Bellarmine University / NCATE Institutional Self-Study Report / Standard 4 / Commitment to Diversity by University and Unit

Commitment to Diversity by University and Unit

Both the mission of Bellarmine University and the mission and vision of the Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education are focused on preparing dynamic educators to live, serve, and work in a changing, global community. This preparation has diversity at its very core - from the encouragement of participation in study abroad experiences to the AFTSE's mandatory undergraduate dual certification programs in elementary education/learning and behavior disorders and middle school education/learning and behavior disorders - with its commitment to educators as agents of change in a social context of educational inequity and achievement gaps. The university and the unit are dedicated to diversifying the student body and the faculty who teach our candidates as well as placing a high priority on diverse field, internship, and clinical placement settings, closely monitoring the range of placements of candidates with regard to diversity of P-12 students, cooperating teachers, and building leaders. As stated in the AFTSE Conceptual Framework (p. 4), the Mission of the AFTSE is focused on serving the needs of the region by preparing "caring, effective educators... to teach and lead in diverse settings." We have made the commitment that all of our programs will prepare education professionals who understand "the challenges of poverty, [and the impact of] racism, sexism, family instability, crime, and lack of adequate healthcare (among others), and how they each threaten the learning and performance of students in the P-12 classroom" (p. 5). Additionally, one of the five "Themes" of the unit's initial certification programs' self- and institutional dispositions assessment is "Cultural Responsiveness," which is validated in field evaluations by cooperating teachers, delivery of teaching lessons that address diversity, and leadership assessments in mentoring and working with diverse colleagues. The AFTSE's commitment to diversity is exemplified in its Continuous Assessment Plan through multiple assessments that evaluate candidates' proficiencies in working effectively with all students.

Bellarmine University is committed to creating and sustaining an inclusive campus community where faculty, staff and students of diverse backgrounds are recruited, supported, celebrated and retained (Exhibit 4.3.j.1). All Bellarmine undergraduates must take a transcultural course in the interdisciplinary core of their liberal arts preparation as well as a senior seminar that focuses on Catholic social justice teachings. The Office of Multicultural Affairs maintains a complete list of community partners, multicultural campus organizations, unique opportunities, and events on its website (Exhibit 4.3.j.2). Through this office, the university offers numerous educational programs such as guest speakers, documentaries, diversity trainings and discussions, and musical and theatre performances that address diversity. University faculty and staff are also supported in overcoming obstacles to gaining a better understanding of diversity through individual advising, workshops, and training, such as Safe Zone training designed to create a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people on campus (Exhibit 4.3.j.3).

The Office of Human Resources is responsible for collaborating with various schools and departments to encourage and insure that we "walk the talk" of making the Bellarmine campus a welcoming place for all. This includes advising search committees and hiring managers on the importance of creating diverse candidate pools, hiring diverse faculty and staff, and advertising in media that targets a multicultural audience (Exhibit 4.3.j.4).

4.3.j.1 University Diversity Statement

4.3.j.2 Office of Multicultural Affairs

4.3.j.3 Safe Zone

4.3.j.4 Human Resources