The University of Notre Dame strives for a spirit of inclusion among the members of our community, in concert with our Catholic mission, aiming to create an environment of mutual respect, hospitality and warmth in which none are strangers and all may flourish.

Through honest discourse around the topics of diversity and inclusion, we can advance our efforts to become a place where all feel embraced, welcomed and part of an authentic community graced by the Spirit of Christ.

Similar to the review of support offered to our students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and questioning students and their allies during the 2012-13 academic year, leading to the creation of Beloved Friends and Allies: A Pastoral Plan for the Support and Holistic Development of GLBTQ and Heterosexual Students at the University of Notre Dame, the Division of Student Affairs recently undertook a review of the campus climate surrounding students of historically marginalized groups pertaining to culture, ethnicity and socio-economic status.

Nearly one hundred interviews with current students were conducted during the review, in addition to almost 50 interviews with Notre Dame faculty and staff, plus administrators involved with diversity and inclusion efforts at more than a dozen other colleges and universities. Data was also examined from a regular survey given to graduating seniors to help identify areas for improvement.

These efforts helped to inform 21 recommendations, listed below, to be implemented by the Division of Student Affairs.

Recommendations

Group 1

Improve the presence and readiness of Division of Student Affairs staff to serve a diverse student body.

  1. Set expectations for the recruitment of diverse Student Affairs staff members.

  2. Increase the voice of diverse staff to Division leadership.

  3. Address the retention and development of diverse Division staff.

  4. Improve efforts to increase the diversity of student staff employed by the Division through setting of expectations and sharing of best practices.

  5. Improve training opportunities for all Division staff related to cultural and socioeconomic diversity. 

Group 2

Augment the services offered by Multicultural Student Programs and Services with targeted programs across the Division of Student Affairs.

  1. Revamp sequence of first-year orientation events and training of hall orientation coordinators to ensure diversity and inclusion is prioritized.

  2. Revise and launch a new structure to facilitate harassment reporting procedures.

  3. Pilot changing timing of diversity retreats to begin at least one month after start of classes.

  4. Renew the celebration and visibility of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. day on campus.

  5. Discuss the balance between offering cultural student organization events on Spring Visitation Weekends and throughout the academic year. 

Group 3

Create a comprehensive, cohesive system for supporting students with high socioeconomic need.

  1. Benchmark peer institutions and draft a proposal for a comprehensive program addressing students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

  2. Implement formal program to support students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

  3. Revise advertising, parameters, and level of resources for the Rector Fund.

  4. Evaluate level of support needed for students staying on campus over breaks. 

Group 4

Demonstrate visible commitment to diversity through communication, facilities, and measurement of programs.

15. Post diversity statement in all residence halls.

16. Design and successfully raise funds for a new diversity and inclusion center within the LaFortune Student Center.

17. Launch student advisory committees to the Vice President for Student Affairs on ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. Consider future opportunities to combine efforts with Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee for LGBTQ Students.

18. Implement a regular climate survey targeting undergraduate and graduate students.

19. Design new Student Affairs undergraduate student leadership award recognizing commitment to diversity and inclusion.

20. Consider a proactive communications effort to students celebrating elements of diversity on campus.

21. Audit Division websites and communications annually to ensure accurate and inclusive depiction of diversity at Notre Dame. 

The Division of Student Affairs welcomes and encourages feedback on these topics and recommendations. Email the Office of the Vice President with feedback, or to set up time to talk.

Last revised April 2014