Emerging Wentworth Strategic Plan on Inclusive Excellence

Why It Matters

Inclusive excellence is the bedrock of a campus culture in which every member of the university community is included, engaged, and valued. To grow and reach its full potential as a 21st-century university, Wentworth must achieve inclusive excellence in every aspect and at every level of university life.

Where We Are

Within the larger context of diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are pursuing many ongoing initiatives:

  • examining gender equity
  • improving retention and graduation rates of Black and Hispanic students
  • increasing enrollment of women students and the hiring of women faculty and staff
  • providing supportive environments for veterans, students with disabilities, and international students
  • joining the Leading for Change Higher Education Consortium (2013)
  • opening the Center for Diversity and Social Justice Programs (2015)
  • creating the Women’s Caucus (2017)

Unfortunately, these and other such initiatives are decentralized across a variety of departments and offices and lack an organized or cohesive mission. In addition, Wentworth’s demographics are unsustainable and do not reflect the diversity of metro Boston and the larger society.

  • Roughly 79% of our student population is male—relatively unchanged over the last ten years, placing Wentworth second to last in recruitment of women students of any American university that is not affiliated with the military
  • Less than 25% of our undergraduate student population identify their race/ethnicity as something other than white
  • Approximately 8% of our students are international
  • 9% of the incoming class of 2019 are Boston residents • 33% of our full-time faculty are women and only 23% identify their race/ethnicity as something other than white
  • Less than 1% of our full-time faculty identify their race/ethnicity as either Hispanic/Latinx or Black/ African American

Where We Are Going

We will achieve inclusive excellence by intentionally embedding inclusion in every policy, practice, and individual behavior. This will help ensure that every member of the Wentworth community can reach their full potential. Specifically, the strategic planning process yielded three objectives and numerous actions we will pursue:

  • build organizational structures that support inclusive excellence
  • integrate inclusive practices
  • improve access and demographic representation

Goal 1: Create Organizational Structures that Support Inclusive Excellence

Our Charge

Wentworth’s organizational structure must support and reflect the high value our university places on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Most important, we must be committed to action. Individuals within the organizational structure must be equipped to develop and nurture a culture of inclusive excellence.

Actions

  • Hire a Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion who reports to the President
    • Establish a new Division for Inclusive Excellence with appropriate resources and physical space to support the work of the unit.
    • Conduct a university-wide assessment of policies, practices and procedures as they relate to inclusive excellence and develop a plan to address issues, gaps, or lack of policies.
    • Complete a university needs assessment to explore the establishment of centers and/or support services for underrepresented and/or marginalized populations.
  • Hire a Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost with demonstrated success implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion plans at the department, division, and institutional level.
  • Develop a university leadership structure that will support the strategic plan and empower transparent and inclusive decision-making through all levels of the university.
  • Establish a President’s Advisory Council on Inclusive Excellence to help identify and respond to ongoing needs.
  • Revise the university mission and vision to better reflect inclusive excellence as an institutional priority.
  • Develop and provide transparency for compensation plans to include salary ranges, promotion and classification reviews.
  • Create and implement evaluation processes focused on increasing equity, and hold supervisors and employees accountable to established standards of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Assess and improve the process for securing work visas.
  • Design and implement a plan to address various accessibility issues

Goal 2: Integrate Inclusive Practices

Our Charge

We must demonstrate our university’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in both the setting of goals and the commitment to reaching them. Wentworth must take effective action and insist on accountability if it is to achieve inclusive excellence.

Actions

  • Identify mechanisms and tools to evaluate progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, including the implementation of an annual campus climate and inclusion assessment.
    • Establish metrics for desired outcomes and a communications plan that includes an annual report on progress and achievement of metrics and periodic reports as appropriate.
    • Develop and implement a needs assessment and follow-up plan that regularly addresses and requires training for students, faculty, and staff on cultural competence and other areas related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Review, make appropriate revisions, and communicate changes in policies and protocols associated with reporting and responding to incidents of discrimination and bias.
  • Identify and implement strategies to enhance learning outcomes and the student experience.
    • Revise existing curriculum and develop new courses that include components related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
    • Create opportunities for students to build cultural competency through critical thinking and engagement in dialogue and projects that examine topics such as difference, power, and privilege.
    • Develop and appropriately staff a robust, flexible study abroad program that allows students of all majors and all economic standings to participate in short and/or longer-term international experiences.
    • Assess opportunities to develop interdisciplinary living/learning communities and/ or areas of inquiry that focus on opportunities for problem solving in response to a societal problem or concern.
    • Increase resources and support for faculty and staff development opportunities in inclusive pedagogy and grant writing associated with diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
  • Create formal and informal groups in which individuals can connect (affinity groups, experience groups, other identity groups, etc.)
  • Ensure that all divisions, departments, and units align their missions with the larger institutional goal of inclusive excellence.
  • Require all division, department, and unit leaders to set annual diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and operational plans for their areas.

Goal 3: Improve Access and Demographic Representation

Our Charge

In order to achieve its greatest potential and fulfill its responsibilities as an institution of higher education, Wentworth must reflect the diversity of our city, this region, and the larger society. Wentworth must set forth and implement intentional efforts to recruit, retain, and fully support greater diversity among faculty, staff, and students.

Actions

  • Create and implement an ambitious plan to recruit, support and retain underrepresented and/or marginalized populations of students, faculty, and staff including the development of quantifiable goals around recruitment and retention.
    • All divisions and departments will develop a recruitment plan with definable, innovative action steps that focus on these populations and support overall university strategy.
  • Establish and implement a plan for enhanced diversification of the Board of Trustees and senior leadership positions.
  • Identify and address barriers to career advancement for under-represented and/or marginalized populations of faculty and staff.
  • Improve access for under-represented students by reducing financial and related obstacles to successful degree completion.
  • Work with various community partners for support in recruiting diverse faculty, staff, and students.
  • Expand current dual enrollment and dual credit efforts and streamline matriculation process for students.
  • Ensure that support services are available to all students including commuters and evening students.
  • Assess the market demand for new academic programs that simultaneously serve a broader array of students and meet regional labor market needs. This should include, but is not limited to, academic programs for adult learners and veterans.