In an academic year with heightened awareness of racial justice issues, Bellarmine University made measurable progress on the equity and inclusion commitment that is a major pillar of the university’s strategic plan, “Tradition and Transformation
The strategic plan calls for the university to “demonstrate a fully realized and lived commitment to equity and inclusion, empowering all members of its increasingly diverse community and supporting them to achieve their full potential.”
Last year, 20% of Bellarmine’s student population was made up of underrepresented minorities, a term that includes students who report an ethnicity or race other than white.
“This was a year where our campus community could have been satisfied with the status quo given the pandemic, but I’m glad we decided we would continue to strengthen our diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives to ensure that we emerged
stronger,” said Mitchell. “Surely, we have much more work to do, but the foundation we are laying provides an incredible blueprint for us to fully operationalize our social justice mission.”
In addition to advising Bellarmine’s president, Dr. Susan M. Donovan, and serving as a member of her cabinet, Mitchell works with campus entities to strengthen cultural competency to ensure students are being prepared to enter a diverse global society.
Mitchell summarized major accomplishments from the recently completed academic year in a recent report that contained these highlights:
- The university finalized a new affirmative action plan last fall, with new trainings and resources under development to support that plan’s implementation.
- A campus accessibility audit took place in the spring semester, focusing on climate, physical space and technology. Recommendations are forthcoming. The audit’s goal is to create a campus culture that centers accessibility. Bellarmine’s
Student Government Association funded the audit and set aside funds to support its implementation.
- Mitchell conducted training and professional development workshops for offices including Athletics; Enrollment, Marketing and Communication; Public Safety and the W. Fielding Rubel School of Business.
- The university launched an internal grant program to support diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives from faculty, staff and students. The initiatives can be specific to Bellarmine or serve the Louisville community. The Student Government Association
provided partial funding.
In the Classroom
- A new guest lecture program allows faculty members to request guest lectures on topics of diversity, equity and inclusion. Fourteen such lectures took place in the spring semester.
In the Community
- Bellarmine is creating new community partnerships with organizations such as the Louisville Urban League and Nativity Academy, focused on education, health, wellness and financial empowerment.