Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fact Sheet 2020
Leadership Commitment, Action and Progress
Last updated: Aug. 27, 2020
Saint Joseph’s mission statement is grounded in inclusivity: As Philadelphia’s Jesuit Catholic University, Saint Joseph’s provides a rigorous, student-centered education rooted in the liberal arts. We prepare students for personal excellence, professional success, and engaged citizenship. Striving to be an inclusive and diverse community that educates and cares for the whole person, we encourage and model a lifelong commitment to thinking critically, making ethical decisions, pursuing social justice, and finding God in all things.
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a strategic and mission-driven priority. Grounded in our Jesuit teachings, it provides a welcoming, inclusive and enriching campus culture; prepares our students and community members for a diverse, global and interconnected world; and aligns with our values and intellectual tradition of encouraging diversity of thought and experience, and advocating for social justice in its many forms.
DEI is a cross-cutting pillar of our strategic plan, Thinking Anew, Acting Anew, and is infused throughout our goals and objectives from hiring and training to recruitment and retention, across all academic programs, extracurricular offerings and beyond. According to the plan: “The University will offer a continuum of diverse opportunities for intellectual and spiritual growth, along with personal development extending well beyond the classroom.” Specific highlights and objectives included in the plan:
- Increase levels of academic rigor through re-energized organizational structures and relationships, promoting inclusive excellence as a distinctive element of our Jesuit educational mission, identifying key resource investments, addressing great societal challenges such as sustainability, and pursuing strategic alliances and partnerships.
- Ensure the highest standards of pedagogy and inclusive excellence through increased support of the Office of Teaching and Learning.
- Commit to an inclusive excellence framework with policies, services and programs to assist students in understanding diversity and to aid SJU faculty and staff in supporting all students.
- Create and enhance systemic, interrelational approaches to diversity, inclusion and wellness education for all students, especially through peer-to-peer efforts.
- Develop creative new pathways to expose students to a broader range of experiences and perspectives.
- Encourage additional campus and civic engagement opportunities in order to build leaders and prepare students to address structural inequity.
- Create a culture and structures encouraging student reflection, discernment and self-awareness.
- Emphasize the unique Jesuit identity of the institution and our values — to promote the full human formation of students.
Saint Joseph’s opened a Center for Inclusion and Diversity in the heart of the Campion Student Center in 2016. The Center is a welcoming space for all students and houses the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, which comprises student inclusion and diversity, international students and scholars, inclusion and diversity access programs, and the Women’s Center.
Also, in 2016, President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., commissioned a presidential advisory council on inclusion and diversity. This group of students, faculty, staff and administrators appointed by the president were tasked with advising University leaders on critical issues, coordinating inclusion initiatives and evaluating and tracking campus climate. As part of its work, this Council completed an initial Inclusive Excellence Blueprint in 2019.
The University appointed its inaugural Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer in 2016 and, in 2020, welcomed Nicole Stokes, Ph.D., a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion, into a newly expanded and elevated leadership role, Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
In February 2020, the University hosted an institution-wide Day of Dialogue to educate the entire campus community and provide opportunities for meaningful conversation on a wide variety of issues, including structural racism, inclusive vocabulary and learning differences.
In June 2020, the University hosted a virtual forum, rooted in prayer and reflection, to come together following the death of Minneapolis’ George Floyd, and hosted an Unlimited Learning continuing education webinar on structural inequality. Additionally, the University issued a statement denouncing racial violence and inequality in our society, joined an equity commitment with the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, and participated in national acknowledgments of racial injustice.
The University has made concerted efforts to increase diversity and under-representation among its leadership, faculty/staff and student populations. For example, the University’s leadership team is composed of more than 50 percent women and includes diversity of race, ethnicity, religion and professional background. Faculty of color has increased from 13.4 percent in 2012 to 18.1 percent in 2019. Among students, 16.8 percent of the Class of 2019 included students of color; 20.4 percent for the Class of 2023. PELL-eligible students increased from 11.8 percent to 13.1 percent over the same time period. Notably, 24 percent of the Class of 2024 includes students of color.
In 2018, University leadership partnered with one of the foremost firms on campus climate to conduct a University-wide climate study to provide baseline data on diversity and inclusion, and to use the findings to help guide more policies and practices at Saint Joseph’s. Findings were consistent with those found in higher education institutions across the country, with 75 percent of Saint Joseph’s respondents indicated that they were “very comfortable” or “comfortable” with the climate at Saint Joseph’s University. Increasing a sense of belonging for all on campus, as well as improving retention of faculty and staff were identified areas for improvement and opportunity.
The Center for Inclusion and Diversity, the Provost's Advisory Council on Inclusion and Diversity, the Racial Bias Task Force and other campus partners have developed progress reports, action plans and ambitious goals to lead the University forward on diversity, equity and inclusion. These updates can be found on the University’s diversity progress page.
Policies and Practices
The University has several policies and practices in place that encourage a welcoming and inclusive community and that set clear expectations for conduct.
A Diverse and Inclusive Student Community
The Center for Inclusion and Diversity serves as a bridge of support for students of color and LGBTQIA+ students and is central to rooting students to the campus community, creating leaders that are aware of who they are and the value they bring to the university.
Residence Life was successful in its efforts to increase the diversity of Residence Assistants from 18 percent in 2018 to 33 percent in 2019.
Approximately one-fifth of each of the Classes of 2022 and 2023 are composed of students of color and 24 percent of the Class of 2024.
Women’s Leadership Initiative, a student-led campus organization, helps female students develop professionally while also combating social gender issues within our campus and the surrounding communities.
Inclusion and Diversity Educational Achievement (IDEA) offers an early arrival program, Running Start, that begins with a four-day “pre-orientation” and continues throughout the year to support diverse first-year students. In keeping with the University’s commitment to inclusion and diversity, the program enhances students' sense of belonging and prepares them for success. In addition, as part of the fall 2020 early-arrival program, SJU Reads is incorporating selected readings from The 1619 Project, conversations with activists and field trips to examine the role of racism in our country.
The Student Senate spearheaded a #BeCivil campaign to encourage healthy and productive dialogue about differences on campus, and the student government, the Black Student Union and other student groups were instrumental in providing insights to the Racial Bias Task Force and holding other fora in the 2018-2019 academic year.
Additionally, we consider all of our students Hawks for life, and have therefore are developing a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council for Alumni to engage our diverse alumni.
A Diverse and Inclusive Faculty and Employee Community
Standardized DEI training for faculty and staff job searches ensures fair and equitable hiring. The training is conducted by the Center for Inclusion and Diversity in partnership with the Office of Human Resources and outlines clear strategies for drafting a position description that is inclusive and clear, diversifying the applicant pool and addressing implicit bias throughout the hiring process.
The Office of Teaching and Learning sponsors faculty-focused programs and promotes teaching workshops in which faculty reflect on their pedagogy and learn from the experience and diversity of expertise of colleagues.
Teaching is at the core of what faculty do to help our students become men and women with and for others. In the SJU Climate Study, 82 percent of student respondents “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that they felt valued by faculty at the University.
Over the last three years, 27 percent of new tenure-track positions have been filled by faculty of color.
Learning and Scholarship
Saint Joseph’s University offers a number of courses of study that celebrate diversity including Asian studies, Chinese language and culture, gender studies, faith-justice studies, Latinx and Latin American studies.
The University offers a variety of “diversity” certified courses. These courses are essential to our curriculum and, more broadly, our mission-based commitment to diversity and inclusion. The University is assessing the curriculum to ensure each student takes at least one of these courses to help foster a greater understanding of diversity and a more inclusive campus community.
A new diversity, equity and belonging concentration in Saint Joseph’s organization leadership and development and criminal justice master’s degree programs has been introduced, and a new initiative to increase participation of underrepresented populations in the insurance industry is launching.
Across disciplines, faculty research addresses diverse and inclusive topics, or they teach courses incorporating these important topics. A sampling includes:
- Susan Liebell, Ph.D., associate professor of political science, is exploring the connection between gun violence and domestic violence, particularly looking to find out more about how guns affect women in particular.
- Diversity in the Workplace is a course requirement in the Managing Human Capital major in the Haub School of Business. This course aims to increase students’ awareness of workforce diversity as both a challenge and opportunity for contemporary managers.
- Mike Angelina, executive director of the Maguire Academy of Insurance and Risk Management, conducted four years of research focusing on the need for more women leaders in the insurance field.
- Teacher quality and the black-white achievement gap has been a topic of exploration for Aubrey Wang, Ph.D., professor of educational leadership. Her co-authored case studies have been widely cited and she has researched effective practices in urban schools as well as factors for educational success in language learning.
- Aisha Lockridge, Ph.D., associate professor of English, published a monograph Tipping on a Tightrope: Divas in African American Literature, that traces the trajectory of the Diva figure in African American literature. She is currently working on a book-length project about the transformation of the Magical Negress figure in Black literature and popular culture.
- Eric Patton, Ph.D., chair and professor of management, published a paper, “Autism, Attributions and Accommodations: Overcoming Barriers and Integrating a Neurodiverse Workforce,” in the journal Personnel Review.
A Community of Belonging
Student-run affinity organizations advised by the Center for Inclusion and Diversity host more than 100 events, meetings and programs during each academic year. Student groups include the Caribbean Student Association, Asian Student Association, Black Student Union, Bridging the Gap, Higher Destination Choir, International Student Association, Latinx Student Association, SJUPride, Student Interfaith Organization, Women’s Leadership Initiative and Advancement in Diversity STEM.
There are 40 all-gender restrooms on campus.
The Career Development Center has published an Inclusion Resource Guide, which includes information on employers who want to offer their time and resources in support of inclusion and diversity initiatives on campus. These employers are committed to recruiting a diverse workforce that is supported in an inclusive work environment.
Safe Zone Trainings, aimed at creating allies to the LGBTQIA+ members of the campus community, have been offered to faculty, staff and students since 2001. More than 500 people have been trained.
FACTUALITY, an interactive board game where players encounter barriers or benefits based on their unique intersection of race, gender and sexual orientation, was part of freshman orientation for the Class of 2023.
Hundreds of faculty and staff, the SJU leadership team and the Board of Trustees have also participated in this training.
Preventing Harm Through Bystander Intervention is a session that addresses concepts and skills to help all members of our community step in to help prevent potential moments of harm on our campus. It explores the perception vs. the reality of college life and provides techniques to intervene in situations involving substance use, bias-related incidents, relationship issues, sexual misconduct and mental health concerns.
Beyond its campus, Saint Joseph’s regularly partners with neighboring schools and civic and faith-based institutions to enrich community engagement. For example, in 2019, the Center for Inclusion and Diversity held its Annual ICC Summer Enrichment program for high school students.