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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Mary Easterling
Submission Date July 29, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Pennsylvania State University
PAE-7: Measuring Campus Diversity Culture

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Lydia Vandenbergh
Assoc. Dir. Employee Engagement & Education
Sustainability Institute
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Has the institution assessed attitudes about diversity and equity on campus in a way that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of the assessment(s):

Penn State assesses attitudes about diversity and equity and progress and accomplishments related to The Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State, the University’s strategic plan for diversity, in several ways:

Diversity Strategic Planning
Educational Equity was commissioned to develop the University’s first strategic plan for diversity, A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State: 1998–2003,to provide a more systematic and systemic approach to attaining the University’s diversity goals. Analysis of diversity initiatives throughout the University resulted in identification of seven Challenges that would guide Penn State’s diversity efforts in a comprehensive way. Given the progress fostered through the previous decade of diversity strategic planning, it was clear that the seven Challenges continue to be our best means for guiding multicultural transformation and will likely remain so for some time. Shifting focus away from micro-level reporting in favor of demonstrating macro-level progress in achieving goals for each Challenge represents the next level of advancement. The seven challenges include:

Campus Climate and Intergroup Relations
1. Developing a shared and inclusive understanding of diversity
2. Creating a welcoming campus climate

Representation (Access and Success)
3. Recruiting and retaining a diverse student body
4. Recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce

Education and Scholarship
5. Developing a curriculum that fosters United States and
international cultural competencies

Institutional Viability and Vitality
6. Diversifying university leadership and management
7. Coordinating organizational change to support our diversity goals.

A history and overview of the evolution of the Framework and the review process is available at http://www.equity.psu.edu/Framework/Updates/overview.htm

Assessment of diversity strategic plans:
The most unique feature of the Framework and one of its greatest strengths is the review process. The reviews are comprehensive and participatory and feature the unique public accountability of final materials being posted on the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity Web site. Each strategic planning unit submits a diversity strategic plan based on the Framework, and its own planning goals, to Educational Equity at the beginning of the planning period. These plans are reviewed concurrently with the final update reports from the previous planning period. Progress updates are then submitted by each planning unit at the midpoint and end of each planning cycle. A specific set of assessment questions regarding unit-level implementation guide the updates. Unit diversity strategic plans and updates are evaluated by review teams that are representative of broad constituencies across the University. Review team membership includes faculty, staff, students, and administrators, including representatives from Commission for Women, Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity, Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equity, University Faculty Senate, campuses, and diversity student organizations.

Review team feedback reports are provided to the provost and the vice provost for Educational Equity, who then meet with each unit executive for discussion. The units have an opportunity to make a written response to the feedback reports following the meeting.

The Web site maintains a comprehensive repository of unit diversity strategic plans, updates and feedback reports from each Framework cycle. http://www.equity.psu.edu/Framework/Updates/index.asp A history and overview of the evolution of the Framework and the review process is available at http://www.equity.psu.edu/Framework/Updates/overview.htm

Strategic Indicators
An important step in advancing the Framework is identification of a set of University-wide performance indicators by which the University’s progress under each Challenge can be gauged. The Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity has compiled a set of indicators, which are published on-line as a complimentary document to the Framework. These indicators are not linked to particular activities, but are designed to monitor progress under each Challenge that can be attributed to the combined effect of all efforts in support of that Challenge.
The Framework strategic indicators are available at http://www.equity.psu.edu/Framework/indicators/index.asp

Faculty/Staff Survey
Penn State conducts a comprehensive employee satisfaction survey on a four year cycle. The most recent survey was conducted in 2008. The Faculty/Staff Survey contains a bank of questions regarding diversity that provide a University-wide assessment of attitudes about diversity. Additionally, the responses to all of the questions are disaggregated according to a number of demographic factors, including those reflecting diversity.

Penn State's 2008 Faculty/Staff Survey, sponsored by the Office of the President and coordinated by the Penn State Office of Human Resources, received responses from over 8,400 full-time faculty and staff for a 51.4% return rate. The survey featured several new questions in addition to items used in previous surveys in order to measure overall satisfaction and engagement among faculty and staff. The major sections in the survey were Attitudes and Practices, Diversity, Administrative Practices and Activities, and Overall Impressions.

Overall results are shared with the University community on the Office of Human Resources Web site and through a series of articles published on the Penn State newswires (which reach all University employees and students), one of which focused around diversity. Comprehensive results for each unit, disaggregated by demographic factors, are shared with the unit executive.

Overall results and articles about the 2008 Faculty/Staff survey are available at http://facultystaffsurvey.psu.edu/

Student Surveys
Student Affairs Research and Assessment (SARA) provides leadership and service to the Division of Student Affairs in assessing, identifying and measuring learning outcomes, educational programming, and strategic planning. The data gathered by SARA helps administrators, staff, and faculty better understand the needs, experiences, and outcomes of Penn State students. Such assessments drive data-driven decision making in the Division of Student Affairs and in the broader University community.

Penn State Pulse is a survey initiative using Web and phone surveys designed to get a better understanding of students' opinions on a wide-ranging list of subjects. As of May 2010, 158 Penn State Pulse surveys have been completed. High participation rates, large respondent numbers, and verification that the demographics of respondents are consistent with the population suggest that the survey results are generally representative of the student body. Results are posted online and are shared with University administrators, staff, faculty, and students.
Penn State also participates in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) was administered during Spring semester 2008 to degree-seeking, first-year and senior students at University Park. Based on Fall 2007 enrollment, there were 7,273 first-year students and 9,675 senior students in the population.

More information about student surveys, analysis and reports are available at http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/assessment/

Additionally, units gather information and data about climate in a variety of ways. These methods include informal town-hall-style discussions, discussions over meals, focus groups, and formal surveys.

Year the assessment was last administered:

A brief description of how the results of the assessment(s) are used in shaping policy, programs, and initiatives:

Survey assessments and strategic indicators provide data that help to identify strengths and opportunities and areas for improvement. The Framework reviews yield rich qualitative information and best practices that suggest policy and initiatives and determine next steps and areas of emphasis for the following Framework cycle.

The website URL where information about the assessment(s) is available:

The most recent Framework assessment review was conducted in Spring/Summer of 2010. Results are available at http://www.equity.psu.edu/Framework/Updates/index.asp Posted documents include: unit final progress update under 2004-09 Framework cycle, review team feedback, and responses from unit; unit strategic plans for the 2010-15 Framework cycle, review team feedback, and responses from unit; best practices and analysis.

A set of Strategic Indicators relevant to A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State have been identified and were last updated in 2009. The Framework Strategic Indicators are available at http://www.equity.psu.edu/Framework/indicators/index.asp

The Faculty/Staff Survey is administered every 4 years, the most recent being 2008. Results are available at http://facultystaffsurvey.psu.edu/ Selected results related to A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State are available within the Framework Strategic Indicators at http://www.equity.psu.edu/Framework/indicators/index.asp

Penn State participated in NSSE spring 2008; Penn State Pulse Surveys and Student Satisfaction Survey are conducted annually. http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/assessment/

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.