I. Current status of inclusion and diversity
InclusiveVT (prepared by Inclusion Coordinators)
The launch, growth, and visioning of InclusiveVT through an evolving structure and participatory process were the primary accomplishments this year. Virginia Tech embraced a decentralized model for achieving its goal of having a more inclusive and diverse campus known as InclusiveVT. Adopted by President Sands based on the unanimous recommendation of the Task Force on Inclusive Excellence, Inclusive VT is a model that creates active, intentional engagement of Virginia Tech communities and includes all efforts and activities that advance inclusion. InclusiveVT upholds the Principles of Community developed in 2005 and the Strong Together movement initiated in 2010.
President Sands announced the formation of InclusiveVT on June 30, 2014: “This new organizational model is simply a scaffold; success in distinguishing Virginia Tech as the exemplar for the modern land-grant research university will only come with the efforts of every student, staff and faculty member to advance a bold and reinvigorated inclusion agenda,” he said. “A commitment to inclusion as an integral and inseparable element of institutional excellence is a requisite characteristic for attracting talent, for assembling world-class research teams, and for fulfilling our engagement mission.”
Virginia Tech launched InclusiveVT with a public forum on September 29, 2014. The forum included comments from President Sands, the Senior Vice President and Provost Mark McNamee, and other university representatives. All members of the campus community were invited to discuss the university’s commitments to inclusion and diversity, and provide input into the evolving organizational structure. The format was round table discussions soliciting information and guidance regarding successful existing inclusion and diversity efforts and how the community can build upon those efforts.
Through a participatory process, over 350 people in 28 small groups named their top priorities for achieving inclusive excellence. The approximately 600 comments were summarized and also catalogued in full by Virginia Tech’s four dimensions of Inclusive Excellence: Access and Success, Institutional Infrastructure, Campus Climate and Intergroup Relations, and Education and Scholarship. As with other public meeting documents and InclusiveVT initiatives and reports, and from the commitment to transparency and accountability that characterizes InclusiveVT, these were made available online.
The structure of InclusiveVT, including the appointed President’s Inclusion and Diversity Executive Council (PIDEC), the Inclusion Coordinators, and the Advisory Community was announced at the forum. The President’s Inclusion and Diversity Executive Council provides leadership, collaboration, guidance, support, and council, and identifies best practices to ensure University progress in advancing inclusion and diversity efforts. The Executive Council is a representation of senior leadership at Virginia Tech who made a commitment to the InclusiveVT framework by providing oversight on initiatives that will enhance the four dimensions of Inclusive Excellence. PIDEC members are individually and collectively held accountable for the university efforts toward a more inclusive Virginia Tech. The council supports the university’s vision and framework for inclusion and diversity and oversees accountability for achieving strategic goals.
The six Inclusion Coordinators were selected based on their complementary areas of expertise and representation of different campus units: Undergraduate Education, Graduate Education, Human Resources, Student Affairs, the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, and Outreach and International Affairs. They are cross-cutting collaborators, interpreters, liaisons, a response team, proactive information seekers, and conduits for the Virginia Tech community. They form an ear-to-the-ground group that helps to inform, support, and promote the efforts around InclusiveVT. The Inclusion Coordinators consult with the President’s Inclusion and Diversity Executive Council members to ensure that the Advisory Community is engaged in the initiatives process.
The Advisory Community is comprised of members both within and outside the Virginia Tech community to provide feedback on diversity efforts. Additionally, an Advisory Group consisting of Caucus leaders, student representatives, and a CEOD representative was formed after the forum. PIDEC met several times throughout the year, while the Inclusion Coordinators met bi-monthly, and monthly with the Advisory Group. The Advisory Group also met regularly with the Interim Vice Provost for Inclusion and Diversity. In the coming year, the Advisory Group will meet once per semester with PIDEC as well as monthly with the Inclusion Coordinators. The purpose of these meetings is to collaborate on initiatives, offer updates about community concerns, and identify resources for the needs of the communities.
Leaders throughout the university were called to submit initiatives to address in the first year of InclusiveVT. The ensuing 87 initiatives were guided by the suggestions offered at the forum held in September. Progress reports on these 87 Initiatives became available for public review in May 2015. The President’s Executive Council welcomed feedback on the progress report, in particular, looking for themes that emerged, opportunities for cross-campus collaboration, and areas of concerns or gaps in the current initiatives that should be considered for future action.
Over the summer of 2015, senior leaders met with Dr. Karen DePauw, Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education and project leader of the InclusiveVT initiatives, to review current initiatives and progress made, as well as discuss suggestions for the future. “Through this process, we should be able to identify collaborative projects and gap areas in which we can implement new efforts and maximize efficiency in our use of resources,” DePauw said.
Another accomplishment this year was the creation of the position of Senior Advisor to the President and Vice Provost for Inclusion and Diversity. This person will conceptualize and operationalize the university’s inclusion and diversity mission, leading the conversation across campus and identifying opportunities to improve campus climate and engage the community around issues of diversity and inclusion. They will be operating within an exciting new decentralized framework created to enable Virginia Tech to become a national leader in the integration of inclusion and diversity efforts into the regular functions of a university. Inclusion Coordinators helped draft the job description and participated in focus groups led by the consulting firm brought in to lead the search for talent. They also participated in the search for a new Provost, contributing to the job description and meeting with candidates during campus visits.
In addition to the above, InclusiveVT carried out several activities to engage the campus community, culminating in a second Advisory Community event on April 3rd also attended by the President and Provost. This meeting was open to all but targeted students in particular because few had been able to attend the previous meeting. In small groups, participants discussed and responded to the question President Sands asked at the kick-off public forum in the fall: “What would InclusiveVT look like if we were successful beyond our wildest dream?” Participants considered this question from the perspective of one year, three, and ten years. In addition, a film on inclusion and diversity at Virginia Tech produced by students in a Sociology class was screened. The meeting culminated in an open mic session with participants presenting results from their small groups, including questions to the President, who in turn took the mic to respond.
Inclusion Coordinators participated in a series of other events on campus and programs that enhance the inclusion and diversity agenda on campus. The Division of Student Affairs organized the “Let’s Talk” forum held in December aimed at giving students an opportunity to directly address senior administrators about campus climate given the national conversations on racial injustice. Over 300 students attended this session.
The Coordinators also helped organize and facilitate AdvanceVT’s annual Advancing Diversity Conference in January, including sessions on Unconscious Bias, Recruitment, Scholarship and Pedagogy, and Mentoring.
Significant effort was put into addressing race and racism, including assisting with undergraduate and graduate student events in the wake of a host of racially incited incidents throughout the United States. The Inclusion Coordinators organized a showing of the movie “Dear White People” and facilitated post-show discussion sessions for students and faculty. PIDEC members were encouraged to attend the movie and stay for the discussions that followed. Dialogues began between administrators and students about bringing a guest speaker to campus to help facilitate a discussion about race in the fall semester of 2016. This InclusiveVT event will consist of a public talk, a panel discussion, and meetings with smaller groups on campus.
InclusiveVT drafted a communication plan and launched several components. The plan will leverage and promote a decentralized concept of Inclusion and Diversity across Virginia Tech’s campus. The goals are to take a proactive approach promoting InclusiveVT and its initiatives, to be transparent, and to communicate all events and activities surrounding inclusion and diversity in the university. This communication plan will draw information from all the areas that are represented by the Vice Presidents and Deans on the President’s Inclusion and Diversity Executive Council. Communication paths include: an InclusiveVT Twitter Account; VT Daily News; Campus Notices; Campus Calendar; InclusiveVT Website Features; InclusiveVT Newsletters, and Print Publications. The Inclusive VT Website features news and events of interest with contact information to the Inclusion Coordinators and reports and notes from the forums.
Undergraduate and graduate students were actively engaged with InclusiveVT through forums, small group discussions, participation in university-wide events, social media, activism and climate. The graduate student community was engaged in forums at two InclusiveVT Graduate School events with breakout sessions and a group discussion with the Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education. From the forums, small groups were formed for the Graduate Intergroup Dialogue and InclusiveVT strategic planning. As a response to national incidents, community concern, and protests taking place over the last few years, many graduate students exercised agency to probe and ignite the university leadership and community to realize our principles of community and engage student concerns. Graduate students also hosted community-building events and facilitated spaces that allowed community members to grieve, dialogue, and process personal and community trauma. In response to and support of the more inclusive climate being created, the Graduate Student Assembly responded by forming a working group comprised of graduate students of diverse background and experiences to serve as delegates to the Graduate School for InclusiveVT matters. The student community will continue to be an active, engaged, and important part of the InclusiveVT framework.
Vice Provost for Inclusion and Diversity (see VPID-report-9-14-15 )(prepared by D. Travis)
Many activities were undertaken by the Interim Vice Provost for Inclusion and Diversity during 2014-15 while the InclusiveVT was being launched and the search began for the Vice Provost for Inclusion and Diversity. These are summarized below in alignment with the Inclusive Excellence framework (for more detail, see full report ):
Access and Success – Activities that support recruiting and retention for faculty, staff, and students.
• Supported the development of the International, Asian, and Native American faculty / staff caucuses by obtaining contact lists and sharing information on governance procedures.
• Collaborated with students from underrepresented groups to develop a pilot student-led focus group process for defining and visioning inclusion.
• Compiled data from Institutional Research for reports on faculty/staff/student recruitment and retention for the Black, Hispanic & Latino, Native American, International, and Asian faculty/staff caucuses.
• Provided an overview of InclusiveVT and other inclusion and diversity programs at new faculty orientation, BOV Academic Affairs Council meetings, Provost’s Academic Affairs Council, President’s Inclusion and Diversity Executive Committee, and alumni events.
Campus Climate and Intergroup Relations – Projects to assess campus climate and identify strategies for improvement.
• Provided data analysis and co-authored the Graduate Climate Survey report with the Office of Graduate Recruiting and Diversity Initiatives.
• Collaborated with the LGBT Faculty/Staff Caucus, Human Resources, and the Center for Survey Research to analyze the data from the LGBTQ Employee Climate Survey.
• Conducted analysis of the Employee Climate Survey, the Consortium Profile of the Undergraduate Student Experience, and the First year and Senior surveys to assess feedback and trends on diversity and inclusion.
• Participated in and supported numerous student and organizational inclusion and diversity related events to hear concerns and to build and strengthen relationships with campus constituencies.
Education and Scholarship – Efforts to integrate inclusion and diversity into the scholarly life of university.
• Conducted a preliminary analysis of student enrollment in diversity related academic courses, majors, and minors.
• Reviewed information with representatives from the Vice President of Research office to conduct preliminary analysis of diversity related federal grants.
• Provided consultation and support to the Director of Diversity Education and Initiatives on developing an Inclusive Pedagogy training series.
• Served as a committee member with graduate and undergraduate students and representatives from the Intercultural Engagement Center, the Office of Graduate Recruitment and Diversity Initiatives, and the office of Student Advocacy to bring speaker Tim Wise to Virginia Tech.
Institutional Infrastructure – Initiatives that underpin long-term institutional change.
• Convened meetings of caucus leaders to seek their input into InclusiveVT and facilitate the formation of the InclusiveVT Advisory Group.
• Produced an inventory of Virginia Tech inclusion and diversity related programs.
• Conducted qualitative research on feedback from approximately 400 participants at the September 29 InclusiveVT forum to produce the InclusiveVT: Past, Present, Future report. Participant feedback was compared and combined with other university planning documents to identify ongoing inclusion and diversity concerns.
• Compiled information for the annual HEED (Higher Education Excellence in Diversity) award, a 40 question survey covering multiple aspects of institutional diversity. Virginia Tech is the 2015 recipient of the HEED Award, along with 8 SCHEV peers and the University of Virginia.
• Secured and provided over $25,000 in support for campus events, awards, publications, and activities.
• Engaged with University Development and Alumni Relations to strengthen relationships with alumni and prospective donors. Made presentations to alumni groups and responded to individual inquiries about ways to support inclusion and diversity.
• Established three InclusiveVT initiatives: communications plan, assessment plan, and diversity dashboards.
• Promoted and distributed the re-affirmed Principles of Community to all departments and classrooms on campus.
In addition to these efforts, the Vice Provost identified some priorities and plans for 2015-16 as follows:
• Collaborate with the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs to analyze faculty retention and turnover.
• Assess and research the Graduate Diversity Scholar program to be considered as a model educational practice.
• Raise the profile of diversity related scholarship through funding and communications.
• Promote education, awareness, and translation of the Principles of Community among international faculty, students, and staff.
• Continue support for and engagement with caucuses and CEOD in inclusion and diversity issues.
• Increase education and awareness of processes for reporting acts of discrimination and harassment.
• Conduct ongoing research for the Diversity Strategic Plan to monitor progress towards inclusion and diversity goals.
The caucuses play a significant role in advancing inclusion and diversity at Virginia Tech. Some have a long history and others have been more recently developed. As of Fall 2015, the list in alphabetical order includes: American Indian caucus, Asian and Asian American caucus, Black and African American caucus, Disability alliance and caucus, Hispanic and Latino caucus, LGBTQ caucus, International caucus and Veterans caucus. A summary of caucus activities for 2014-2015, plans for the upcoming year and selected demographic data (more complete data are provided in Facts and Figures ) are included in the narrative that follows.
American Indian Caucus (prepared by Samuel R. Cook and Barbara Lockee; American Indian Diversity and Inclusion Report 2015)
The American Indian community at Virginia Tech has historically been reliant on the American Indian Studies program for both outreach and campus programming. While funding and logistical support has come from multicultural affairs during American Indian Heritage Month, campus programming and outreach to tribes have become necessarily interrelated and intertwined with two major initiatives:
1) The Virginia Indian Nations Summit on Higher Education (VINSHE)—an annual gathering of university faculty, students, engagement officers, and representatives from Virginia’s 11 state-recognized tribes. Since 2004, UVA has been a partner in this initiative, which strives to determine how our institutions can both serve tribal communities through recruitment and through other outreach and research initiatives.
2) The Virginia Indian Pre-College Outreach Initiative (VIPCOI) – a mentoring program for Virginia Indian youth in grades 8-12 designed to treat education as a holistic endeavor. While this has been a viable college recruitment tool we strive to include community knowledge keepers—notably, elders—so that the youth will realize the legitimacy of their own culture and inherent knowledge, and apply their education to community capacity-building.
Accordingly, all of our major public events during the past academic year were orchestrated in conjunction with these events as follows:
1) 1491s—an American Indian comedy team, visited campus in November 2014 and provided the feature event for American Indian Heritage Month. During their visit, they spent the day conducting an informal “day camp” for American Indian youth and their families as a fall visitation activity for VIPCOI.
2) Spring Pow wow at UVA—as part of our VIPCOI partnership with that institution, we supported youth activities for this event and sent representatives to answer questions pertaining to Virginia Tech.
3) Lecture by Dr. Henrietta Mann, president of Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College, and Southern Cheyenne Sundance Elder. Dr. Mann is widely regarded as the “Mother of modern Indian education,” and agreed to provide a keynote address for VINSHE.
4) Establishment of a chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicano/Hispanic and Native Americans in Science (SACHNAS). This prominent organization will bolster positive national and international notoriety for our university and will open a multitude of opportunities for students.
Initiatives for Present Academic Year
1) Feature event around Native American Author Sherman Alexie. Alexie will be at Virginia Tech on November 4 for a reading at the Center for the Arts. We are organizing a VIPCOI visitation and dialogue between Alexie and Virginia Indian youth. We are also curating a visual display on Virginia Indians at the Center for the Arts during Alexie’s visit.
2) Feature event with former American Indian Movement leader Dennis Banks. We have a unique opportunity to bring Mr. Banks to campus in October during the first half of American Indian Heritage Month. Mr. Banks’ experiences as an activist, coupled with his contemporary initiatives to promote food sovereignty and sustainability in indigenous communities, will provide a timely motivating force as we seek to grow our student organizations and programs.
3) Restructuring VINSHE. We are cooperating with UVA and tribal organizations in the state to reorganize VINSHE as a tribally-controlled summit. We hope to hold the 2016 summit in a location central to all tribes, such as Virginia Tech’s Richmond center.
4) Work with VT administration and student support networks to establish a uniform strategy for American Indian recruitment, retention, and outreach. This includes hosting a regular forum to educate faculty on indigenous issues (how to teach about American Indians, how to establish research or other relationships with indigenous communities, and so forth), and creating spaces on campus where American Indians are comfortable.
5) Direct more intensive focus on American Indian student, faculty, and staff recruitment and retention. Given Virginia Tech’s status as a Land Grant and Research One institution, this should be a self-evident goal.
The number of students identifying as American Indian/Alaskan Native has varied from a high of 99 undergraduate and graduate students in 2007 to a current low of 41 students in 2014-15. American Indian/Alaskan Natives currently comprise 0.2% of the undergraduate population and 0.1% of the graduate population.
In 2014-15, there were 3,860 full-time faculty at Virginia Tech. Of these, 8 (0.2%) were American Indian/Alaskan Native. The breakdown of faculty type is as follows:
2014-15 Virginia Tech Faculty All Races/Ethnicities Number of American Indian/Alaskan Native Percentage of American Indian/Alaskan Native
Full professors (tenured) 573 1 0.2%
Associate professors (tenured) 513 3 0.6%
Assistant professors (tenure track) 338 2 0.6%
Non-tenure track instructional 341 0 0.0%
Research 688 1 0.1%
Administration/Professional 1407 1 0.1%
In 2014-15, there were 3.467 full time staff at Virginia Tech. Of these, 12 (0.3%) were American Indian/Alaskan Native. This number has ranged with a high in 2002 of 20 to its current low of 12.
Asian/Asian American Caucus for Virginia Tech Faculty and Staff (prepared by Jennifer Sano-Franchini; Asian report)
Over the past year, the caucus has participated with the Black Caucus, Hispanic and Latino Faculty and Staff Caucus, and LGBT Caucus to provide input with regards to the search for a new Vice Provost for Inclusion and Diversity. The inaugural Asian/Asian American Caucus for Virginia Tech Faculty and Staff meeting took place on Friday, September 11, 2015, with 13 members in attendance. Our Google Group email list has grown to include 51 subscribers.
This coming year, we will be collectively developing our mission, goals, and priorities. Among topics under discussion include those pertaining to recruitment, retention, and equity; curriculum; leadership; building connections for interdisciplinary Asian/Asian American research; and alumni engagement. We will be working to build partnerships with Virginia Tech and community organizations, such as the Asian American Student Union and the Multicultural Alumni Advisory Board. We will also conduct a survey to gain a fuller sense of the experiences and concerns of Asian/Asian American faculty and staff at Virginia Tech. Findings will be compiled in a report, expected June 2016.
We are an inclusive group and welcome all Virginia Tech faculty and staff who identify as Asian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and mixed-race Asian, as well as those who do not self-identify with any of these groups but who do scholarship on–or are interested in issues relevant to–Asians, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and mixed-race Asians.
Black and African American caucus (prepared by G. Scales; Black caucus 9-15)
The university’s InclusiveVT initiative was at the center of caucus activities for the academic year 2014-2015, and the Black Caucus was an advocate for re-establishing a vice president for diversity and inclusion position. Regarding InclusiveVT, the Black Caucus accomplished the following:
• Advocated for a senior-level position for diversity and inclusion. This position was advertised in spring, 2015, and candidates are currently being interviewed.
• Provided guidance in crafting the job description for the senior-level position
• Received representation on the senior advisor search committee
• Advocated for the retention of David Travis as Interim VP for Inclusion and Diversity.
• Attended all InclusiveVT open forums
In addition to the InclusiveVT activities, the Black Caucus also accomplished the following:
• Launched a campus teach-in program to provide an opportunity for black faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students to have intellectual discussions outside the classroom and to promote a sense of community through shared intellectual experiences
• Represented the Black Caucus at a host of campus events as invited panelists or guest speakers
• Held a focus group to discuss recruitment and retention strategies
• Supported several student organization campus events with attendance and donations
• Attended several meetings with President Sands and other fellow caucuses to discuss VT’s campus climate
The Black Caucus set the following priorities for 20-15-2016:
• Increasing caucus membership
• Strengthening the caucus’ relationship with alumni
• Working with the new VPID to increase recruitment and retention efforts for black faculty, staff, and students
Black employees and students at Virginia Tech by the numbers
In 2014-15, there were 3,860 full time faculty at Virginia Tech. Of these, 156 (4.0%) were Black/African American. The breakdown according to employment category is as follows:
 Virginia Tech Institutional Research and Effectiveness. (2014). Full-time Faculty by Ethnicity & Rank within Faculty Type. (Includes all full-time faculty, both regular & restricted appointments. Excludes faculty on leave without pay.) Retrieved from: http://www.ir.vt.edu/work_we_do/demo_enroll/facultyStaff_file_folder/faculty_diversity_ethnicity_09302014_ALL.xlsx.
Since 2002, the number of Black/African American Administrative/Professional faculty has grown from 73 to 99 individuals, while other groups have overall remained the same/similar: Tenured/Tenure Track Instructional (2002:41; 2014:39); Non-Tenure Track Instructional (2002:7; 2014:8); and Research (2002:11; 2014:10).
There were 3,467 full time staff in 2014-15. Of these, 139 (4.0%) were Black/African American. Since 2002, this number ranged from a high of 196 (5.1% of total staff) in 2008 to its current low.
Unless otherwise noted, this report uses the National Center for Education Statistics definitions for race and ethnicity: The Black (NH) Variable combines the new race/ethnicity category Black or African American – A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa – and the old race/ethnicity category Black non-Hispanic – A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa (except those of Hispanic origin). Unless otherwise noted, all data sources utilize this definition for Black / African American.
In 2013-14, 21.8% of all high school graduates and 15.9% (3,719) of all enrollees in four year public colleges and universities were Black/African American. Among Virginia’s 15 four year public institutions, Virginia Tech enrolled 164 of these students and 46 out of state students. The institutions enrolling the largest numbers of in state Black/African American students are Old Dominion University (828), Virginia State (588), Virginia Commonwealth University (509), Norfolk State (374), and Radford University (299) .
At Virginia Tech, Black/African Americans comprised 3.6% of undergraduate students and 5.2% of graduate students in 2014-15. While the number of students identifying as Black/African American has declined since 2002, the number of students identifying as Black/African American plus another race/ethnicity has grown. This identification only became an option at Virginia Tech in 2009.
Since 2002, the graduation rate of Virginia Tech’s Black/African American students has grown from a lot of 63.8 to 75.2% . The average for Virginia four year public colleges and universities is 62.0% . Comparing available data from cohorts entering college in 2006, the University of Virginia had the highest 6 year graduation rate for Black African American students (85.7%), and Virginia Tech was 5th highest (70.7%)7.
Alumni: There are about 7,451 living African American and Black Virginia Tech alumni.
Black / African American Continuation and Cumulative Graduation Percentages
Disability Alliance and Caucus (prepared by A. Shew; Disability alliance and Caucus Spring 2015)
Founded in Spring 2015, the Disability Caucus has big plans for the future. The Disability Caucus consists of faculty, staff, and graduate students who identify as disabled or as allies; it has been organized alongside a student-led Disability Alliance composed of undergraduate students. The Disability Caucus recognizes the diversity of disability itself and seeks inclusion of people with all sorts of disabilities (invisible, hidden, and visible; congenital and acquired; permanent, temporary, and intermittent; learning, physical, developmental, psychiatric, intellectual, congenital, illness-related, and potentially more), though we recognize that disability is itself a social, environmental, and cultural category.
The Disability Caucus recognizes that attitudinal stigmas and architectural barriers often discourage the full participation of disabled people in society. We, as an organization, seek to advocate for disability pride, to promote awareness of ableism and negative stereotypes of disabled people so that they may be recognized and avoided, and to promote the participation of disabled people in our community.
Partnered with the Disability Alliance and Intercultural Engagement Center, we are set to host a Welcome Event for Students with Disabilities on August 31st. We will also be having regular meetings (with the Disability Alliance) at 3pm on the second Sunday of each month during the 2015-2015 academic year. We are co-sponsoring three speakers this academic year on topics related to the American with Disabilities Act (celebrating 25 years).
Hispanic and Latino Caucus (prepared by María del Carmen Caña Jiménez Vinodh Venkatesh; Hispanic Caucus Inclusion and Diversity Report – 2015)
Throughout the year, the Hispanic and Latino Caucus was active in a number of ongoing initiatives for 2014-2015. These include the following:
• Gesta Latina – graduation and achievement ceremony for Hispanic/Latino graduates.
• Latino Lecture Series – symposium organized around research presentations by Hispanic/Latino graduate and undergraduate students.
• Caucus leadership has taken an active role in the advisory community for Inclusive VT.
• Caucus leadership has joined other caucus groups at Virginia Tech to form a Caucus Coalition that has formed a common agenda that represents our diverse constituents.
• Mentored TechDREAMERS, a student organization that represents and advocates for DREAMER students at the university, state, and national level.
• The Caucus worked closely with Virginia Tech Libraries to secure an American Library Association / National Endowment for the Humanities Grant on Latino Americans. This competitive grant provides screening rights for a documentary on Latino history and contributions to the United States, and includes funding for different programming ideas that are in place for academic year 2015-16.
• Caucus members attended several conferences for professional development, including the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities conference, and the Latin American Studies Association conference.
• Caucus leadership established first steps towards creating a Faculty Fellow in Residence Program in IEC.
• Identify Hispanic/Latino faculty, staff, graduate students, and allies at Virginia Tech and encourage their participation in the Caucus.
• Mentoring: Create tangible networks of mentoring among different members of the Caucus. Create a system of assigned mentors for all new members to the community. Mentoring should also extend to the Latino graduate student community.
• Retention: Ensure that VT provides a competitive package and benefits for all Caucus members. Ensure that issues of salary equity for current members is at the forefront of any retention efforts made by the university.
• Space: Work towards the creation of a dedicated Center for Hispanic/Latino Affairs, which has been part of the InclusiveVT conversation.
• Endowed Chair: Work towards creating an endowed chair in Hispanic/Latino Studies.
• Academic: Work towards the implementation and development of a Latino American Studies program, which starts with a Pathways Minor.
• Faculty Fellow in Residence Program in IEC: Work with the Division of Student Affairs and the Provost towards the establishment of a faculty fellow or post doctoral fellowship in IEC.
o 102 (2.6%) faculty of Hispanic origin.
o Since 2002, the number of Hispanic faculty has grown from a low of 34 total in 2003 to its current high of 102 faculty. The greatest gains have been made among tenured and tenure-track faculty, from a low of 21 in 2003 to 55 currently.
o 35 (1.0%) staff of Hispanic origin.
o Since 2002, this number ranged from a low of 14 (0.4%) in 2003 to its current high.
o In 2013-14, 9.2% (7,513) of all Virginia high school graduates and 7.0% (1,719) of all Virginia enrollees in four-year public colleges and universities were Hispanic.
o In 2014-15, Hispanics comprised 5.3% of undergraduate students and 3.3% of graduate and professional students at Virginia Tech.
o Since 2003, the graduation (in 6 years) rate of Virginia Tech Hispanic students has grown from a low of 73% to a current rate of 81.8% for students entering in the cohort of 2008. This number is still below the high of 82.2% from 2002.
o Virginia Tech ranks 5th in the state for graduation rates for Hispanics. The University of Mary Washington leads all institutions with a 100% rate.
International Caucus for Virginia Tech Faculty and Staff (prepared by Amer Fayad)
The purpose of the International Caucus for Virginia Tech Faculty and Staff is to serve as an advocacy and support group for faculty and staff at Virginia Tech who identify as international, do work pertinent to international communities, and/or are interested in participating in conversations relevant to those who identify as international and those who do work pertinent to international communities. The caucus functions as a liaison to the university community on issues relevant to international faculty and staff, international scholars, international students, international research and education, and is committed to supporting Virginia Tech’s “serving the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world community”.
Over the past year, the caucus has participated with the Asian/Asian American Caucus, the Black Caucus, the Hispanic and Latino Faculty and Staff Caucus, and the LGBT Caucus, and in meetings with the president, the provost, and the inclusion coordinators regarding Inclusive VT, and providing input on the search for the Senior Advisor and Vice Provost for Inclusion and Diversity. The inaugural International Caucus for Virginia Tech Faculty and Staff meeting took place on Friday, October 2, 2015, with 7 members in attendance and 58 total expressing interests in attending future meetings.
This coming year, we will be collectively developing our mission, goals, and priorities.
LGBTQ Caucus (prepared by Chad Mandala and Amanda Morris; Inclusion and Diversity Report – LGBT Caucus)
The caucus has long struggled with a lack of demographics for advocacy based on statistics. However, it is important to realize that the reason these statistics are not readily available is that the Virginia Tech climate is such that not all members of the LGBTQ community (faculty, staff, and students) feel comfortable self-identifying even on an anonymous survey. From the LGBTQ Climate Survey (vide infra), we had 12% of respondents self-identify as LGBTQ.
• Gender Identity and Gender Expression added to Principles of Community – With the addition of Gender Identity and Gender Expression to the university’s nondiscrimination statement in the spring 2014 semester, a push arose to add these categories to the Principles of Community. Thanks to a partnership with senior leadership at Virginia Tech, these items were added with the reaffirmation of the Principles of Community that occurred in September 2014.
• Gay in Appalachia – “Revelations,” a live theatrical presentation written and produced by folklorist Carrie Nobel Kline, was performed by members of the community. The theatrical reading weaves a dozen oral histories into an artistic tapestry portraying the resiliency of the LGBT Appalachian community. Carrie and Michael Kline devoted six days in creative residency, discussing their oral history projects with several classes. The event dovetailed with Virginia Tech’s own oral history project. University Archivist Tamara Kennelly is teaming with David Cline, assistant professor of history, who is training graduate and undergraduate students this semester to conduct and collect oral histories “to document the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer life in the 20th century American South and specifically at Virginia Tech.”
• Lavender Graduation – Lavender graduation was help on Thursday, May 14th in the Squires Old Dominion Ballroom. This year we honored 9 graduates at the ceremony. The keynote address was given by Cordel Faulk, political science alumnus and former member of Virginia Tech’s Board of visitors. In addition, due to her long support and advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community at Virginia Tech, the Ally of the Year award was given to Jo Ann Underwood and renamed in her honor.
• Results of LGBTQ Climate Survey – The quantitative and qualitative responses from the 2014 LGBTQ Climate Survey have been analyzed. The Executive Summary, set to be released September 2015, is provided as an addendum to this report. It should be noted the survey was collected prior to marriage equality and a follow-up survey is needed (see 2015-2016 initiatives). In brief, 1475 individuals took the survey; of these, 177 individuals identified as LGBTQ. Overall, LGBTQ individuals are significantly less satisfied than heterosexuals with the overall climate at Virginia Tech. They feel more isolated, and are less likely than heterosexuals to agree that there are sufficient opportunities for socialization, or that they feel they belong at Virginia Tech. Key action items that resulted from the survey were (1) more educational opportunities that reach broader audiences, (2) greater leadership from upper administration, (3) the creation of a dedicated space for LGBTQ faculty, staff, and students to feel comfortable, welcome, and supported is desperately needed.
• LGBTQ Resource Center – The Caucus leadership embarked on a campaign to secure support and funding for an LGBTQ Resource Center.
• InclusiveVT – Caucus leadership has been an active participant in InclusiveVT through the advisory committee and meetings with inclusion coordinators and members of PIDEC.
• LGBTQ Resource Center – With the LGBTQ Climate survey results fully analyzed, the need for a dedicated LGBTQ resource center at VT is evident. Caucus leadership will continue efforts to gain support and funding for this endeavor through InclusiveVT and meetings with upper administration. A proposal outlining the vision for and services offered by such a center has been crafted and submitted in consideration for next steps with this process.
• Brown Bag Lunch Discussion Series – In partnership with the Office of Faculty Affairs, the caucus is planning a brown bag discussion series on the results from the climate survey. The discussion series will rotate between Colleges and be facilitated by allies within those academic units. This is one initiative formed to address the need for greater educational opportunities.
• Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion – The caucus leadership has taken an active role in the search process for the new position.
• LGBTQ Climate Survey #2 – With the first round survey results analyzed, the caucus is actively re-tooling the climate survey to gain more insight in areas of interest. We plan to launch the second iteration of the survey in spring 2016.
• Gay in Appalachia – This year will mark the last Gay in Appalachia to be organized by Jean Elliot. The event will take place on October 8th at the lyric and will feature a Broadway sing-a-long.
Veterans Caucus (prepared by Christopher St Jean; Veterans Caucus Report 2015 31 Aug)
Hal Irvin, AVP HR, brought together an initial working group in April 7, 2015 to discuss the possibility of establishing a Veterans Caucus at Virginia Tech. The group agreed that there was enough interest in the initiative to meet again on May 18 and July 28, 2015 to explore the establishment of a Veterans Caucus at VT. At the July 28th meeting the working group voted to establish the Virginia Tech Veterans Caucus (VTVC) and began writing the constitution.
Recognizing Veterans are an important part of the Virginia Tech culture, history and community, the purpose of the Veterans Caucus is to improve the working, learning, and living environment for employee and student veterans; advocate for the mentoring of and transitional support for veterans returning to work and/or school and recommend actions to improve the recruitment and retention of employee and student veterans.
The initial membership of the VT Veterans Caucus currently consists of twelve members. Ten have military experience ranging from four years to thirty years of military service. Two of the members bring extensive civilian organizational and higher education experience to the group. The twelve volunteer members of the Veterans Caucus have experience in multiple areas across the university including research, academics, undergraduate admissions, student affairs, administration, policy and personnel.
Since its establishment on July 28, 2015 the VTVC has:
• Influenced positive changes in Undergraduate Admissions by receiving approval to waive the application fee for Veteran undergrad applicants
• Implemented Banner tracking of children of active duty military attending VT
• Implemented Banner tracking of new Veterans Choice Act benefits for Out-of-State military family members attending VT
• Established Veteran Liaison point of contact in Undergraduate Admissions
• Finalized and approved the constitution
• Established Veterans Caucus contact email VTVC@vt.edu
• Reached out to TX A&M to discuss their successful Veterans program
• Received initial funding by HR and VP Admin of $5K
• Established Freshman/Transfer student Admissions baseline data
• Provided initial input to Inclusion and Diversity Report -2015
• Establish and prioritize 2015-2016 VTVC goals
• Website development
• Outreach events: Military Appreciation Game.Sept 12th; Veterans in Society Conference Nov. 12-14;
Commission on equal opportunity and diversity (CEOD) (J. Nardine, Chair; CEOD contribution to I&D report 2015)
The highlight of CEOD’s 2014-15 activities was the creation and presentation of two resolutions which were passed by University Council and the Board of Visitors. The first resolution revised CEOD’s charge to reflect current campus activities and goals, and to make it more readable. The second resolution affirmed CEOD place as a governance body and clarified its position within the InclusiveVT structure.
CEOD also began research on two projects which will continue in 2015-16. The first project, addressing commission membership, has several sub-projects, the primary of which are: the definition of caucus as it pertains to holding an official CEOD seat, ways to increase student involvement in CEOD, and evaluation of the current constituency for possible changes.
The second project is the continuing investigation into the annual equity and diversity report which CEOD requested from President Sands’ office this past spring. We will be consulting with the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, and the producers of the Campus Climate Survey, to evaluate which of their data might be reused for CEODs purposes and where there are still gaps in desired information.
Internally, CEOD will also be documenting some of its processes to facilitate easier year-to-year transitions and to eliminate unnecessary re-invention of those processes. CEOD recommends continued communication and collaboration with the Inclusion Coordinators to facilitate a campus-level continuity of information and activity.
To keep reading the report and move to Section II Facts and Figures, click here.