Penn State Launches Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging Dashboard

Penn State has launched a new platform to track recent trends in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) across University Park and all Commonwealth Campuses. 

The new DEIB dashboard launched on February 26 and uses a statistical approach to share information about diversity throughout the university on a public level. The dashboard can be filtered by campus and includes information on ethnicity distributions across undergraduate enrollment and graduation rates. Faculty and staff composition can be broken down by education level and seniority at their position.

As of right now, data is limited to ethnicity/race distributions. However, the Office of Planning, Assessment, and Institutional Research (OPAIR) noted that the current dashboard is serving as a starting point. In the future, Penn State hopes to add classifications such as LGBTQ+ identity and disability status. 

A quick sweep of the dashboard shows that both four and six-year graduation rates are significantly lower for both Black or African American and Hispanic or Latino populations. 

Looking at professors, as seniority increases, diversity decreases. In the role of tenure-line assistant professors in the fall of 2022, 45% of faculty members were white. Moving to the highest seniority position, tenure-line professors, that number jumps to 71%.

Executive and administrative positions within the university appear to have input from people across a variety of backgrounds. The much larger group of nearly 14,000 people dubbed “staff” is, however, overwhelmingly white. The 2022 statistics cite that only 17% of university staff are from diverse backgrounds.

The dashboard’s launch comes on the heels of President Neeli Bendapudi’s announcement detailing her visions and goals for the university. Bendapudi’s plan describes a focus on the data-driven evaluation of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Jennifer Hamer, the special adviser for institutional equity at Penn State, is helping to fulfill these goals by evaluating the DEIB programs that already exist across all campuses and figuring out what can be improved.

A town hall will be held later in March with Bendapudi and other university leaders to discuss the DEIB dashboard and other specific goals that fall under the umbrella of fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Details will be announced at a later date.

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About the Author

Haylee Yocum

Haylee is a 2024 graduate of Penn State with a degree in immunology and infectious disease. She relocated to Williamsport but will not be taking any questions about what’s next in her career. Haylee continues to be fueled by dangerous amounts of caffeine and dreams of smashing the patriarchy. Any questions or discussion about Taylor Swift’s best songs can be directed to @hayleeq8 on Twitter if you must.

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