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  • AASHE-STARS

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

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.76
Liaison Mary Easterling
Submission Date July 29, 2011
President's Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Pennsylvania State University
PAE-8: Support Programs for Under-Represented Groups

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Lydia Vandenbergh
Faculty and Staff Program Coordinator
Campus Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support, affinity groups, academic support programs, or other programs in place to support under-represented groups on campus?:
Does the institution have mentoring, counseling, peer support, affinity groups, academic support ... (Yes)

A brief description of the programs sponsored by the institution to support under-represented groups within the student body:

Paul Robeson Cultural Center http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/cultural/ The Paul Robeson Cultural Center provides programs and services that encourage the appreciation of the diverse perspectives, experiences, and cultures of many under-represented communities that comprise the student, faculty, staff, and community population of University Park and State College, Pennsylvania.

FastStart http://alumni.psu.edu/network-mentor/faststart FastStart is a mentoring program that helps first-year students from African American, Latino/Hispanic, Asian and Asian/Pacific American backgrounds, as well as those students who simply want to get their college careers off to a fast start.

GradStart Graduate Student Mentoring Program http://www.gradsch.psu.edu/diversity/gradstart.html GradStart is a new mentoring program designed to help underrepresented graduate students make the most of their graduate school career and accomplish their individual goals while at Penn State . Each graduate student who desires to be a part of the program will be matched with an alumnus or alumna and/or a faculty member, and each match will be tailored to meet the needs of the graduate student.

Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) http://www.gradsch.psu.edu/diversity/srop.html SROP is an eight-week research program designed to interest talented undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in academic careers and to enhance their preparation for graduate study through intensive research experiences with faculty mentors. In addition to the research experience, the program includes professional development workshops, seminars, field trips, and social activities.

Office for Disability Services http://www.equity.psu.edu/ods/ Office for Disability Services provides services to students with disabilities at University Park and acts in an advisory capacity to the Disability Contact Liaisons at other Penn State locations. The office, along with the Disability Advisory Group, sponsors “Diversability,” a series of informational programs and activities in celebration of Disabilities Awareness Month. http://www.equity.psu.edu/ods/diversability/index.asp

Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program (McNair Scholars) http://www.gradsch.psu.edu/diversity/mcnair.html Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate works with undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds in order to prepare them to pursue advanced studies in the disciplines of their choosing. The McNair program matches students with a faculty advisor and a staff mentor.

Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) http://www.equity.psu.edu/mrc Multicultural Resource Center provides undergraduate students of color at University Park with academic and personal support. Discussion groups and mentoring programs are offered.

Student Support Services Program (SSSP) http://www.equity.psu.edu/sssp Student Support Services Program provides low income, first generation, or students with a physical or learning disability with a variety of services designed to enhance their academic skills, increase their retention and graduation rates, facilitate their entrance into graduate and professional schools, and foster a supportive institutional environment.

Office of Veterans Programs http://www.equity.psu.edu/veterans Office of Veterans Programs is a comprehensive, direct service unit for veterans and Department of Veterans Affairs benefits recipients.

Women in the Sciences & Engineering (WISE) Institute http://www.equity.psu.edu/wise Women in the Sciences & Engineering coordinates information, research, and activities for and about women in the sciences and engineering.

Pennypacker Experience http://www.science.psu.edu/diversity/pennypacker-experience/BWPPExperience.htm The Pennypacker Experience is a scholarly and diverse living/learning community. Its main goal is to create a supportive educational and social environment for incoming first-year students while simultaneously promoting diversity in gender, race, and ethnic background. Bunton-Waller Fellows and Lenfest Scholars are housed together in Pennypacker Hall, along with students from the FISE House (First-Year in Science and Engineering Program), creating one of the most culturally diverse residence halls on campus. The unique feature about Pennypacker Hall is the availability of specially trained Program Assistants (PAs), in addition to Resident Assistants (RAs), who look to the educational needs of the students. The program provides healthy student-faculty interaction through functions such as luncheons, award ceremonies, the “Take a Professor to Lunch” program, etc.

Commission for Women: http://www.equity.psu.edu/cfw/ Since 1981, the Commission for Women has identified areas of concern for the women employees and students of Penn State. It is a forum for exchanging ideas that can translate into improved practices to support women at Penn State. Its membership represents every employment category: faculty, exempt and non-exempt staff, technical service and administrative, as well as graduate and undergraduate students.

Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity: http://www.equity.psu.edu/cored/ The Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity (CORED) was appointed in 1989 as a University-wide advisory body to the President of Penn State in matters relating to racial and ethnic diversity. CORED also serves as a resource for all University departments and individuals seeking to improve Penn State's climate for diversity. The Commission is dedicated to enhancing the University's climate for diversity at all its locations in the Commonwealth.

Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity: http://www.equity.psu.edu/clgbte/ Created in 1991, the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity is an advisory group to the President. The purpose of the Commission is to improve the climate for diversity within Penn State and specifically to address issues affecting the welfare of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) members of the University community.

Commission for Adult Learners http://www.outreach.psu.edu/commission/ Penn State's Commission for Adult Learners is composed of faculty, staff, and students from several University locations. Members are dedicated to improving the adult learner experience at Penn State.

Center for Women Students http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/womenscenter/ The Center for Women Students is designed to provide a central focus for meeting the needs of women students. Although it is clear that all units within the University have a responsibility to address these needs, the Center for Women Students provides a point of entry where women students' concerns can be handled directly or referred to appropriate units within the University or local community.

Center for Religious and Ethics Affairs http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/spiritual/ The largest multi-faith center of its kind in the country, The Pasquerilla Spiritual Center is home to the Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs (CERA) at Penn State. CERA aims to promote an environment that stretches beyond tolerance to a genuine appreciation of and respect for religious and spiritual diversity. CERA provides office space to a variety of religious/spiritual student organizations.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Allies Student Resource Center http://www.sa.psu.edu/lgbt/ Ranked among the best in the country by the Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students, The mission of the LGBTA Student Resource Center is to assist the entire Penn State University community in ensuring the inclusion of LGBTA persons and in eliminating homophobia and heterosexism at PSU by providing a comprehensive range of direct service, referral, programming, outreach, and education. The LGBTA Student Resource Center offers several resources: safe space, peer counseling, a meeting place, and information on anything from coming out to LGBT friendly employers. We also offer a library that contains books, educational and social videos, magazines, and scholarly and non-scholarly journals and articles. The resources are available to all students, staff, faculty, administration and community members. Mentoring programs are also offered.

University Park Undergraduate Association, http://www.upua.psu.edu/ The student government has a Diversity and Student Life chair. Additionally, the UPUA chair is active in each of the University’s three equity commissions.

Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG) http://php.scripts.psu.edu/clubs/up/ccsg This student governance body represents the concerns and interests of students attending the Commonwealth Campuses/Colleges in matters of a University-wide nature, provides a forum for the exchange and development of ideas. The organization has a “Diversity Affairs” sub-committee under its Student Life committee.

International and Multicultural Student organizations http://www.sa.psu.edu/usa/studentactivities/searchresults.asp?orgcat=International/Multicultural

Achievement Conference http://outreach.psu.edu/programs/achievement/ The annual Achievement Conference is presented by the Black Graduate Student Association and co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, the Office of Graduate Educational Equity Programs, the Office of Undergraduate Education, the Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity, the Forum on Black Affairs, the Africana Research Center, and the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence. The purpose of the conference is to foster relationships among juniors, seniors, and graduate students of color, along with faculty and administrators. The conference agenda typically includes professional development workshops, a buffet luncheon (for students attending at least one workshop), and keynote speakers. The conference also features a research exhibition for interested conference participants to showcase their work.

Professional Development and Retention Conference http://www.gradsch.psu.edu/diversity/pdrc.html The annual Professional Development and Retention Conference provides an opportunity for new and returning graduate students from underrepresented groups to meet faculty and staff. The goals of the conference are to assist graduate students in acclimating to the University Park campus; to provide networking opportunities among students, faculty, and staff; to provide information about the University's support services; and to provide information and insights regarding graduate studies and the Penn State community.


A brief description of the programs sponsored by the institution to support under-represented groups within the faculty:

Senior Faculty Mentor http://www.equity.psu.edu/sfm/index.asp The senior faculty mentor provides a variety of supportive services to tenure track faculty members belonging to underrepresented racial/ethnic groups to facilitate attainment of tenure and promotion. Services offered include: mentoring; individual consultations regarding progress toward tenure and promotion, including review of dossiers; advice regarding vitae maintenance and development; supplemental travel support to attend conferences; and activities to promote networking and a sense of community including a listserv for disseminating relevant information.

“What’s Diversity Got to Do With It?” annual CORED Promotion and Tenure Symposium http://live.psu.edu/story/45406 For the past five years, the Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity, has hosted a tenure and promotion symposium focusing on the needs and concerns of underrepresented faculty. The symposium is presented in collaboration with Commission for Women, Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity, the Senior Faculty Mentor, and the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, and features a T&P presentation from the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, a panel discussion with faculty who have received tenure, and a guest speaker on faculty diversity issues. The symposium complements department and college promotion and tenure programs.

The University’s strategic plan for diversity, A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State: 2010-15 has as two goals pertaining to support for diversity faculty “Challenge 4: Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Workforce” and “Challenge 5: Developing a Curriculum That Fosters United States and International Cultural Competencies.” http://www.equity.psu.edu/Framework/index.asp Challenge 4 emphasizes appropriate evaluation of diversity scholarship within the tenure and promotion process. Challenge 5 emphasizes integration of diversity scholarship and teaching. Penn State requires 6 credit hours of coursework pertaining to diversity, three devoted to US and 3 to international cultures.

UniSCOPE http://www.outreach.psu.edu/files/UniSCOPE_Rprt.pdf Begun in 1998, UniSCOPE seeks to contribute to the emergence of an academic culture that equitably recognizes, respects, and rewards all dimensions of scholarship as we look toward the 21st century.

Domestic Partner Benefits http://www.ohr.psu.edu/Benefits/benefits.htm Penn State offers benefits-eligible employees the opportunity to extend various benefits and policies to same-sex, domestic partners. This includes, but is not limited to, medical, dental, and vision plans, as well as accidental death and dismemberment insurance.

Commission for Women: http://www.equity.psu.edu/cfw/ Since 1981, the Commission for Women has identified areas of concern for the women employees and students of Penn State. It is a forum for exchanging ideas that can translate into improved practices to support women at Penn State. Its membership represents every employment category: faculty, exempt and non-exempt staff, technical service and administrative, as well as graduate and undergraduate students

Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity: http://www.equity.psu.edu/cored/ The Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity (CORED) was appointed in 1989 as a University-wide advisory body to the President of Penn State in matters relating to racial and ethnic diversity. CORED also serves as a resource for all University departments and individuals seeking to improve Penn State's climate for diversity. The Commission is dedicated to enhancing the University's climate for diversity at all its locations in the Commonwealth.

Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity: http://www.equity.psu.edu/clgbte/ Created in 1991, the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity is an advisory group to the President. The purpose of the Commission is to improve the climate for diversity within Penn State and specifically to address issues affecting the welfare of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) members of the University community.

Additionally, there are mentoring and support programs offered through the colleges and campuses.


A brief description of the programs sponsored by the institution to support under-represented groups within the staff:

Hire Power http://www.ohr.psu.edu/HRRep.cfm Initiated in 2007, Hire Power promotes competencies based hiring practices in both internal and external searches to support Penn State’s goal to create a more inclusive, civil, and diverse community.

Multicultural Staff Support Center http://www.ohr.psu.edu/mssc/noflashVersion/noindex.cfm?style=graphic The Office of Human Resources embraces Penn State's goal to provide diversity resources, programs, and services. The Multicultural Staff Support Center offers resources and links for connecting to life in and around Penn State's University Park campus.

ONE http://www.ohr.psu.edu/diversity/services/one.cfm The Opportunity Network for Employment (ONE) Program is a collaboration between Penn State’s Office of Human Resources and agencies such as the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, The Arc of Centre County, Skills of Central PA, and local school districts. The program’s role is to assist qualified individuals with a disability who are seeking employment at Penn State’s University Park campus.

Dual Career Employment Assistance Program http://www.ohr.psu.edu/dual_career/Home/Home.htm The Dual Career Employment Assistance Program is designed to assist the partners of newly recruited or recently hired full-time faculty and staff in their search for employment and relocation to Penn State. Additionally, the program provides information about the community; contacts for locating housing; links to job search sites; helpful information about CV and resume preparation; interviewing advice and tips; information on child care and elder care in the community; a link to International Scholars and Visa Services and other valuable resources at Penn State and in the Centre Region.

Work/Life Programs http://www.ohr.psu.edu/WorkLife/home.cfm Penn State’s Work/Life Programs are beneficial to staff from underrepresented groups and women. Information and assistance is available on areas such as quality child care, elder care, and breastfeeding/pumping.

Domestic Partner Benefits http://www.ohr.psu.edu/Benefits/benefits.htm Penn State offers benefits-eligible employees the opportunity to extend various benefits and policies to same-sex, domestic partners. This includes, but is not limited to, medical, dental, and vision plans, as well as accidental death and dismemberment insurance.

CFW Mentoring Program http://equity.psu.edu/cfw/programs/mentor.asp The purpose of the Mentoring Program is to enhance professional and personal development among full-time faculty, staff (exempt and nonexempt), and technical-service workers by connecting them with others who can provide advice on a variety of work-related issues, including career planning, job skill enhancement, and University involvement. The program involves administrators, faculty, technical-service employees, longtime staff, and newcomers to Penn State. Full-time faculty, staff, and technical-service employees can apply to be a mentor or protégé, depending on their needs and goals. Mentors can come from all levels of experience, while protégés do not need to be new to the workforce or the University.

Intercultural Staff Mentoring Program https://app1.ohr.psu.edu/psu-cored-app/index.cfm The Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity (CORED), in conjunction with Penn State's Office of Human Resources Multicultural Staff Support Center, offers a mentoring program for underrepresented staff. The Intercultural Staff Mentoring Program is designed to enhance the professional and personal development of racial and ethnically underrepresented staff (exempt and nonexempt) and technical-service employees by formally connecting them with mentors who can provide advice and support on a variety of work-related issues including career planning, job skill enhancement, University involvement and community resources. Full-time staff and technical-service employees are encouraged to participate as a mentor or protege.

Commission for Women: http://www.equity.psu.edu/cfw/ Since 1981, the Commission for Women has identified areas of concern for the women employees and students of Penn State. It is a forum for exchanging ideas that can translate into improved practices to support women at Penn State. Its membership represents every employment category: faculty, exempt and non-exempt staff, technical service and administrative, as well as graduate and undergraduate students. The President appoints the members of the commission as an advisory group to recommend policies and programs to enhance the University's working and learning environments.

Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity: http://www.equity.psu.edu/cored/ The Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity (CORED) was appointed in 1989 as a University-wide advisory body to the President of Penn State in matters relating to racial and ethnic diversity. CORED also serves as a resource for all University departments and individuals seeking to improve Penn State's climate for diversity. The Commission is dedicated to enhancing the University's climate for diversity at all its locations in the Commonwealth.

Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity: http://www.equity.psu.edu/clgbte/ Created in 1991, the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity is an advisory group to the President. The purpose of the Commission is to improve the climate for diversity within Penn State and specifically to address issues affecting the welfare of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) members of the University community.


The website URL where more information about the programs in each of the three categories is available :

The information presented here is self-reported and has not been verified by AASHE or a third party. If you believe any of this information is erroneous, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Accuracy Inquiry Form.