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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 67.81
Liaison Kelly Wellman
Submission Date Dec. 6, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Texas A&M University
PA-5: Assessing Diversity and Equity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Jennifer Reyes
Vice President & Associate Provost for Diversity
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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:

The annual unit-level accountability reports, first submitted in 2010, and every year since, provide quantitative and qualitative measures of comparisons to peer institutions; institutional and unit-level campus climate findings; recruiting and retention efforts; and equity issues (salary, resources, training, etc.). The unit-level accountability reports are the primary source of data for assessing institutional progress on diversity-related goals. The accountability reports are reviewed by the Council on Climate and Diversity (CCD), an advisory council that reports to the university president, and staff from the Office for Diversity. Office for Diversity’s Accountability Scale. To quantify institutional progress on the University Diversity Plan goals, Office for Diversity staff implemented a scale to assess the integration of diversity-related goals in administrative and academic units. The scale was developed using the values and standards described in the university’s strategic plan, a review of institutional change literature, and practices that emerged from the accountability reports themselves. The scale was intentionally designed to provide and assess the institution’s progress towards realizing a culture of respect for diversity:
Scale: 1 = Implements strategies without engaging data; 2 = Links strategies to data and/or measures; 3 = Implements strategies with institutional and/or community collaboration; and 4 = Shares impact of strategies in scholarship, conferences, publications

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:

From 2011 through 2016, the following trends show the increase of diversity-related activities since the University Diversity Plan was implemented in 2010.

• Activities addressing campus climate issues and recruiting have governed wide attention among the various units while retention and equity have not.

• While the number of activities has increased over the years and across the dimensions, the level of integration has increased too: however, on average, the units are not usually engaging data and linking their strategies to measurable outcomes.

In summary, the accountability scale provided the Office for Diversity a measure for quantifying progress towards fulfilling the goals of the University Diversity Plan. Using the scale confirmed the anecdotal sentiment that while there is a lot of activity on campus regarding diversity-related strategies, the level of impact, and integration may be superficial. Finally, recommendations from the CCD and the findings from the Office for Diversity report were consistent in many respects, specifically the limited use of data and measures.

Strategies from the unit-level accountability reports from both the academic and support units provide some examples of different units approached undergraduate and graduate student recruiting and retention:

• The College of Architecture held Camp Arch, a summer program; 10 targeted high school students received scholarships to attend the camp. One current freshman comes from this cohort; three of the five senior campers have been admitted to the college, and these applicants are being advised to ensure the completion of their applications.

• The Division of Academic Affairs developed a partnership with the Posse Foundation, an organization that identifies, recruits, and trains youth with exceptional leadership and academic potential and sends them to select institutions of higher education in multicultural teams.

• In 2013, the College of Engineering had over 611 first year engineering students residing in the Engineering Living and Learning Community (ELLC). The students in the ELLC program obtained 81% first year retention overall, 76% for women, and 78% for Hispanic and African American students.

• The Baylor College of Dentistry (BCD), of the Health Sciences Center, received a $3.4 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers of Excellence program to advance student and faculty diversity. By linking with the Dallas Independent School District, three undergraduate institutions, and community-based entities, this program strengthens and expands efforts to enhance academic performance of URM dental students at BCD.

• The College of Medicine (COM) also has multiple pipeline programs that serve students from historically underrepresented backgrounds. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recently funded a $150,000 grant to create a program called the Aggie Doctor Initiative which creates two new pipeline programs for Black and Hispanic students from TAMU into the COM (as well as a pre-matriculation program discussed under retention).

Equity - Faculty Salary Studies
Since 2012, the Office of the Dean of Faculties and the ADVANCE Center have sponsored annual faculty salary studies. The purpose of the studies are to determine salary differences between male and female tenured/tenure-track faculty. Variables such as rank/title, age, race/ethnicity, and years of service are included in the studies. The salary equity studies have been used to determine “whether or not there were any systematic differences by race/ethnicity or national origin, and to identify individuals whose actual salaries were unusually high or unusually low, given the predictions of the salary model” (Taylor & Froyd, 2015).

While several colleges and departments reported making salary equity adjustments, understanding how the salary equity studies are being used by academic colleges and departments is complicated by merit raises and other issues. To better understand the prevalence of how the salary equity studies are being used, further assessment should be conducted by contacting departments and asking specific questions about how they are using the findings of the faculty salary studies.

To provide evidence of the institution’s progress towards creating a culture of respect for diversity, it is necessary to integrate the qualitative data from the accountability reports with the institutional data, survey research, and peer-comparison data.

Each unit is asked to compare their race/ethnic and gender composition, by department, to regional and/or aspirational peer institutions. In general, while the Texas A&M units reported performing as well as or better than peer institutions, overall the numbers of historically underrepresented groups are consistently low across the peer institutions. Anecdotally, the prevailing sentiment has become: We might be doing better than the others, but everyone is doing poorly at obtaining a campus community representative of the communities we serve.

Peer Comparisons: To obtain a more sophisticated understanding of the systemic challenges shared by institutions of higher education, we recommend elevating the unit-level peer comparisons beyond demographic information. For example:

At the department-level: Soliciting ideas from peers about responding to in-class incidents of prejudice or intolerance, discrimination; and identifying student, faculty, and staff recruiting and retention strategies.

At the institution-level: Reviewing campus climate surveys and how results are being used at peer institutions; collecting incidents of prejudice or intolerance, and the institutional response at peer institutions; and explore the assessments of sexual violence and strategies for reducing violence on campuses.

Research & Assessment: In addition to elevating the peer comparison work beyond demographics, we need to challenge the units to elevate their diversity work and assessment to scholarly research publications and conference presentations. For example:

Faculty equity salary studies: While many of the units reported adjusting salaries to address salary inequities, further research could focus on how to understand how the results of the studies are used across the institution.

DIVERSITY MATTERS Seed Grant program: A second round of the grant program is planned for 2016-2017. Proposals are invited from faculty, students or staff for creative research initiatives that seek to accelerate progress in achieving equity in representation and professional recognition of under-represented groups at Texas A&M University. Through these research efforts, we hope to foster and provide insight into discussions and debates about diversity in institutions of higher education at large.
Assessing the Longitudinal Impact of the 2010 University Diversity Plan: The University Diversity Plan was launched in 2010 has been in place for 10 years this year. How do we know that we are making meaningful, substantive changes in establishing a working and learning environment that fully recognizes, values, and integrates diversity in pursuit of academic excellence?
Campus Climate
Characteristics of the campus climate are influential in student, faculty, and staff recruitment and retention. Therefore, units need to continuously engage and reflect on campus climate data within their units as well as the overall institution. Many of the recommendations, strategies, and activities call for “diversity training,” sometimes mandatory, for students, faculty, and staff. The topics of the trainings need to encompass: Historical and societal context of racism and anti-racism; bystander Intervention training; freedom of speech/expression, academic freedom; and difficult dialogues, mediation, and conflict resolution.
Texas A&M’s commitment to diversity and core values was referenced when reporting incidents at odds with the Texas A&M’s goals and Core Values. Furthermore, the campus incidents reported reflect concerns, and maybe confusion, whether an inclusive campus that values diversity can also protect academic freedom, expressive activities, religious freedom, and free speech. We need to address the apparent confusion on campus regarding that the complex issues of free speech, expressive activities, academic freedom, and freedom of religion are incongruent with institutional values and a community of respect.
The 2015 Accountability Reports provided evidence that the colleges and divisions are making remarkable progress in addressing equity. For example, units are exploring equity issues that impact students, faculty, and staff. Furthermore, the units extended strategies and actions beyond salary to address hiring, access to resources, and promotion. However, expanding equity beyond concerns over salary does not dismiss the importance of exploring the impact of compensation on recruiting, retention, and campus climate.

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:

On April 20, 2017, the ADVANCE Center hosted “Engaging the Data: Are we ADVANCE-ing?” in MSC’s Bethancourt Ballroom. Key findings from the TAMU ADVANCE Program, related Social Science Studies, and the 2015 Faculty Climate Survey were shared with approximately 125 administrators, faculty, and staff from across campus. Below are the presentations and posters from the event. https://advance.tamu.edu/2016-faculty-data-event-presentations-and-posters/

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.