Progress as of August 23, 2001

May 2, 2001


Africana Studies Research Center
The University supports the establishment of an Africana Studies Research Center, effective with the 2001-02 academic year, at a base funding level consistent with other research centers at Penn State. A financial commitment of $900,000 for the initial five-year period will be provided. This will consist of $150,000 in funding in the first year to establish an infrastructure for the Institute, followed by annual amounts of $175,000, $175,000, $200,000, and $200,000 for the next four years respectively. Any funds not expended in any fiscal year may be carried forward into the next budget year. Specific research projects and proposals will be determined by participating faculty and students will be involved in these projects. Additional funding to meet matching requirements for externally funded research grants and contracts will also be made available.

- In addition to the above commitments that the University is making, we will work with the Legislative Black Caucus to obtain additional Commonwealth support for the Center.

- The University will work collaboratively with the Department of African-African American Studies and the Africana Studies Research Center to build endowment and other philanthropic support for the Center.

- The center will involve faculty and students from across the University.

- There will be an advisory board consisting of faculty from within the AAAS Department as well as other faculty drawn from across the University. The Provost will serve as ex-officio member of the committee. Students will be represented on the board as well.

- There will be an open search for a director of the Center following the appointment of a search committee. The director of the Center will be a position separate from the head of the AAAS Department.

- The Center will be administratively affiliated with the College of the Liberal Arts.

African-African American Studies Department

- The University is committed to bringing the number of full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty to ten by Fall 2003 and to retain ten faculty lines in the Department. The staffing level of the African-African American Studies Department for the 2001-02 academic year will be six full-time faculty. The department will hire additional faculty to bring the number to eight by Fall 2002, with two additional faculty to be added by Fall 2003. Opportunities to hire faculty on joint appointments will be encouraged. For those hired with joint appointments, we will encourage the principal appointment to be with the Department of African and African American Studies. The addition of these faculty members represents an annual commitment of University resources, including fringe benefits, of approximately $385,000 in new permanent funding.

- The AAAS department will have autonomous space and staff.

- The University will support the creation of five scholarships at $5,000 each ($25,000 total per year). This represents a commitment of $350,000 in scholarships over the initial five-year period. Scholarships will be awarded to students who are dual majors in AAAS and another major. Priority will be given to students with dual majors in AAAS and Education. All recipients will be required to serve disadvantaged areas of the Commonwealth for a period of three years after graduation. Scholarship recipients will be selected according to customary University student aid policies. The faculty of the AAAS Department will be involved in the scholarship selection process.

Curriculum Matters

- The University Administration will recommend to the Faculty Senate that the current diversity requirement be strengthened by focusing more clearly on diversity issues of greater relevance to our students. We have a commitment from the new Chair of the Faculty Senate to put this matter officially before the Senate’s Curricular Affairs Committee during the Fall Semester 2001, and immediately initiate discussions about changes. Furthermore, the Gye’ Nyame process will continue, and the chair of the University Faculty Senate has agreed to support the consensus recommendation of the faculty and students on the committee when it is presented to the Senate for consideration. The President and Provost have agreed to support the recommendations of the Senate.

- The Office of Undergraduate Education will assume responsibility for the implementation of a Pre-Freshman Seminar experience designed to acquaint incoming students with issues related to racism and diversity that will be implemented in Summer and Fall 2001.

Framework to Foster Diversity

- The University reaffirms its existing plans to require each budgetary unit to submit a Progress Report on the Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State: 1998-2003 by December 15, 2001 which is separate from its strategic plan, commits the units to creating and implementing a specific plan to foster diversity, and is a public document. The University will notify interested parties (including the Legislative Black Caucus, the Forum on Black Affairs, and the Black Caucus) upon the completion of the assessments.

- The University’s Academic Leadership Forum will be utilized to address topics designed to educate deans, department/division heads and others to racial and multi-cultural issues. Deans and department heads, in consultation with the Office of Educational Equity, will be responsible for diversity education programs in their units.

Restructuring of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity Position

- The Vice Provost for Educational Equity will be added to the President’s Council.

- The Vice Provost for Educational Equity will be added to the Academic Leadership Council, which includes the Academic Deans and other senior University officers.

- The Vice Provost for Educational Equity will be included in discussions about the annual budgets and diversity plans of the colleges at all campuses.

- The Provost and the Vice Provost for Educational Equity will jointly review and approve the annual budgets for the colleges: certified progress on the diversity plans of each college will influence this budget review and approval process.

- The University administration will contract for an independent review of the organization of diversity programs at Penn State, including the Office of Affirmative Action. The external reviewers will be asked to meet with all relevant constituencies, including students.

- The Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity will be responsible for assessing the college progress reports on the Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State: 1998-2003 that will be due December 15, 2001, and for developing a set of best practices to foster diversity that will be widely disseminated within the University. The Provost and the Vice Provost for Educational Equity will provide written feedback, publicly available, on the mid-term progress of the colleges in meeting diversity goals; the allocation of Equal Opportunity Planning Committee funds will be influenced by this assessment. At the conclusion of this framework period in 2003, the Vice Provost for Educational Equity will undertake a final assessment of the colleges’ efforts in achieving these goals. The results of these assessments will be a major factor in budgetary reallocations made during the 2003-04 academic year by the Provost and the Vice Provost for Educational Equity. The reallocations made as a result of this process will be publicly available and will be shared with members of the Pennsylvania Legislature, including members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus.

- The Provost and the Vice Provost for Educational Equity will consult with peer institutions to identify possible additional systems of accountability for oversight of the implementation of diversity plans.

- The Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity will be responsible for ensuring that appropriate investigations of bias-motivated incidents and hate crimes are initiated. This office will also be responsible for the coordination of all follow-up activities. The investigations and reporting procedures will comply with all University policies and local, state and federal laws regarding the reporting of hate crimes. The office will also be responsible for the regular dissemination of reports of incidents.

- To further guarantee that the leadership of our academic units and the University is fully prepared to meet the challenges of moving forward on our plans, all members of the President’s Council, Deans, and Department Heads will go through diversity training during the Fall 2001 semester. The training will be conducted by an external consultant with expertise and experience in such training.

Advisory Board

- The Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity will be given an enhanced mandate to review and advise on diversity programs. The Commission consists of faculty, staff, and students. It is staffed by the Office of Educational Equity, whose Vice Provost and Associate Vice Provost serve as ex-officio members. The Commission meets with and makes recommendations to the President during the year. Students appointed to the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity will be drawn from USG, CCSG, Black Caucus, and other student organizations. The President will ask the Commission to increase the number of students represented on the Commission from four to six.

Charges and Student Academic Progress