WKU, UK tie for top diversity performance among state universities

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Van Meter Hall sits atop of WKU’s campus.

Makaio Smith, Staff Writer

WKU received its highest score ever in the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education’s annual diversity, equality, and inclusion report.

WKU tied with the University of Kentucky for the highest score in the CPE diversity report. Booth schools received a score of 30 out of 36.

The CPE measures all public universities and community colleges on success, opportunity and impact. Kentucky four-year institutions are evaluated on a 36-point score sheet. 

The points are based on quantitative data and qualitative narrative outlining DEI initiatives. These DEI initiatives include:

  • Recruitment and enrollment of diverse students.
  • Student progression and success.
  • Campus climate, inclusiveness and cultural competency.

These are the three main areas the CPE policy for DEI focuses on, according to the CPE website.

WKU received a 12/18 on the quantitative data and a 18/18 for the qualitative narrative. The score was announced on May 25.

WKU became the first university in Kentucky to receive approval from the CPE for the Kentucky cultural competency credential certification with the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning’s One WKU Inclusive Teaching Academy. The curriculum of the credential includes:

  • Awareness
  • Acknowledgement
  • Acceptance
  • Action 

This is a four-part framework designed to promote self-reflection and strategies for change, the CPE website said.

The teaching academy is directed by Marko Dumančić, who is also an associate professor of history. The certification was awarded on January 19.

The CITL is a four-month professional development opportunity for faculty of all ranks.

“CITL also offers an extensive array of professional development opportunities for the university community centered on teaching effectiveness, student learning and engagement, and the use and assessment of high impact practices,” according to the CITL website.

The ONE WKU Campaign is composed of Co-Chief Diversity Officers Molly Kerby and  Michael Crowe and WKU’s DEI workgroup. 

“What the DEI workgroup and the ONE WKU campaign does is work on initiatives that can increase our numbers in these areas,” Kerby said in an email. “We have countless retention programs in place (for example Intercultural Student Engagement Center (ISEC), Living Learning Communities (LLCs), the ONE Inclusive Teaching Academy, the Gateway Initiative, and many more) and will add even more as we can.”

“We have also worked on inclusive hiring practice and micro-aggression/bias training with human resources (HR)and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) the last few years,” Kerby said.

The ONE WKU campaign was launched in 2020 with the purpose of creating a welcoming and inclusive university by creating initiatives to reduce biases and shifting the culture to create an inclusive environment, ONE WKU campaign website said.

“I am always proud of WKU in the public and state arena,” Kerby said in an email. “The university has a commitment to equity and inclusion and our DEI workgroup has poured a lot of energy into actions aimed at making WKU a safe and welcoming space.”

 

Makaio Smith can be reached at [email protected]