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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 Gold
Overall Score 67.88
Liaison Mary Easterling
Submission Date Sept. 14, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Pennsylvania State University
PA-5: Assessing Diversity and Equity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Mary Easterling
Assoc Director, Analysis & Assessment
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution engaged in a structured assessment process during the previous three years to improve diversity, equity and inclusion on campus?:

A brief description of the assessment process and the framework, scorecard(s) and/or tool(s) used:

There are a number of assessment efforts that are relevant to this question:

In the fall of 2013 an independent research/ analytics firm was contracted to conduct a comprehensive assessment of diversity and inclusion at Penn State, at the midpoint of the third iteration of the University's strategic plan, "A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State: 2010-15". (This assessment occurred just prior to the 3 year period covered by this STARS report.) The analysis was based on a review of over 3,000 pages of documentation across all of Penn State's strategic planning units, and a two-day site visit. See http://equity.psu.edu/workshop/fall13-quality-advocates-session

In 2015, the Office of Educational Equity - the primary but not only coordinating body for diversity, equity and inclusion on campus - completed their strategic plan for 2015-2020. Although this was not a formal assessment per se, the strategic plan does examine the existing status of diversity on campus, and provides a general assessment of its programs (and, in some cases, specific statistics) in the context of planning for the future.

Beginning with the 2015-2020 strategic planning cycle, each unit on campus (colleges, academic and administrative support units) was tasked with incorporating diversity into its own unit-level plan. As part of that process, in 2015 each unit prepared a report describing their progress in diversity over the last strategic planning cycle, and plans for further improvement over the next strategic planning period. See http://equity.psu.edu/updates-10-15/colleges-10-15-updates

The Student Affairs Research and Assessment (SARA) office conducts surveys of various aspects of student life. Two of those conducted in the past 3 years are relevant to diversity and inclusion: (1) The Student Experience Survey is repeated every 3 years. Among the questions are several which relate to campus climate - e.g., whether the respondent feels safe, welcome, and respected on campus - in addition to several on demographics including as ethnicity, receipt of need-based grants, and disability status. (2) In Fall 2014, Student Affairs conducted a survey of LGBTQA Climate. (3) In Fall 2015 a Sexual Misconduct Climate survey was conducted.

In 2015 Finance & Business conducted a Climate Survey of their workforce to assess progress in advancing diversity and inclusion.

Does the assessment process address campus climate by engaging stakeholders to assess the attitudes, perceptions and behaviors of faculty, staff, administrators and students, including the experiences of underrepresented groups?:

Does the assessment process address student outcomes related to diversity, equity and success (e.g. graduation/success and retention rates for underrepresented groups)?:

Does the assessment process address employee outcomes related to diversity and equity (e.g. pay and retention rates for underrepresented groups)?:

A brief description of the most recent assessment findings and how the results are used in shaping policy, programs and initiatives:

The Fall 2014 Review of A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State identified best practices and potential best practices in promoting diversity.

The unit-level strategic planning completed in 2015 involved examining the current status of diversity and supporting programs in order to devise strategies for improvement/ continued progress.

The Office of Educational Equity's strategic plan presents data on retention and graduation rates for students in its Student Success Programs and Student Access Programs, and makes a case for continuing to seek grant funding for these programs in spite of an increasingly competitive funding environment.

Results of the Student Affairs surveys are used internally as well as shared with other units for assessment and planning purposes.

Results of the Finance & Business Climate Survey - although generally positive - found that the areas of greatest concern were an unwillingness to report acts of intolerance, mistrust of supervisors and management, and fear in the workplace. This finding spawned further exploration through a series of focus groups, and measures are being developed to address these concerns.

Are the results of the most recent structured diversity and equity assessment shared with the campus community?:

A brief description of how the assessment results are shared with the campus community:

The 2013 external consultant's evaluation and benchmarking report is available here: http://equity.psu.edu/workshop/fall13-quality-advocates-session

The Fall 2014 Review of A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State is available here: http://equity.psu.edu/updates/analysis

Unit-level reviews of progress are available here: http://equity.psu.edu/updates-10-15/colleges-10-15-updates

Results of surveys conducted by Student Affairs are available here: http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/assessment/

Are the results (or a summary of the results) of the most recent structured diversity and equity assessment publicly posted?:

The diversity and equity assessment report or summary:

The website URL where the report or summary is publicly posted:
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.