CSU, Chico News

Diversity Priority Added to University Strategic Plan

Date: 05-11-2016

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico has added a new priority to its strategic plan that emphasizes the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion for the University.

CSU, Chico’s Strategic Plan for the Future (PDF) is the document that expresses the mission, vision, values and goals of the institution.

“Believing in the importance of diversity as central to the values of the University and the education of its students,” the new priority states, “we will continue to develop and enhance programs, policies and activities to create and sustain a welcoming and inclusive learning and working environment for all.”

Drafted by the University Diversity Council last year, the priority has been reviewed by a number of campus committees and individuals, including the Associated Students Government Affairs Committee, Staff Council, University Chairs Council, Student Affairs directors, deans and the University Cabinet. The Academic Senate approved the priority at its April 21, 2016 meeting.

“The enthusiastic response and broad campus support for strengthening our Strategic Plan with a specific priority on diversity and inclusion is both gratifying and affirming,” said CSU, Chico President Paul Zingg. “This action recognizes an already impressive commitment to such matters on our campus, but it will compel us to accomplish even more. This is an important development that underscores the relationship between diversity and quality.”

First written in 1995 during CSU, Chico President Manual Esteban’s tenure, the Strategic Plan for the Future has been amended three times since Zingg took office. In addition to the new diversity priority, priorities on sustainability and environmental literacy and civic engagement were added in 2006 and 2015, respectively.

University actions to be taken related to the new priority are

  • Increase university outreach and access for underrepresented and diverse student groups, especially from our service region

  • Improve the success of students from underrepresented populations

  • Ensure that curricular and co-curricular programs foster diversity, equity, and inclusion competencies and engagement with the issues

  • Engage and support faculty, staff and student scholarship, creativity and research on diversity

  • Develop a shared understanding of “inclusive excellence” and what it means to be a Hispanic-Serving Institution

  • Develop, implement and regularly assess policies, programs, activities and funding mechanisms that create and sustain a welcoming and inclusive campus climate

  • Increase diversity in faculty, staff and administration at all levels of the University

  • Design and implement a system of recognition and accountability for increasing campus diversity and fostering a welcoming and inclusive learning and working environment

“This priority will further illustrate our commitment to fostering a Chico State campus that strives to support equity and inclusion for all members of our University, for now and future generations,” said Tray Robinson, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “It also provides a measure of accountability for this important work that must be done.”

University achievements in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion include

  • Recently being cited by The Education Trust as one of 52 universities making progress improving graduation rates for African-American students and narrowing the graduation gap between white students and underrepresented students

  • Repeatedly being named a top school for U.S. veterans by the “Military Advanced Education Guide to Colleges & Universities” and other publications

  • Achieving official Hispanic-Serving Institution status and qualifying to apply for federal grants

  • Signing Memoranda of Understanding with the Mechoopda Tribal Community establishing shared values as well as protocols for communication and construction on campus

  • Ranking third nationally among master’s level universities for the number of yearlong study abroad participants

  • Increasing the diversity of the student body, as reflected in the percentage of freshmen of color entering the University, which has increased from 21.5 percent 10 years ago to 57.9 percent last fall

  • Expanding services for underserved students, as evidenced by the CSU Action Research Grant that led to the hiring of an academic advisor dedicated to low-income, first-generation students