Last semester, President Capilouto, Provost Tim Tracy and Interim Vice President for Institutional Diversity Terry Allen met with 25 students of color at Maxwell Place. The discussion centered on issues of concern with efforts on the campus to create a more diverse and inclusive community. Further conversations brought about more points for progress. For next steps with the Memorial Hall mural, read President Capilouto's blog here.
Through these conversations, a broad consensus emerged that progress needs to be made in a number of areas, chief among them five core pillars with respect to people, resources, curriculum and performance measurements. Those five areas include:
1. Accessibility to resources and funding for organizations, scholarships and programming
The university has nearly doubled scholarship funding for the Parker Awards.
Additional funding has been allocated for programming for organizations such as the MLK Center.
Since 2015, the university has been administering a provost persistence fund, designed to support student success by addressing unmet financial need. In the 2015-2016 academic year, 209 students were awarded Provost Persistence Grants, more than half of which went to students from under-represented populations. In addition, UK is expanding services at its VIP Center to include an additional counselor to address concerns related to matters of diversity and how the institution responds.
2. Restructuring of the Office of Institutional Diversity
Last spring, President Capilouto spoke with more than 60 members of the campus and broader community about the Office for Institutional Diversity and its direction. He appointed Terry Allen to serve as interim vice president for institutional diversity and to begin the work of restructuring and reinvigorating efforts to support inclusivity and welcoming throughout campus.
This fall, UK will launch a search for a permanent vice president. OID has contacted other institutions to gather information on best practices. Internally, a survey instrument was created and distributed to 3,000 students and 1,500 faculty and staff to gather feedback.
The university will continue to look at the structure of the office with input from students, faculty and staff.
3. Measurable benchmarks for diversity and accountability
The recently adopted 2015-2020 strategic plan entails ambitious plans for closing retention and graduation gaps for underrepresented student populations.
Transparent communication of outcomes and mechanisms of meeting strategic plan benchmarks will be ongoing.
4. Increasing the number of African-American professors and staff and increasing retention
UK will support and fund intentional recruitment plans for hiring and retaining African American, Hispanic and Native American professors.
5. A class on race and ethnicity that is part of the core curriculum
The university is working with elected faculty representatives to examine whether a class that more holistically focuses on these diversity-related issues can become part of core curriculum.
UK has added two modules for UK 101 that specifically address diversity and inclusion.
Read a more detailed summary of progress in the key areas identified above here.