Students walk through the Arches May 5, 2017.

May Update on the Action Plan to Combat Racism

Diversity, equity and inclusion work by students, faculty and staff has continued across campus this spring semester, bringing to life the university’s commitments in the Action Plan to Combat Racism. Since the March 6 Town Hall event, many more things have solidified; below you will find a list of some of the major updates within each area of the Action Plan.

A continually updated list also can be seen anytime by St. Thomas community members on the President's OneStThomas page.

Send a clear message about our convictions

  • A new bias and hate incident reporting link has been launched and prominently displayed on the Dean of Students Office website and One St. Thomas. The website link provides clear definitions of bias and hate incidents and provides an easy way to report incidents. It also clarifies what happens once an incident is reported.
  • This report to the community provides information about reports of bias incidents that were made to Public Safety or through the online reporting system between Jan. 1, 2019, and May 15, 2019.
  • Marketing, Insights and Communications (MIC) has created a Representing Diversity With Integrity committee, which has articulated a diversity conviction and guidelines across "mindset and culture," "representing diversity," and "image use." One of the committee’s efforts is also to monitor and use a feedback form, which is available in OneStThomas for community members to provide thoughts and feedback on any and all materials created by MIC.

Support and stand with our students of color

  • As we implement a residency requirement on campus, staff are tasked with ensuring that all students, especially under-represented students, are provided an equitable opportunity to live on campus and financial barriers to doing so are minimized.
  • A request for proposal is being drafted to choose an outside expert to conduct an assessment of our campus climate.
  • Finalists for the new position of AVP for Inclusive Excellence are on campus this week. The new hire, who will start this summer, will strategically develop a vision and effective strategy that champions diversity, equity and inclusion. The person who fills this role will report directly to President Sullivan.
  • Annual universitywide goals and strategies will be developed by the AVP for Inclusive Excellence to bring together various constituencies across the university. Tapping into a broad array of existing university resources, the AVP for Inclusive Excellence also will engage faculty, staff and students to build a welcoming and inclusive culture at St. Thomas.
  • The AVP for Inclusive Excellence will coordinate the implementation of President Sullivan’s Action Plan to Combat Racism designed to activate the university and infuse inclusive practices across the institution.

Teach, research and live inclusive excellence

  • This semester, great efforts have been made to enhance opportunities for dialogue and education on campus about inclusion. Every staff manager on campus was required to attend a two-hour anti-bias training session this semester with outside facilitator Abdul Omari. Many staff departments went above and beyond to offer additional dialogue opportunities about bias, diversity and inclusion, for employees.
  • The Center for Faculty Development facilitated anti-bias dialogues, led by experts, with every academic department.
  • Thomas has contracted with to provide an online diversity and inclusion session for incoming students in the fall of 2019. Students will view the online module over the summer and attend facilitated sessions to learn more and debrief at Welcome Days.
  • Academic Affairs is working on a diversity and inclusion faculty training plan that will include ways to support and train faculty in the short term and long term on diversity and inclusion.
  • To further efforts related to the Action Plan to Combat Racism, the Center for Faculty Development has appointed two faculty members to serve as Faculty Fellows for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the 2019-20 academic year. Nakeisha Lewis and Bryana French will develop programming related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) during the coming year and work with departments and groups to strengthen work in this area.
  • St. Thomas launched the Center on Race, Leadership and Social Justice at the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

Become a more diverse university

St. Thomas will welcome its most diverse class of students in fall 2019. We continue to enhance admissions efforts to attract students from all backgrounds.

In efforts toward recruiting and retaining diverse employees, updates include:

  • Encouraging hiring officials to post all jobs externally
  • Search committee kickoff includes training on diversity and inclusion
  • Sourcing for diversity and analyzing pools before interviews
  • Minimum of one diversity-related question in interviews
  • Reviewing job profiles for non-inclusive wording
  • Urging caution with search committees around the notion of “fit”
  • Redesigning ustjobs page
  • Developing training on writing inclusive job profiles
  • “Post-mortem” on a recent hire to identify points at which bias enters the search process
  • Five mandatory Managers’ Forums on Recognizing & Responding to Bias – 250 in attendance
  • Revamping Affinity Groups
  • Piloting blind resume screening in ITS
  • Networking opportunities for employees and alumni of color
    • Human Resources staff attended the People of Color Job fair in April '19
  • Conducted staff of color focus group on retention
  • Implemented applicant experience survey post every search
  • Developing “badging” rewards system for DEI series in Human Resources' Leadership Academy
  • Developing online training for staff and faculty to be implemented in the fall
  • Sending five new facilitators to Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED) training
  • Graduating the first SEED cohort of 15
  • Forming second SEED cohort

DEI-related committees have formed in the following colleges and departments:

  • Enrollment Management
  • Opus College of Business
  • Marketing, Insights and Communications
  • University Development and Alumni Relations

Ongoing development opportunities are occurring in:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Education
  • Information Technology Services
  • Athletics
  • Public Safety
  • Student Affairs
  • School of Law