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Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives Referenced in President Armstrong's Letter


Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Culture 

  • Last year, every member of the President’s Cabinet participated in unconscious bias training and the university is requiring implicit bias training for all hiring committees, MPP and Confidential positions.  In addition, we are strongly encouraging faculty and staff to participate in implicit bias training (we cannot make this mandatory for represented employees, but we can encourage it). 

  • In 2017, after discovering the Early Decision process disadvantaged low-income students, because they would not know the full extent of financial aid they qualified for prior to making a commitment, university administration made the decision to eliminate the Early Decision option. 

  • It resulted in the most diverse incoming class in the history of Cal Poly. 

  • In recent years, the university established an Office of University Diversity and Inclusion (OUDI) to help us shift our campus culture and create a more diverse and inclusive environment supportive of all students. 

  • The university created a new vice president and chief officer for diversity and inclusion position, reporting directly to the president and serving as a member of the president’s cabinet. Jozi de Leon joined this position in 2017. 

  • Through this VP position, the OUDI program director, an executive assistant, and three faculty associates, OUDI has the ability to effectively conduct outreach, serve on university committees and affect policy and process change. 

  • As one component of our efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion in a holistic way, Cal Poly is incorporating the Collective Impact Model. The idea is that no single policy, department, organization or program can tackle or solve the increasingly complex problems we face as a society/university and that we must move forward with structured collaboration.  

  • Our work on this began in 2017 with campuswide forums to introduce the Collective Impact Model to campus.  

  • As a result, three strategy groups were created focusing on Campus Climate, Curriculum and Recruitment and Retention. These teams continue to meet and will provide short- and long-term recommendations related to their charges by June 2018. These recommendations will be reviewed by the university’s Inclusive Excellence Council and implemented by OUDI through partnerships across campus. 

  • Recently, Student Affairs hired its first-ever assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion.  The position oversees the implementation of a variety of programs and support for diverse students.  

  • The university’s Week of Welcome orientation program now provides a Cross-Cultural Experience (CCE), which is devoted specifically to welcoming underrepresented minorities to campus. 

  • Student Affairs and OUDI have been incorporating additional diversity and inclusion topics and programming into all new student orientation programs. 

  • In support of undocumented students on campus, Student Affairs in 2017 opened a Dream Center and OUDI sponsored campuswide “UndocuAlly” workshops. 

  • Student Affairs has doubled the capacity of the university’s Cross-Cultural Centers (which include the Gender Equity Center, Multi Cultural Center, and Pride Center) and expanded their events and educational offerings for students. 

  • The university created a Career Services Diversity Fund Committee that allocates funding to campus events related to diversity and inclusion. This program started this academic year. 

  • OUDI established an Equity Enrichment Fund to support opportunities for the Cal Poly community to learn, grow and professionally develop within areas of diversity and inclusion. The fund has provided financing to campus events and individual students attending diversity-focused professional development conferences. 

  • In the past year, the university’s colleges have begun establishing faculty and student diversity committees—and several colleges have created associate dean for diversity positions. 

  • OUDI is overseeing the BEACoN Mentor Network which matches faculty with underrepresented students for mentoring relationships and high-impact research engagement. This year, about 40 student/faculty mentoring relationships have been established and 16 paid research mentoring matches are underway.   

  • The university is creating and implementing an onboarding process for new Greek chapters that includes mandated education around diversity and inclusion. 

  • The university is working to launch a Greek chapter review process that engages each chapter in an in-depth look at the overall health of the organization along multiple vectors and provides recommendations for improvement. 

  • The Cross Cultural Centers’ Inclusive Excellence Institute is a campuswide initiative to create cohorts of social change agents. The institute offers attendees a series of 10 intensive sessions exposing students to theoretical perspectives (Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and Queer Theory to name a few) and concrete methods for making positive change at Cal Poly.  

  • Student Affairs created the Center for Leadership.  

  • A retreat for campus leaders this year brought 30 student leaders together to design action plans to increase inclusion on campus. Plans include using GE-required courses to address hate speech; creation of a peer-led inclusion and cultural awareness certification program on campus; and creation of a Mustang Mentorship pairing underrepresented students with mentors to increase their sense of belonging and support. 

  • The university hosts Black Alumni and Chicana/o, Latino/a and Indigenous Alumni chapters. 

  • Student Affairs fosters student activism by working with students and sending student leaders to conferences and workshops to help them foster their interest in social justice and moving Cal Poly forward. 

  • Through Student Affairs’ Vantage Point Program, the offices of the President and the Vice President for Student Affairs jointly provide co-sponsorships to qualified individuals or groups for a variety of campus events and guest speakers. Many recipients use the funds to attend conferences to learn about social justice, civil discourse, and other diversity/inclusion matters. The program also funds speakers to come to campus to provide education on various topics — many of them related to diversity and social justice. 

  • Staff throughout University Housing (including student staff, live-in staff, custodial staff, programming staff, and management staff) participate in trainings on topics including social identities, bias, and micro-aggressions. 

  • Student Affairs and Kennedy Library collaborated to establish a multi-faith prayer and meditation room in May 2017. 

  • The university converted all possible single-stall restrooms on campus to all-gender restrooms. (In addition, all restrooms in the new yakɁitʸutʸu residential community will be gender neutral) 


It is important to note that Proposition 209 prohibits the university from providing preferential treatment to faculty or students based on race, gender or ethnic origin. However, there are many things the university does within the limits of Prop 209 to help recruitment of students and faculty members from diverse backgrounds. These efforts include: 



  • Cal Poly continues to recruit low-income first-generation students (the unfortunate reality is that many of these students are also underrepresented minorities) to increase diversity in the student population.  

  • The change in student demographics supports this trend as the number of students identifying as Caucasian in 2011 (63 percent) has decreased in 2017 (55 percent).  

  • The university has developed the Cal Poly Scholars program that recruits low-income and first-generation students to attend Cal Poly by partnering with high schools that have a high percentage of these students. 

  • The university has proposed the creation of the Cal Poly Opportunity Grant, which would provide financial assistance for high-achieving, low-income California students who meet Cal Poly’s rigorous academic admission requirements but can’t afford to attend the university.  

  • By serving a greater cross-section of California residents, the university can significantly increase diversity on campus and impact the campus culture. The grant is currently under consideration by the president. 

  • In conjunction with the California Community Foundation, Cal Poly has partnered with donors to directly support underrepresented minority students by providing high impact scholarships.  

  • These scholarships fund McCoy and Meritorious scholars on campus.  


  • The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) successfully carried out a cluster hire of seven tenure-track faculty positions with a focus on academic areas related to diversity and inclusion across multiple disciplines.  

  • After the CLA effort, the university has proposed and received $150,000 from the CSU for an Advancing Faculty Diversity Plan — a cluster hire of up to 10 faculty positions that focus on diversity and inclusion in a variety of scholarly areas throughout the university’s six colleges.  

  • In consultation with OUDI, the Academic Personnel office revised campus procedures for recruiting tenure-track faculty to attract diverse candidates to Cal Poly; improve the university’s ability to obtain diverse pools of highly qualified faculty candidates; advance diverse candidates in the interview process; and highlight our university’s value of diversity and inclusive teaching.  

  • OUDI and Academic Personnel conduct training on hiring and implicit bias for all tenure-track faculty search committees, with the goal of developing deep and diverse applicant pools. 

  • Student Affairs has worked with Human Resources to expand its recruiting outreach efforts, create a talent pipeline of diverse candidates, enhance its onboarding programs to welcome diverse staff and expand professional development opportunities around diversity and inclusion. 

Academic Affairs 

  • Updated the University Diversity Learning Objectives (DLO’s) 

  • Carrying out a complete review of diversity courses and United States Cultural Pluralism courses to ensure they meet the required learning outcomes 


  • Multicultural Business Program in Orfalea includes an inclusive community for students by students where students are connected to community and resources. This program provides personal, academic and career development services for traditionally underserved and historically underrepresented minority students in the college, with a focus on community development.  

  • CAFES: New Minor: Agricultural Leadership – curriculum contains courses related to diversity and inclusion 

  • CAFES Multicultural Agriculture Program (MAP) Center 

  • New center director: Dianne Korth 

  • Queer Studies Minor approved and now included in the 2017-2019 catalog 

  • CTLT and OUDI host a complete “diversity in the curriculum” course each summer to assist faculty in enhancing diversity and inclusion in their curriculum. Their primary work occurs in the summer with further work and activities carried out throughout the year and culminating in each faculty member completing a course offering. 

  • College of Liberal Arts: Hired Associate Dean for Diversity and Curriculum 

  • College of Science and Math: Hired Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion 

  • Other colleges have associate deans whose positions include diversity and inclusion as significant parts of their duties 

  • Colleges have established college diversity committees. 

  • CLA hired a multicultural advisor 

  • CLA: Development of templates for a “Diversity Statement” to be completed by candidates as part of the faculty hiring process.  

  • Developed and implemented Implicit Bias training for search committee members 

  • Enhanced/increased growth of the BEACON Mentor Network (Faculty mentoring students of color or from underserved groups in undergraduate research. Most of the faculty involved are diverse. Program is now run out of OUDI). 

  • Faculty and staff launched the diversity and inclusion campaign Love, Empathy, Respect w/ the hashtag of #MustangsUNITED 


  • OCOB has been focusing on increasing the diversity among our faculty. Several new faculty members hired in Accounting, Economics, Information Systems, Management, and Industrial Technology/Packaging during the past three or four years are female or from an ethnically diverse background. 

  • CAFES: Five recent hires that expand our capacity to address diversity and inclusivity in a specific disciplinary context: Dr. Greg Brown, Department Head in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. Social and Environmental Justice; Dr. Job Ubbink, Department Head in Food Science and Nutrition. Food Science; Dr. Jeta Rudi-Polloshka, Agricultural Business. Food Economics; Dr. Samir Amin, Food Science and Nutrition. Culinary and Product Development; Dr. Keri Schwab, Experience Industry Management, Social and Environmental Justice 

  • CSM: Five new faculty of color hired in 2016-2017 

What’s still to come? 

  • OUDI’s three Collective Impact Strategy Groups (focusing on Campus Climate, Curriculum, and Recruitment and Retention) will provide short- and long-term recommendations related to their charges by June 2018. These recommendations will be reviewed by the university’s Inclusive Excellence Council and implemented by OUDI through partnerships across campus. 

  • Student Affairs is focused on improvement of student retention and graduation rates through additional academic, personal and financial support for vulnerable student populations: first-generation, low-income, transfer and foster youth.  

  • These new high-impact practices will be data-informed and assessed regularly to ensure that these student populations are matriculating and achieving success through their college experiences. 

  • Student Affairs will focus on providing support to fledgling underrepresented student organizations attempting to charter and within their first year as an organization. (Current processes are challenging for smaller groups of students with little resources to become chartered. The Dean of Students Office wants to better understand the unique needs of these students and provide the necessary support to help them through the process.) 

  • The Dean of Students’ Office is planning to provide support for more students to experience cultural immersion programs such as Alternative Breaks and Study Aboard, and to identify and remove barriers (including resources, awareness and access) that prevent students from taking part. 



Related Content

Inclusive Excellence Council


BEACoN Mentors

Faculty-Student Mentorship Program

BEACoN Mentors

Diversity & Inclusion Enrichment Grant

D & I Enrichment Grant

Undocumented Student Working Group