Diversity Recommendations

This webpage contains a summary of the recommendations received in response to an invitation to the University of South Alabama community to bring forth ideas for concrete actions that can be taken to improve and strengthen diversity, inclusion and equity at the University. This webpage is limited to recommendations that have been reviewed and prioritized by the USA University Committee on Diversity to be forwarded to USA administration for potential implementation.

The ideas that were submitted cover a wide range of subjects and areas, thus the listing below is an attempt to categorize recommendations under subject headings for the ease of consideration by the University administration. The Committee considered the potential impact of the recommendations and identified areas (Faculty, Staff, Student, Community or, in some cases, “All”) that each recommendation would apply to or impact.

The document includes the following sections:

  1. Investigation
  2. University Processes and Policies
  3. Human Resources/Personnel/Training
  4. Academic Affairs and Admissions
  5. Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  6. Communications
  7. Development and Alumni Relations
  8. New Initiatives and Programs
  9. Other

 The responses of the working group of administrators appointed by the past president to consider the recommendations submitted by the University community and prioritized by the University Committee on Diversity are included below. The working group considers the responses to be a work in progress, and will continue to provide additional updates to the University community as plans are developed or actions are implemented. If you have additional suggestions or questions, please use the online feedback form.

A detailed Strategic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan is being developed by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Throughout the responses below, this plan will be referred to, as it will contain elements of many of the recommendations.

Some of the recommendations included actions that, if implemented, could violate federal laws enforced by the Equal Employment Commission. Such recommendations were not considered for implementation by the committee, but alternative suggestions that shared the goal of increasing recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, staff and students were considered instead.

 

In Progress

In Progress

Not Started

Not Started

Completed/Ongoing

Completed/Ongoing

 

▼   Investigation
Status 4/1/22 Recommendations Response Timeline

Completed

1. Make public and transparent the results and process of the investigation into the incident involving faculty of the Mitchell College of Business. (All)

Response: In order to ensure an independent and objective investigation, an attorney in private practice in Mobile was hired to serve as investigator. The name and qualifications of the investigator, Suntrease Maynard-Williams of Adams and Reese, LLP were communicated to the University after she was retained. President Tony Waldrop and Interim President John Smith both regularly updated the University community about the purpose of the investigation, its progress and the process that would be followed. Updates on this matter were emailed to the entire University community and posted to the “Messages from the President” page on the president’s office website.

Following completion of the l investigation, the investigator’s report was delivered to Academic Affairs. Section 1.5.3 Equal Opportunity/Equal Access Complaint Procedures of the 2014 Faculty Handbook describes the applicable procedure.

Completed

Completed

2. The investigation should answer and provide information on actions of University leadership after the event. Who in University leadership was informed and when? What were their responses and what factors contributed to them? (All) Response: The stated purpose of the external investigation is limited to a summation of the facts so that the University can make a determination about whether the three faculty members in the photographs from the 2014 MCOB Halloween event violated the EO/EA policy found in section 1.5.3 of the 2014 Faculty Handbook. The Board of Trustees has indicated that should the outcome of the faculty process indicate a need to investigate the handling of the matter by University administrators, it will undertake that process. Completed

In Progress

3. Protect those implicated in some issue or situation until it has been determined that they were actually wrong or violated state/University rules. (All)

Response: As stated above, in order to ensure an independent and objective investigation, an attorney in private practice in Mobile was hired to serve as investigator. Also, the affected faculty members were placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation and subsequent EO/EA process.

In addition, the University has a policy of non-retaliation. When acts of retaliation against anyone involved in an EO/EA process are reported, the reports are investigated and, if substantiated, appropriate measures are put into place.

 

In Progress

4. Consider consequences such as: termination; salary reductions if they remain employed; remedial education on racism; race-specific, semester-long courses with undergraduate students; restorative justice, having them face and answer to the people that were hurt. (All) Response: Section 1.5.3 of the 2014 Faculty Handbook allows the committee presiding over a formal proceeding to recommend consequences for violations. Several consequences are listed, but the committee is not limited to those enumerated in the policy.  
▼   University Processes and Policies
Status 4/1/22 Recommendations Response Timeline

In Progress

1. Establish a clear procedure to report instances of discrimination/racism that must be independent of existing academic hierarchy; publicize on USA One Stop website. (Faculty, Staff, Students) The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion webpage has been updated, making the first link under the home button in their navigation a direct link to the Ethics, Compliance, Bias, and Discrimination Hotline. The Office of Compliance webpage also was modified under the Ethics and Compliance Hotline dropdown as the first link (Access the Hotline). There is an Ethics and Compliance link in the footer on all University pages that takes the user to the Office of Compliance homepage.

Summer 2022
A new website for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is in development.

Increased collaboration will aid in communicating clear procedures.

In Progress

2. Make a clear and unequivocal statement that the University is anti-racist and that part of being anti-racist means calling out racist symbolism, speech, and actions. (All) The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is leading a committee that is representative of the campus community to draft a statement. The draft will be shared with various constituencies for feedback prior to being submitted to the President for final approval.

Summer 2022
Statement Committee created a draft. Revision in progress.

In progress

3. Student perception of instruction instruments should include prompts around demonstration of inclusivity. (Faculty, Staff, Students) The ad hoc Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness Committee is meeting to determine the best way to address this recommendation.

Fall 2022
Follow-up and implementation

In Progress

4. Yearly review of Americans with Disabilities Act issues. Procure specialized equipment/software/etc. that supports those with disabilities. More federal funding for ADA compliance. (All) The Office of Student Disability Services facilitates the provision of accommodations required by the ADA for students with disabilities, and Human Resources facilitates the provision of ADA accommodations for employees with disabilities. The accommodations may include specialized equipment, software, etc. Facilities Management will begin an assessment of the campus to develop priorities and funding considerations.

Spring 2022
Division of Finance and Administration completed this review. 

Summer 2022
Follow-up will include a cycle of reporting and responsible parties 

In Progress

5. Require Safe Zone training for all employees and require a refresher every 2-3 years. Resource the program to allow this. Make Safe Zone training mandatory for police. (Faculty, Staff, Students)

Safe Zone training is being developed in Canvas so employees can access and complete at any time. All employees will be afforded the opportunity to complete this training.

In addition, the University’s required annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training (see response to #1 under HR/Personnel/Training) will address the equitable treatment of all students and employees. The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is working in collaboration with the Innovation in Learning Center to develop an in-depth, five-module DEI professional development opportunity for faculty that includes appropriate practices in working with all underrepresented populations.

Summer 2022
Safe Zone Training is in review.

Spring/Summer 2022
Primer will be created in collaboration with the USA Innovation and Learning Center. 

▼   Human Resources/Personnel/Training
Status 4/1/22 Recommendations Response Timeline

In Progress

1. All current and future staff should take diversity and inclusion training that is iterative, has an expiration, and has an evaluation as part of said training. (Faculty, Staff) DEI professional development will be required. Human Resources has recommended a training module provided by United Educators/EduRisk for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which is designed for higher education. The course is available in three content specific courses: one developed for Faculty and Staff, one for supervisors and one for students (under development). The courses are set up with all accessibility features and are interactive. Implementation date: Fall 2022

Summer 2022
Edu Risk has been reviewed.
A decision will be made Summer 2022 for Fall 2022 implementation. 

In Progress

2. All administrative search committees from chair to the president level should consist of at least 33 percent persons of color. When possible, faculty of color should also sit on open faculty searches. Every search should have a diversity advocate, and that advocate may or may not be a person of color. These advocates should have extensive training in equitable hiring practices and support the search process to help to reinforce equitable decision making. Bias training for all hiring managers and faculty/administrative search committees should be required. (Faculty, Staff, Students) The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will collaborate with Administration and departments University-wide to develop a plan to help promote diversity advocates for administrative searches and structure the appropriate training for academic-related searches. Opportunities for leadership development and opportunities for growth will be identified. The future DEI Strategic Plan will include evidence-based measurable outcomes to address the impact of initiatives on representation, and recommendations for needed adjustments will be made as The United Educators/EduRisk program (see #1 above) provides DEI training for staff hiring managers.

Ongoing
Overall approach to searches will be provided to all colleges. DEI Coordinators will provide guidance and support. 

Fall 2022
New recommendations will be distributed to all search committee chairs.

In Progress

3. Require the implementation of specific strategies for recruiting diverse candidate pools that go beyond advertising strategies. Funding should be allocated for the recruitment and retention of black faculty and staff. For example, USA should develop relationships with larger universities that are producing African American students with Ph.Ds. Many large institutions have Black Graduate Student Organizations. Many students of color who are pursuing masters, professional and terminal degrees find refuge in these organizations. These programs should be targeted for recruitment visits by representatives of the University to let these students know about USA. Funds would be needed to support a select group of people to go to these institutions to aggressively recruit. This would be spearheaded by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Academic Affairs, College of Medicine. Interested students could be invited to campus by Zoom, or in person, to present on their research and the relationship can be nourished over time. Create positions like post docs, fellowships, internships, and summer programs to recruit these students to this institution. Another strategy is to identify current African American undergraduate students at USA who are performing exceptionally well and start mentoring them early by providing research opportunities to them as early as their sophomore or junior year and grant them early acceptance into our own graduate programs or make agreements to fund them at other institutions. Perhaps form a network/partnership with other universities to have an exchange program of some kind where we send students to them and they send students to us. Students accepting the agreement would agree to accept an academic position at their home institution for a period of time. (Faculty, Staff, Students) Offering special benefits to members of one race to the exclusion of others would place the University in violation of federal law. However, other strategies will be implemented to further the goal of diversifying the University’s faculty, staff and students. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will convene a team of stakeholders to address diversifying applicant pools. Short- and long-term strategies will be developed to establish collaborations with institutions and organizations, search internally for opportunities, and disseminate strategies to search committee chairs and departments.

Ongoing
Diversifying applicant pool recommendations will be revised and reviewed by the DEI Coordinators and DEI Advisory. Search committee chairs are provided a framework and consultation to increase strategies to diversify applicant pools.

In Progress

4. Look at racial and gender salary equity. Recognize that getting a significant equity salary bump is great, but employees also are smart enough to realize that the amount, multiplied by the years of being underpaid and unfair pay equates to lifelong loss of retirement funds, social security, as well as to financial security. (Faculty, Staff) Academic Affairs is undergoing an equity study to address this issue for faculty. Results will be available within Academic Year 2021-22. A plan for addressing the findings will be developed. Human Resources has processes and procedures in place to look into inequities that include protected classes.

In progress

In Progress

5. Diversity and Inclusion advocates for divisions and colleges. (Faculty, Staff) Each academic unit in the division of Academic Affairs identified a person to serve in this role. These representatives meet routinely with the chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer and serve as ambassadors for each college/school. As part of a future strategic plan, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will develop a plan for the expansion of advocates into other areas of the institution as needed.

DEI Coordinators meet monthly. Communication with faculty, staff, and students will increase through the new website and social media. Summer 2022 Additional divisions will be asked to provide a coordinator. 

In Progress

6. The University should conduct a review of student employee wages throughout the system. Student workers are valuable parts of the day-to-day functions of many University operations and their hourly wages should reflect that. We believe that students, who are already shackled by student debt, deserve better. (Students) A preliminary review of student employee wages has been conducted by Human Resources. As part of the future DEI Strategic Plan, a more in-depth analysis will be conducted and recommendations will be made for ongoing improvements in this area

Summer 2022

In Progress

7. Conduct faculty and staff salary surveys to establish baseline and fair wages for all USA employees. (Faculty, Staff) Academic Affairs is engaging in a peer institution salary study for faculty with results to be disseminated in Academic Year 2021 - 22. Human Resources conducts salary surveys for staff as requested by a department with the approval of the Dean and/or Department Head.

Spring 2022

Not Started

8. Create a mechanism for employees to review the president and vice presidents, similar to deans' annual review. Leaders then roll out their survey results and ask for insight into perceived strengths/ weaknesses. Leaders and their reports develop action plans to address identified issues. This process forms a cycle of continuous improvement for the institution. Diversity, equity and inclusion should be included in the assessment. (Faculty, Staff) The Office of Institutional Effectiveness will explore options to develop new opportunities and leverage existing mechanisms for collecting and sharing feedback as part of the University's continuous improvement process.

Ongoing
Begin the conversation with stakeholders Summer 2022. Collaborate with the Provost and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

In progress

9. Provide compensation for those who complete diversity certifications or courses and include in evaluations. (Faculty, Staff) The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will identify approaches that departments can adopt to recognize DEI contributions. Specific outcomes will be included in the future DEI Strategic Plan.

Spring 2022
Digital Certificate was created to provide evidence of completion. The current roster is being processed.

Summer 2022
DEI Coordinator Agenda

▼   Academic Affairs
Status 4/1/22 Recommendations Response Timeline

In Progress

1. A college readiness/outreach program should be put in place for disenfranchised schools in our local community. Too often, schools such as MGM, Vigor, BC Rain, Williamson, and LeFlore are left out by recruiters of South Alabama. We believe the school needs to begin outreach here in our community. (All) Over the past year, the Office of Enrollment Management has strategically committed resources and outreach aimed at enrolling more students from the schools listed, and from Mobile schools overall. The Office launched a comprehensive series of education and engagement initiatives and events for students, teachers, and administrators at these schools and has partnered with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on these efforts. The applicant pool for Fall 2021 was larger and more diverse as a result.

Spring 2022
DEI expertise across campus was collected.

Summer 2022
Asset map will be distributed. DEI Assets will be communicated and utilized. 

Not Started

2. Standardized language describing bias incident reporting should be included on syllabi. (Banner in Canvas, Bias grievance in the Lowdown, a positive affirmation of values on syllabus) (Faculty, Students) Standardized language will be developed and placed in Canvas and the Lowdown, including the weblink for incident reporting.

Summer 2022
The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will host conversations to create a common language and determine appropriate applications. 

Not Started

3. Add a general education requirement for courses with substantial emphasis on diversity and inclusion (Colleges should demonstrate and map how diversity and inclusion content is being achieved through the curriculum of the college and in each course). (Faculty, Students) To be included in the future DEI Strategic Plan, academic units will develop a list of courses that focus on DEI throughout curriculum/programs. Summer 2022
Engage colleges on the current mapping of DEI course requirements and curriculum components.

In Progress

4. Mentoring program for faculty and staff members to encourage retention of diverse groups. (Faculty, Staff)

The Faculty Senate is partnering with the New Faculty Scholars program where volunteer mentors from across campus meet with those in the New Faculty Scholar Program. Each meeting will have a speaker at the beginning, followed by an opportunity for the new faculty to meet and work with faculty mentors in a small group atmosphere. The idea is for faculty to be able to make connections in a small group setting rather than being assigned to a mentor for the entire academic year. This format was developed based upon feedback of prior participants.

In addition, the college DEI advocates will collaborate with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to determine how to best support diverse faculty at the college/school level.

Summer 2022
Determine the current status of mentoring for faculty.

In Progress

5. Increased faculty diversity corresponding to the student population. If diversity is a core value of our University, then it needs to be addressed in both the faculty population as well as the Office of Admissions. (Faculty, Staff, Students)

See #3 in HR/Personnel/Training.

Ongoing
Continue discussions and analyses.  

Strategies will be determined and communicated in the DEI strategic plan.

In Progress

6. Event for first-generation college students about admission, financial aid, college curriculum/terminology. (All)

Student Success, in collaboration with the Office of Marketing and Communications and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will develop a plan to determine the most effective ways to communicate resources such as One Stop. They will also collaborate to review USA websites to ensure clarity of resources and navigation.

Student Success will continue to collaborate with Enrollment Services to determine how to include relevant and detailed information on these topics in USA Days and Preview Days.

Student Success and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are working together to provide additional resources to first-generation students.

Ongoing
Infrastructure and capacity building are in progress to increase communication about events and expand outreach..

▼   Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Status 4/1/22 Recommendations Response Timeline

In progress

1. Difficulty in locating diversity-focused campus organizations and contact information and to understand the structure and focus of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. Students do not usually understand the administrative hierarchy of higher education — in this case, one office focuses on students and the other reports to the president but seems to do everything. Better integration of the two websites. It is easy to skip from one to the other and get lost, missing key information about campus resources and programs. Each site should maintain consistent linkages to the other. (Faculty, Staff, Students) The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, in collaboration with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, Web Services and the Office of Marketing and Communications, is in the process of developing a new website with purposeful navigation and connectivity to existing sites.

Ongoing
The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is in collaboration with the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Global USA. The new website will include links to other related resources.

In Progress

2.Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to create a racial bias reporting system. (Faculty, Staff, Students) The current bias reporting system is in the process of being linked to the appropriate sites and made more visible. After this web feature is completed, communication about how to report bias will be distributed campus-wide through multiple communication channels.

Ongoing
The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is dedicated to providing an accessible and safe reporting system on the website.  The office will communicate reporting procedures online, with DEI stakeholders, and campus-wide.

In Progress

3.On-campus center for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, NPHC, and other multicultural organizations. (Faculty, Staff, Students) The President has committed substantial funding for the renovation of the former Alumni Hall to create a Center for Multicultural Student Affairs. These renovations are in progress with plans for completion in Academic Year 2021-22. Renovations are in progress.

Not Started

4.Diversity initiatives must lead to change employees can see such as hiring and promoting African Americans and other minorities to administrative leadership positions. (Faculty, Staff, Students) The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will collaborate with Administration and departments University-wide to identify opportunities for leadership development and opportunities for growth among minority communities. The DEI Strategic Plan will include evidence-based measurable outcomes to address the impact of initiatives addressing representation and diversifying applicant pools.

Summer 2022

Not Started

5.Conduct an assessment of how the University Diversity Officer can be empowered to take action on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. (Faculty, Staff, Students) As the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is restructured and merged with Community Engagement, the role of the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer will be analyzed and expanded. Administration will work with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to review the needs, resources and the strategic plan annually. The future DEI Strategic Plan will identify opportunities to integrate DEI University-wide and develop measurable outcomes to show the level of empowerment to address DEI.

Summer 2022

▼   Communications
Status 4/1/22 Recommendations Response Timeline

Completed/Ongoing

1. University-wide "checklist" should be created for University-sponsored social media accounts. The checklist would provide additional safeguards against inappropriate and insensitive posts. (Faculty, Staff, Students) The Office of Marketing and Communications published new social media standards and best practices. These have been communicated through the Office's ongoing social media meetings with a group of more than 40 social media managers from throughout campus.

Ongoing
In addition to adopting new social media guidelines, the University has implemented social media management software for active accounts that is managed by the Office of Marketing and Communications. 

In Progress

2. Be honest and thorough in communications. If you cannot say something while an investigation is happening, or due to personnel privacy, at least say so. (All) The administration is committed to honest and thorough communication, as evidenced by the President’s frequent and regular email communications to the University community.

Ongoing

Not Started

3. Promote effective relations with the range of social media sites connected with the University such as Jag Media, Jag TV and the Vanguard to advance feature stories or relevant news focusing on diversity issues. (Faculty, Staff, Students) The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will facilitate the identification and dissemination of information and stories related to diversity, inclusion and equity. The future DEI Strategic Plan will include initiatives and frameworks that will provide appropriate communication channels and approaches to ensure inclusive, campus-wide relevant news.

Summer 2022
Collaborate with Office of Marketing and Communication

In Progress

4. University communications about racism must use accurate terminology and not racial prevarications (e.g., "symbols that are offensive" instead of "racist symbols") to attempt to diminish the severity of events. (All) Communications about events, issues or information pertaining to racism will be based on the common definitions, the DEI statement and relevant policies. Definitions and the DEI statement are in development and will be published on the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website.

Ongoing
Definitions and the DEI statement are in development and will be published on the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website.

▼   Development and Alumni Relations
Status 4/1/22 Recommendations Response Timeline

In Progress

1. Black Alumni Society requests to work with Black student groups and have a dialogue and speaker during Black Alumni Weekend. (Faculty, Staff, Students) The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will meet with the Office of Alumni Relations, Office of Multicultural Affairs and Black Alumni Society leadership regarding ways to support the Black Alumni Society. We look forward to building on the foundation of the Black Alumni Society, providing opportunities to work with current USA students, and supporting Black Alumni Weekend.

Spring 2022
USA Black Alumni Society hosted a mentoring/networking event. Ongoing

Collaboration between the Black Alumni Society, the Black Faculty Staff Association, and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will be ongoing.

▼   New Initiatives and Programs
Status 4/1/22 Recommendations Response Timeline

In Progress

1. USA should enact an ongoing seminar series to bring in high-profile expert speakers on topics of diversity, equity and inclusion. The seminars could then be followed up with round-table discussions between students, staff, faculty and administration about the implications of the seminar topic specifically at USA, and to develop plans to improve relevant policies or practices deemed discriminatory or exclusionary. (Faculty, Staff, Students)

Various units across campus have and will continue to collaborate to sponsor speakers on topics of diversity, equity and inclusion. Events will be promoted widely and through various avenues, such as email, website, Daily Digest, etc.

Some examples of upcoming events include:

  • John Quinones is the keynote speaker for the Alumni Reunion weekend scheduled for October 2021. The event is sponsored by the USA Office of Development and Alumni Relations/National Alumni Association. USA alumni, faculty, staff, students and community members are invited. Quinones is an Emmy-winning ABC news veteran and host of "What Would You Do?" Growing up in poverty in San Antonio, Quinones went on to earn a master's degree from the Columbia School of Journalism. He knows first-hand the value of education and overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve his dreams. His talk will include a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • The USA Office of Development and Alumni Relations/National Alumni Association is working with Julian and Kim MacQueen to bring speakers focused on diversity, equity and inclusion to the MacQueen Alumni Center.
  • Coastal Conversations will host several conversations throughout the year focused on diversity, equity and inclusion topics. The first one is planned for October on addressing health disparities.

Ongoing
Stakeholders across campus will 

increase collaboration for possible speakers and event opportunities.

In Progress

2. Increase representation of marginalized groups among upper administration, the leadership of USA Foundation, and entire faculty. (Faculty, Staff, Students) See #3 under HR/Personnel/Training. The recommendation will be presented to the USA Foundation as well.

Ongoing

In Progress 3. Student employee pay rate should be included in fair wage discussion. (Students) See #6 under HR/Personnel/Training

Spring 2022
Ongoing

In Progress 4. Establish a safe place to have discussions on race, invite the public to participate. (All) The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will engage with the diversity, equity and inclusion coordinators and DEI Advisory to apply evidence-based approaches to creating safety in learning, working and serving campus-wide. The DEI Strategic Plan will include themes such as race for topics on campus-wide discussions and community engagement. USA events are widely publicized to reach a broad audience through press releases and community calendars.

Ongoing
Community Conversations

DEI Strategic Plan

In progress

5. Establish a zero tolerance for race bias regarding any campus activity or forum based on recommendations from the Office of Governmental Relations. The spirit of diversity should not be suppressed on campus, students should be allowed to express views openly, peacefully, yet fearlessly. (All) The administration and Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are committed to reviewing processes related to reporting and addressing bias in the USA community. As a part of the future DEI Strategic Plan, existing processes will be analyzed to determine appropriateness and equity. Various colleges and departments on campus will provide regular opportunities for students to engage and express their views.

Ongoing
DEI Strategic Plan

Community Conversations

In progress 6. University officials to partake in additional diversity, equity and inclusion training events such as the Consortium for Faculty Diversity and NADOHE Annual Conference. (Faculty, Staff) The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will maintain a list of opportunities for diversity, equity and inclusion professional development for all members of the University community to be displayed on its website. Certain opportunities may be highlighted and disseminated through other channels, as well. The Mitchell College of Business is planning to sponsor a USA 1st Annual DEI Research Symposium. This would allow faculty to highlight diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives they are engaged in, while also providing opportunities for professional development for the campus community.

Ongoing
USA is an institutional member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education and the Alabama Association of Higher Education Diversity Officers.

Fall 2022
Education Plan will be developed for professional development. After hiring for the new position, of Diversity and Education Coordinator. 

The website will be used to communicate events to the USA community.

In Progress

7. Create a 10-year plan for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion that is accompanied by a significant increase in financial commitment from the University: a. allocate funding for new undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships for students of color; b. increase funding to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, upgrade Chief Diversity Officer position to a Vice President; c. provide support for professional development of faculty of color, including non-tenure track faculty members and institutional membership in the National Center for Faculty Diversity and Development. (Faculty, Staff, Students) The Campus to Career undergraduate scholarship program is funded by USA over the next four years. More than $250,000 per year will be utilized to provide undergraduate scholarships and provide student success services. In collaboration with the Graduate School, a graduate assistant has been hired to work in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. USA is funding the renovation of the former Alumni Hall for the new Multicultural Student Center. The Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion will convene the non-tenured faculty of color and support affinity groups campus-wide.

Ongoing
Summer 2022

DEI Strategic Plan will include short-term and long-term goals

In Progress

8. Create a Recruiting Diverse Faculty Plan and Handbook that provides a plan to support these efforts. (Faculty, Students) Diversification of applicant pools is a priority of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The future DEI Strategic Plan will include the approaches and strategies for long-term solutions, including consideration of the development of a handbook.

Summer 2022
DEI Strategic Plan

In Progress

9. Gender-inclusive housing. Other schools such as LSU and Georgia have already established housing that is accommodating to transgender and nonbinary students. We believe South Alabama has a unique opportunity to further its commitment to equality by becoming the first institution of higher education in Alabama to implement Gender-inclusive housing. (Students) The Director of USA Housing has met with student leaders from SPECTRUM, USA’s LGBTQ student organization, and discussed their ideas around how gender-inclusive housing can be incorporated into the housing philosophy at South Alabama. The student leaders are gathering information from other institutions that they would like to be considered as options and will share that information with the director of housing for further discussion and potential implementation.

Ongoing 
Student conversations are in progress., Student organization and stakeholder collaborations are in progress. 

In Progress 10. Create a confidential online "suggestion box" properly and regularly monitored by Administration such that students have the opportunity to have ideas and opinions considered or implemented. Often, having an outlet to express concerns or grievances is a means of inclusion. (Faculty, Staff, Students)

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion webpage has been updated, making the first link under the home button in their navigation a direct link to the Ethics, Compliance, Bias, and Discrimination Hotline.

The Office of Compliance webpage also was modified under the Ethics and Compliance Hotline dropdown as the first link (Access the Hotline). There is an Ethics and Compliance link in the footer on all university pages that takes the user to the Office of Compliance homepage.

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will collaborate with the academic units diversity coordinators to determine the ways to provide faculty, staff, and students the opportunity to express concerns about academic experiences.

Ongoing 
Not Started 11. Create an interdisciplinary institute; kick start by cluster hire of faculty in fields of Black/African American health, well-being, history, etc. Positions should be tenure­ track. (All) The future DEI Strategic Plan will outline a timeline for review and recommendations for this request, including, but not limited to: opportunities for specialized programs for underrepresented groups; market research for program demand and viability; resources needed; and, program approval. Academic Affairs will also collaborate with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to develop a list of programs that have an embedded diversity, equity and inclusion emphasis and make it public.

Ongoing 
Summer 2022

DEI Strategic Plan 

▼   Other
Status 4/1/22 Recommendations Response Timeline

In Progress

1. Put funds into K-12 education by creating pipeline programs. Programs similar to what occurred in the College of Education/100 Black Men Summer Enrichment program and the Center for Healthy Communities Stars and Stripes Program...Both programs provided outreach that attracted students to USA, but both were grant funded, so sustainability was problematic...Those two programs assisted in getting USA into communities that it had traditionally not been a part of as a university. Those two programs targeted students of color and many children in those programs had never been on USA's campus. Those programs exposed children to higher education and possibly planted a seed in them to one day attend. University funding would sustain programs like these because they would be of great use to the community and it would help students see themselves at USA. It would be uplifting the community as well as a true pipeline into the university. (All)

During the last year there has been a concerted effort to reach out to local school districts, and selected examples are listed below. The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee will continue exploring additional opportunities.

  • Start South is a dual enrollment opportunity through which the University provides scholarships covering half of the tuition and all of the fees for each admitted student. Concerted effort is made in collaborating with local school districts to recruit and provide access for local students.
  • Over the past year, the Office of Enrollment Management has strategically committed resources and outreach aimed at enrolling more students from our local area, including Mobile and Baldwin Counties. The Office launched a comprehensive series of education and engagement initiatives and events for students, teachers and administrators at these schools and partners with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on these efforts.
  • The 100 Black Men USA Scholars of Perseverance and Social Justice scholarship and the Leadership in Social Justice and Perseverance Scholarship are newly established scholarship opportunities that target underrepresented students in the Mobile community.

Ongoing
Summer 2022

DEI Strategic Plan 

Not Started

2. Use data for plans and actions. Have financial rewards. Campus awards for DEI activities and programs. (Faculty, Staff, Students) The Office of Institutional Effectiveness and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will lead efforts to continue to gather and analyze data for the purpose of strategic planning. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee will explore opportunities for additional awards and programs.

Ongoing 

Summer 2022
DEI Strategic Plan

Not Started

3. Have a staff diversity representative or ambassador who either attends or has the ability to address the Faculty Senate regarding relevant concerns. (Faculty, Staff) This recommendation will be shared with the Faculty Senate president. In addition, there is a proposal for the establishment of a Staff Senate that will be submitted to the new president.

Ongoing

In Progress

4. Question the paradigm of implementing change via institutional directives, and instead foster an organic, roots-oriented movement so that change happens within the University community. There are means to do this ranging from group discussions, mentor programs, etc. (All) USA’s future DEI Statement and future DEI Strategic Plan will focus on developing a culture of acceptance and inclusivity for all of the University community.

Ongoing
Summer 2022

DEI Strategic Plan