A new metaphor that reflects institutional efforts to develop collaborative relationships tailored to specific institutional, student, and STEM field needs. Colleges and universities can systematically expand sustainable opportunities for student transition, with corresponding exchanges of resources and the introduction of new talent to existing programs. A legally sustainable objective of these collaborations is to increase the participation in STEM higher education of students of all races, genders, and socio-economic backgrounds beyond what other means have made possible.
Download the report here.
Addresses significant state law (and related federal court) developments over the course of the past fifteen years on the topic of race-, ethnicity- and sex-related preferences among public education institutions. This guidance provides a framework for assessing access- and diversity-related policies and programs at public colleges and universities in light of these state developments.
Download the report here.
A first-of-its-kind handbook from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Association of American Universities (AAU) offers in-depth, cross-referenced legal resources to help promote effective diversity programs for science faculty and students. Set for release on 28 April 2010, the handbook outlines legally sustainable ways to expand diversity on campuses, particularly within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.
For more information, and to download the handbook, visit the Navigating a Complex Landscape webpage.
Emerging from a recent invitation-only think-tank sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Standing Our Ground provides legal guidance on two Michigan rulings that affirmed the importance of a diverse learning environment, but struck down the use of race as a quantitative “plus factor” in undergraduate admissions decisions. The mixed Grutter and Gratz messages, issued in June 2003, triggered confusion among academic, non-profit and federal institutions seeking to extend the benefits of education to all.
For more information, and to download the entire report, visit the Standing Our Ground page.
Prepared in conjunction with Standing Our Ground, “How’s Your STEM Program?” serves as a guide to using Standing Our Ground and the AAAS Center for Advancing Science and Engineering Capacity.
Download the guide [PDF].
Design Principles of Effective Programs / FAQs
How do diversity efforts fit into the larger institutional mission?
Justice O’Connor’s opinion in Grutter explicitly reaffirms a university’s first amendment right to include in its mission statement a commitment to diversity. Universities need to assume a strong leadership role that unambiguously states a commitment to diversity in their mission statements. All members of the university community should review both these statements and the institution’s affirmative action plan.
Intent of the Program
How does the program address overall university or organizational goals? What need does the program meet? What evidence led to the creation of the program?
After assessing the goals of your institution, programs should clearly state the program’s objectives using the same terminology, but modified to reflect its specific intent. The need for the program should also be explicitly laid out, preferably grounded in data that supply evidence that actions must be taken if valued outcomes are to be realized.
What is the population to be served? How is this population linked to the intent of the program?
The population your program is intended to serve will be a natural outgrowth of program intent. While the legal interpretation of “narrow tailoring” makes the exclusive targeting of underrepresented minority groups harder to defend, it does not mean that targeting is forbidden.
Character of the Program
What does the program do? Where is it located?
The design and character of the program should cite evidence that supports whatever is planned as a means of advancing campus diversity and must be narrowly tailored to accomplish that goal.
What is the institutional context? Does it matter?
Instituting programs demands knowledge of specific policies and practices at your campus that might impact the presence of underrepresented groups in STEM fields.
Evaluation and Research
What is effective? How much is necessary?
Dialogue should be open across the different schools and departments, involving department heads and administrators through the sharing of evaluations and outcomes. Through these efforts, a meta-analysis of institutional programming could identify, refine, and adapt “best practices” in new contexts on campus.
Faculty Recruitment and Retention
Is diversity-based recruiting permitted? What about rentention?
As federal contractors, colleges and universities are bound by Executive Order 11246, which carries a requirement to develop an Affirmative Action Plan that requires reaching out to diverse pool of candidates. Efforts to retain faculty and successfully move them through the tenure process are also encouraged. Faculty must be at the core of building a community that includes professionals from all backgrounds and is supportive of diversity efforts on campus.
At what level? What do leaders need to know?
Campus leaders must declare the need for change in policy and practice. Institutionalization requires that positions, initiatives, and programs are well-formulated and based on substantial evidence of the benefits of change.
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