention. The
Diversity Coordinating Council, including faculty, staff, administration,
students, and extension educators, has been revived and
reinvigorated with the support of the assistant dean for multicultural
affairs. One of the first important functions of the council
has been the creation of the Diversity Strategic Plan. The council
also worked to increase the number of nominations for the college’s
Diversity Achievement Award. We continue working toward
our vision of weaving diversity into the fabric of the college.

Fostering Diversity

Given the Core Council’s recommendation to mainstream di­versity planning into the overall strategic planning, the college was asked to describe the progress the unit has made and the issues it continues to address by answering specific questions in relation to each of the seven challenges presented in the Frame­work to Foster Diversity at Penn State 2010–2015. The ques­tions include:

• What progress has been made toward each challenge during the reporting period? What diversity efforts and initiatives are planned for the 2014–2015 through 2018–2019 planning cycle?

• What measures of success or strategic indicators gauge your progress toward this challenge? What specific data in relation to these measures and indicators demonstrate your progress?

• Which specific approaches are considered “signature” initia­tives and which could be considered “best practices”? What metrics can be used to gauge success and what are the mea­surable outcomes?

This section addresses the diversity efforts and initiatives that are planned for the 2014–2015 through 2018–2019 planning cycle. A report on the progress toward initiatives in the 2010– 2015 plan is included in Appendix B.

Diversity and inclusion are important aspects of everyday life in the College of Agricultural Sciences. Diversity is defined as the state or quality of being different, and as individuals we are all uniquely different. To be an inclusive campus is to respect and value differences and to encourage and create opportuni­ties to capitalize on those differences. Our aim is to create an environment where differences are considered assets that make us better learners, teachers, scholars, researchers, extension edu­cators, employees, and students. A truly inclusive institution benefits all, both educationally and professionally, at Penn State and beyond. Advancing not only diversity, but also inclusion, requires commitment, leadership, and the participation of the entire college. The diversity strategic plan includes strategies and initiatives that work toward creating a truly inclusive environ­ment.

Enhancement of diversity within the College of Agricultural Sciences remains an important goal and a challenge for the college, and is being given increased effort and attention. The Diversity Coordinating Council, including faculty, staff, admin­istration, students, and extension educators, has been revived and reinvigorated with the support of the assistant dean for multicul­tural affairs. One of the first important functions of the council has been the creation of the Diversity Strategic Plan. The council also worked to increase the number of nominations for the col­lege’s Diversity Achievement Award. We continue working to­ward our vision of weaving diversity into the fabric of the college.

 

CHALLENGE 1: DEVELOP A SHARED AND INCLUSIVE UNDERSTANDING OF DIVERSITY

Diversity has different meanings to different people. The reinvig­orated Diversity Coordinating Council is developing a standard definition of diversity for application throughout the college.

Objectives and Strategies

 

1. Provide leadership for diversity within the college.

• Continue to support the assistant dean for multicultural af­fairs position as part of the college leadership team, while additionally supporting the coordinator of multicultural pro­grams position.

Measure

• Retain position as part of the leadership team.

 

2. Develop a shared understanding of diversity.

• Develop a definition of diversity that is inclusive.

• Post definition and University’s nondiscrimination policy on the diversity website. Include in materials received by new students, faculty, and staff.

Measure

• Definition and policies are posted on the diversity webpage.

 

3. Provide diversity education professional development op­portunities for faculty, staff, students, and extension educa­tors in the college.

• Offer a “Diversity in Two-Part Harmony” professional devel­opment series—open and advertised to all college personnel and all extension educators across the state—both face-to-face and through videoconferencing.

• Offer a diversity book club opportunity.

• Offer two diversity-focused professional development work­shops each year sponsored by the Diversity Coordinating Council and advertised to faculty, staff, and students across the University Park campus.

• Continue the eight-hour diversity training requirement for extension educators on an annual basis.

• Establish awareness and training in diversity issues with local extension advisory boards and volunteers.

• Offer diversity-focused professional development workshops for extension educators in two districts in the state each year.

• Provide incentives for faculty to attend diversity-focused con­ferences and provide a seminar for other faculty upon return.

 

Measures

• Offer Diversity in Two-Part Harmony sessions four times each academic year. Participant evaluations will measure be­tween 4 and 5 on a 5-point scale with 1 = lowest, 5= highest. Increase enrollment in the sessions by 5 percent each year.

• Raise participation in the book club by 5 percent each year.

• Offer and widely advertise at least two diversity-focused pro­fessional development workshops per year for members of the University community.

• Offer at least one presentation per year by a faculty member in the college on a diversity-focused topic stemming from participation in a diversity conference.

• Document in annual evaluation reports for each extension educator at least eight hours of diversity training.

• Document diversity training sessions in extension advisory board minutes.

 

4. Inventory current diversity efforts/initiatives.

• Collect, review, and evaluate existing programs and resources.

• Review diversity strategic plans of other colleges.

• Develop a report of the state of diversity for faculty, staff, and students in the college.

• Develop an annual report of the state of diversity for faculty, staff, and students in the college every two years thereafter.

Measure

• Prepare and post on the college diversity website an annual report on the state of diversity.

CHALLENGE 2: CREATE A WELCOMING CAMPUS CLIMATE

The Diversity Coordinating Council increased efforts to obtain a broad pool of applications for the college’s Diversity Achieve­ment Award. They also raised the standing of the award by add­ing a monetary award and making administrators eligible. The hope is that this will encourage administrators to take diversity efforts seriously.

Objectives and Strategies

 

1. Support opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to participate in University programs that create a welcoming climate.

• Sponsor attendance at the Annual Commission for Women Award Luncheon for faculty, staff, and students.

• Sponsor a table for students and faculty to attend the annual MLK Banquet.

• Partner with other campus organizations to provide program­ming for faculty, staff, and students.

• Create opportunities for students, staff and faculty to partici­pate in outreach activities in diverse communities.

• Continue participation and communication with other col­leges’ diversity councils and organizations throughout the University, e.g., College Council on Multicultural Leaders, Administrative Council of Multicultural Affairs.

Measure

• Fill all available sponsored seats for the MLK Banquet and Commission for Women Awards Luncheon.

 

2. Recognize diversity efforts of faculty and staff.

• Annually award the Diversity Achievement Award to a fac­ulty, staff, administrator, or extension educator or team who demonstrates outstanding efforts to foster diversity in the college.

• Raise the status of the Diversity Achievement Award with a monetary award and news releases distributed about the recipient.

Measure

• Increase the number of nominations for the Diversity Achievement Award by 20 percent over the five-year planning period.

 

3. Assess climate in the college.

• Create a climate survey for faculty, staff, and students, setting out a data-driven approach to assess and improve the diver­sity climate with emphasis on differences in background and experiences.

• Re-assess the needs of diversity groups.

 

4. Engage current students in efforts to create a welcoming campus climate.

• Work with college student groups (e.g., Ag Advocates) to encourage inclusion of activities, visuals, and language that promote a welcoming campus climate.

• Recruit College of Agricultural Sciences students to share their success stories and challenges as part of new student orientations and brown bag sessions and provide post-partici­pation survey to gauge value of programs.

 

5. Increase representation of all dimensions of diversity in extension educational publications and marketing materials.

Measure

• Elevate the representation of all dimensions of diversity in extension publications by 2019.

 

CHALLENGE 3: RECRUIT AND RETAIN A DIVERSE STUDENT BODY

Minority enrollment for fall 2013 was 219 (Black, 67; Hispanic/ Latino, 81; American Indian/Alaska Natives, 0; Native Hawai­ian/Pacific Islanders, 1; Asians, 36; and Two or More Races, 34) at the University Park campus.

We aim to increase the number and percentage of underrep­resented students in our college at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. One of the biggest challenges facing agriculture and natural resource professionals and educators lies in recruit­ing and retaining traditionally underserved populations. Al­though minorities are well represented in many fields, minority professionals in agriculture and natural resource careers are still limited. Many students from underrepresented backgrounds, particularly racial minorities, have not considered agriculture as a college major. Many have a limited understanding of the breadth of fields and careers that are under the agriculture um­brella. Increased efforts are needed to expose secondary students to a wide variety of careers in agriculture and natural resources.

We will increase activities to recruit high-achieving under­represented graduate and undergraduate students by develop­ing new relationships with historically black, Hispanic, Native American, and women’s colleges; participating in the STEM Colleges Millennium Scholars Program; participating in nation­al research exhibitions that showcase the work of underrepre­sented students; and increasing the number of departments that participate in Summer Research Opportunities Program, the McNair Scholars program, and the Upward Bound Math and Science programs. We will also increase the number of depart­ments that hold specific recruitment activities designed to attract underrepresented students to their majors (including women, where they are underrepresented), and increase the number of graduate assistantships available to support underrepresented students.

The high cost of an education at Penn State is a limiting fac­tor in enrollment for underrepresented students. We will seek all University funding opportunities, and also explore external sources of funding to support enrollment of underrepresented minority students.

We have for several years now been translating some of our extension offerings—both publications and workshops—into other languages. This has been done for many of the farm safety and food safety offerings, where the diversity of workers is high. We will continue and expand these efforts, which could help recruit students to the college for further education.

 

 

 

 

Objectives and Strategies

1. Increase activities to recruit high-achieving underrepre­sented graduate and undergraduate students to the college.

• Continue current efforts to establish outreach programs that focus on diverse higher education institutions—historically black college and universities, Hispanic and Native Ameri­can–serving and women’s colleges.

• Offer dedicated graduate assistantships (one per department).

• Continue and increase participation in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation Summer Research Opportunities Program to attract underrepresented minority graduate stu­dents.

• Continue and expand recruitment visits/activities to high schools in Pennsylvania, and collaborate with the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia recruitment centers.

• Target recruitment activities to private in-state liberal arts colleges.

• At least once every two years, conduct visit by the multicul­tural coordinator to each commonwealth campus with a large enrollment of underrepresented students.

• Participate in the University STEM Open House program.

Measures

• Increase enrollment of underrepresented students in the col­lege.

• Expand relationships with universities and colleges that serve underrepresented students.

• Increase dedicated graduate assisstantships for underrepre­sented students.

• Increase participation in University STEM recruitment pro­grams, including the Millennium Scholars program and the Sloan Foundation program.

 

2. Increase efforts to raise external funding to support re­cruitment and retention efforts for underrepresented minor­ity students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

• Collaborate with the college Development Office to secure funding from businesses and corporations.

Measure

• Increase financial support from external sources to support minority enrollment.

 

3. Increase support for recruitment and retention of under­represented minority students at the departmental level.

• Develop a quantifiable plan within each department to pro­mote diversity recruitment and retention.

 

• Provide incentives for faculty to explore external funding sources in order to leverage internal resources.

• Continue to provide extension curricula and programs in English, Spanish, and other languages to attract diverse clien­tele where appropriate.

 

4. Improve the climate for underrepresented minority stu­dents in the college.

• Hold focus group sessions with diverse students to discuss college diversity climate and identify actions to enhance it.

• Include a question regarding climate for diversity on the se­nior exit survey.

• Hold a professional development workshop series open to all students.

• Identify successful alumni from underrepresented groups. Host seminars open to all with opportunities for alumni to meet with female and underrepresented students.

 

5. Strengthen the Minorities in Agriculture and Natural Re­sources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Student organiza­tion.

• Increase the enrollment of student members.

• Establish a Junior MANRRS organization for high school students within the next three years.

CHALLENGE 4: RECRUIT AND RETAIN A DIVERSE WORKFORCE

Minority faculty for fall 2013 numbered 44 (Black, 4; Hispanic/ Latino, 10; American Indian/Alaska Natives, 2; Native Hawai­ian/Pacific Islanders, 0; Asians, 27; and Two or More Races, 1) in the college.

We will take proactive steps to increase the diversity of faculty and staff candidate pools by creating opportunities to bring un­derrepresented and female doctoral candidates to the college to deliver seminars and meet with faculty, students, and staff. We will also develop a network of contacts and organizations with ties to underrepresented groups with whom to share position announcements. Internally, we will strengthen our hiring poli­cies and procedures.

Objectives and Strategies

 

1. Plan for diversity.

• Develop a quantifiable diversity plan within each department.

 

2. Increase recruitment activities.

• Include in all position announcements for faculty, staff, and extension educators a statement indicating the desirability of experience with diverse populations.

• Review all searches for academic faculty and extension educa­tor positions to ensure a diverse applicant pool.

• Identify contact persons at historically black college and uni­versities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and Native American colleges that are agreeable to sharing our job announcements within their institutions.

• Advertise positions for faculty, staff, and extension educators in venues targeted to women and underrepresented persons.

• Create opportunities to bring underrepresented and female doctoral candidates to the college to deliver seminars and meet with faculty, students, and staff in the department re­lated to their research/area of expertise.

Measures

• Increase number of minority faculty and staff, particularly for those groups that are currently underrepresented.

• Document affirmative hiring policies.

 

3. Increase retention activities.

• Through exit interviews and mentoring, identify barriers that may hinder retention of women and underrepresented mi­nority faculty and staff.

• Hold focus groups with current diverse students, faculty, and staff to identify issues.

• Include commitment to diversity in the evaluation of depart­ment heads.

• Include commitment to diversity in the evaluation of faculty and staff.

Measures

• Develop new strategies to address any barriers discovered dur­ing exit interviews.

• Document reduction in faculty and extension educator turn­over rates by gender, race/ethnicity, and job classification.

• Document and increase success rates for recruitment and re­tention by cohort, gender, and race/ethnicity.

CHALLENGE 5: DEVELOP A CURRICULUM THAT FOSTERS U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL COMPETENCIES

When students leave this University and move into the work­place, they need to be prepared for a workplace that is becoming increasingly diverse. In fact, the ability to interact with and work effectively with people from a variety of backgrounds is becom­ing a job skill and requirement. So an important job of the Diversity Coordinating Council is to make recommendations that create opportunities for all of our students to gain awareness of cultural differences, to be open to diverse perspectives, and to

have the ability to interact effectively with people different from themselves.

This is a great University, and we pride ourselves on helping to prepare the leaders of the future. Cultural awareness and in­clusive excellence are critical for leaders of the future. We cannot allow our students to leave the University without having some level of diversity awareness in their educational program.

We will develop a curriculum that fosters U.S. and interna­tional cultural competencies by including diversity topics in the first-year seminars, increasing the number of courses that incor­porate diversity within the curricula, increasing the number of departmental seminar speakers from underrepresented groups, and increasing the number of faculty, staff, and students with experiences in diverse settings.

In 2012, a record high of 243 of our students traveled abroad, up from 85 students five years ago. These students traveled to twenty-six different countries, the widest scope of international travelers to date. Since the office took over advising and managing the International Agriculture (INTAG) minor two years ago, enrollment in the minor has tripled from eight to twenty-three enrolled in 2013.

Objectives and Strategies

 

1. Increase numbers of students (undergraduate and gradu­ate) graduating with cross-cultural experience.

• Offer a globally oriented section of AG 150, the first-year seminar.

• Establish an International Programs Office presence at annual Ag Career Day every fall.

• Hold a college International Experiences Fair annually in fall.

• Offer student scholarships via Office of International Pro­grams, Office of Undergraduate Education, and Office of Graduate Research and Education, including Cordivano, World Food Prize, and international research awards.

• Support faculty in development of new educational embed­ded experiences to international and particularly nontradi­tional locations, with an emphasis on service-learning and cultural diversity components.

• Encourage faculty to seek international collaboration and funding for internationally based research that involves mi­nority graduate students.

Measure

• Increase number of students who gain an international and/ or diversity educational experience.

 

2. Bring more international and cultural competencies into classes offered in the college.

• Encourage faculty teaching existing courses with U.S. and/  

or international cultural components to file for US and/or IL course designations.

• Promote creation of new courses with US and/or IL designa­tion.

• Continue offering a diversity-focused seminar course in the college.

• Continue offering a Spanish in Agriculture Program—A four-course series of agriculture-specific Spanish language instruction, including a four-week immersion experience in Costa Rica.

• Encourage faculty to use the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence and other resources to help develop diversity-related content in their curricula.

• Encourage faculty to include diversity in their first-year semi­nar.

• Encourage faculty to include diversity-related seminars and workshops in their programs, where appropriate. Provide fi­nancial incentives to support this effort.

• Provide incentives for faculty to invite speakers from under­represented groups to present seminars and workshops.

• Develop inter-institutional linkages with minority-serving institutions that primarily serve diverse student populations to encourage development of inter-institutional exchange and cross-cultural programs.

Measures

• Increase number of courses with a US or IL designation for diversity-related content.

• Increase number of courses that include diversity and inter­national/global concepts within the curricula.

• Increase number of departmental seminar speakers from un­derrepresented groups.

• Continue enrollment in a diversity-focused seminar/course and in the Spanish in Agriculture Program.

CHALLENGE 6: DIVERSIFY UNIVERSITY LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT

We will strengthen our efforts to fill administrative positions with candidates that demonstrate diversity competence. We will create more opportunities for faculty and staff from underrep­resented groups to gain leadership skills that will assist them in gaining leadership positions within the college.

Objectives and Strategies

 

  1. 1.       Diversify administrative leadership and management of the college.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Offer administrative leadership internships, mentoring, and professional development opportunities such as leadership development education programs for women and members of underrepresented groups.

• Require demonstrated experience and tangible accomplish­ments in leading diversity initiatives as a qualification in mak­ing administrative leadership and managerial appointments.

  • Access a broad range of networks that promote diversity when searching to fill administrative leadership and manage­rial positions.

• Diversify external college advisory committees.

• Encourage underrepresented faculty and staff to participate in the administrative fellows program for emerging leaders.

• Monitor changes over time in diversity in administrative leadership and management positions as compared to the baseline.

• Using the baseline and monitoring analyses, regularly identify and prioritize actions necessary to increase diversity in admin­istrative leadership and management positions.

Measures

• Increase percentage of administrative leaders, faculty, staff, and extension educators attending administrative leadership development and diversity programs and activities.

• Include in all vacancy announcements for administrative leadership and management positions the need for demon­strated skills in leading and managing diversity.

• Access broad set of networks when searching to fill adminis­trative leadership and management positions as documented in periodic reports.

 

2. Maintain college representation on University committees focused on promoting diversity and inclusion goals.

• Maintain membership on committees such as the Commis­sion on Race and Ethnic Diversity, Commission for Women, and Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgen­dered persons, and University Faculty Senate committees and task forces where appropriate.

Measure

• Increase diverse representation on external college advisory committees documented in periodic reports.

CHALLENGE 7: COORDINATE ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE TO SUPPORT OUR DIVERSITY GOALS

We will support and work toward the incorporation of diversity into all aspects and all corners of the college.

 

 

 

 

Objectives and Strategies

1. Establish a strong relationship between college diversity strategic planning and college strategic planning by integrat­ing the two processes and coordinating actions.

• Distribute widely the progress report(s) on the achievement of both college strategic plan goals and college diversity stra­tegic plan goals.

• Review annual progress toward establishing a strong relation­ship between college strategic planning and college diversity strategic planning.

• Harmonize goals, action strategies, and priorities between the college strategic plan and the college diversity strategic plan.

• Allocate, as appropriate, college funding necessary to imple­ment priority actions.

• Seek University- and college-level funding to support college diversity activities, programs, and initiatives.

Measure

• Make available on the web to all students, staff, faculty, ad­ministrators, educators, and the public progress reports on diversity-related issues in the college.

 

2. Broaden the role of the college Diversity Coordinating Council to include leadership of college-level initiatives to achieve diversity goals.

• Given the outcome of annual progress reviews, identify and implement initiatives necessary to strengthen coordination between the college strategic plan and the college diversity strategic plan.

• Develop and publicize a standard definition of diversity for use college-wide.

• Take a more active role in developing diversity-related profes­sional development opportunities.

• Act as a sounding board for the dean regarding diversity is­sues or improvements.

Measures

• Identify and implement priority diversity initiatives to imple­ment the college strategic plan and the college diversity stra­tegic plan.

• Make diversity considerations central to all college-level initiatives.

• Establish an annual meeting of the Diversity Coordinating Council with the dean to discuss successes and challenges related to diversity in the college

 

3. Establish and expand award system for diversity activities for faculty, staff, and administrators.