The 2014 University of Kentucky’s work of assessing its own diversity performance was evaluated by the Kentucky Council for Postsecondary Education (CPE) in March 2015 and all six objectives were determined to have been met. This evaluation is based on CPE Kentucky Public Postsecondary Education Diversity Policy and Framework for Institution Diversity Plan Development.
The Kentucky Public Postsecondary Education Diversity Policy focuses on four areas: student body diversity, student success, workforce diversity, and campus climate. In March, Terry Allen presented a set of slides to the CPE Committee on Equal Opportunities that described the work UK faculty, staff and students have done to meet the University’s goals for achieving a greater diversity and educational excellence. (Download the .pdf file of the presentation slides by clicking the thumbnail image above – you can download the full report from UK here.)
Student Body Diversity
As part of his presentation to the CPE’s Committee on Equal Opportunities, Terry Allen emphasized several historic firsts for student body diversity in UK history. First of all, the Fall 2014 student enrollment was up and students of color (specifically, African American / Black, Hispanic / Latino, and those who identified themselves as “two or more races”) matriculated at an all-time high within an historic total enrollment of over thirty thousand total students:
- 30,131 total student enrollment; 22,274 total undergraduate students
- 20,977 In-state; 9,154 Out-of-state
- 27,342 Full-time; 2,789 Part-time
- 3,113 Underrepresented minority students
- 1,997 Black or African American students
- 1,033 Hispanic or Latino students
- 772 Two or more races
UK met its target improvement rate for enrollment of African American / Black students (7.7% increase from 2011-12 to 2013-14); and, we exceeded the projected target of 2.7% increase of Hispanic / Latino undergraduate enrollment by achieving at 3.3% increase by 2013-14. This is the result of much work by staff, faculty and students across campus, including expanded recruitment efforts toward underrepresented students, the application fee waiver through the Veterans Resource Center, the development of a new Scholarship Search Tool, the continued success of the First Scholars Program and several new college readiness workshops/programming offered by colleges and support units.
In addition to the recruitment and first-time, first-year enrollment of a more diverse student body, the University seeks to improve its retention rates for underrepresented minorities. In this category, we have slipped in retention rates for African American / Black undergraduates – especially during and after the sophomore year. Meanwhile, retention rates for Hispanic / Latino students improve over time at UK – if we can hold on to them in their first year.
Looking specifically at the key performance metrics for African American / Black students as well as Hispanic / Latino students, the University has not met its proposed targets of 59.2% graduation rates. Even though there are more bachelor’s degrees awarded than ever before, by not retaining our first-year, first-time degreeseeking students our student success rates suffer overall.
The number of transfer students coming in from the Kentucky Community & Technical College System has increased slightly in the past few years from 608 total transfers in 2011-12 to 658 total transfers in 2013-14. However, the sharp increase in African American / Black students transferring in to UK – primarily from Bluegrass Community and Technical College where we have a UK transfer advisor located half-time, explains the growth in degrees earned by this demographic population recently.
For the past two years, UK faculty have consistently exceeded the University’s goals for the percentage of underrepresented minorities: reaching over 19% in both 2012 and 2013 academic years though the target goal was 15.8%. However the overall percentage of tenured African American faculty has decreased from 47.8% in 2010 to 44.2% in 2013 – while faculty of all minority groups (including women) has increased dramatically from 40.5% in 2010 to 59.6% in 2013.
This crucially important task of increasing the number of people of color in University leadership has not been as successful in other parts of the UK workforce. Diversity in the professional staff ranks has not significantly changed over the past two years (though exceeding the University’s goal of 9.1%). And, more significantly for those in the Executive/Administrative/Managerial ranks where discussions of administrative regulations and policy depend on a diversity of experience and background in order to improve the University overall, we have not met our modest goal of reaching 12.1%. In fact, the University dropped from 40 individuals in this rank to 39 (only 7.3% of this rank are categorized as members of any minority groups).
The University relies on the Equal Opportunity Committee – Campus Environment Team to monitor plans and programs that ensure equal opportunity. They recommend new processes to assist the University community especially in facilitating the development and implementation of diversity perspectives. Some examples from the last two years include the Latino Task Force, the LGBT Task Force, the Black Male Student Success Initiative, the creation of a Women’s Leadership and Career Development Task Force, a review of USDA Civil Rights Compliance and participation in a Fraternity and Sorority Diversity initiative. Many colleges work specifically on addressing issues of diversity and campus climate, and several of these were listed in Terry Allen’s presentation to the CPE’s EEO Committee in March (click on image above for the list of diversity initiatives from selected colleges).
The above data and accompanying narrative provide a brief snapshot of the health of the University. It also illustrates UK’s continued interest in the educational benefit of diversity. Every year more work needs to be done in terms of intentionality in improving the University’s diversity goals — removing barriers to student success, seeking out representatives of demographic groups not present in leadership areas or decision-making meetings, insisting on civil and respectful dialog that constructs a more inviting place for us all to learn together.
Kentucky statute states that an institution’s eligibility for new academic programs is connected to its performance in implementing equal opportunity objectives. See more information about credentials earned by race and ethnicity can be found in the CPE Data Portal.
By achieving continuous progress in 6 of 6 objectives, UK has “Automatic” eligibility status to submit requests for new academic programs during 2015 calendar year.