Campus News

UK Ties for Highest Diversity Report Score From the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Officer Advance Day.
Arden Barnes | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 25, 2022) — The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) has released its score on the University of Kentucky’s diversity report. The university tied with one other public, four-year institution for the highest score in the state, illustrating immense progress in its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. 

“The Council on Postsecondary Education annual diversity report is a critical indicator of our progress, success and ongoing commitment to inclusive excellence,” Katrice Albert, vice president of the Office for Institutional Diversity, said. “Each year, the report pulls together a narrative with supporting data from departments and units across campus that are dedicated to the holistic success of all our students.”

CPE evaluates all public, four-year institutions and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) institutions each year based on 29 different metrics of progress that align with the state’s overall strategic agenda for higher education. The report is driven by institutional initiatives organized by and focused on each of the following three areas:

  1. Opportunity: Recruitment and enrollment of diverse students and includes the undergraduate and graduate student enrollment components.
  2. Success: Student progression and success and includes the student retention first to second year, graduation rates and degrees conferred components.
  3. Impact: Campus climate, inclusiveness and cultural competency and includes workforce diversity components.

Campuses are required to submit a plan that sets goals and identifies strategies for each focus area. They receive scores based on whether they implemented the strategies with fidelity and whether the strategies proved effective. Campuses were also required to analyze lessons learned from the process and propose next steps.

The goal is to create an accountability framework that addresses the needs of and supports the success of all students, particularly those most affected by institutional and systemic inequity and exclusion. 

This year, the university earned a score of 30 out of 36; 12/18 for quantitative elements of the report and 18/18 for qualitative.

Some of the evaluated strategies include: utilize financial aid supports to recruit undergraduate and graduate students from underserved populations; provide integrated advising for both degree completion and career planning to maximize a student’s success during college and beginning their career; use the high impact practice of UK 101 to promote a successful transition to college; and train staff members in issues of diversity and inclusion through a variety of human resource training topics. 

CPE noted that, “the University of Kentucky took a very strategic approach to initiatives. They looked at DEI across the campus and looked at each principal of the university’s strategic plan and asked, ‘How can we incorporate DEI work into the strategic plan?’ They have worked to make DEI a part of the university mission. They also identified all the groups in the university — the faculty, staff, students and community partners — and asked, ‘How can we make them a part of this work?’ Their efforts were very comprehensive, and they provided thorough data that they used to evaluate and demonstrate the effectiveness of the initiatives.” 

While much progress has been made, the university notes that this is just the beginning of a long reset process. 

“As Kentucky’s university, it is essential that we continue to invest in and expand our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work,” Albert said. “Because when we invest in DEI and creating a culture of belonging, we invest in our people and in advancing Kentucky.”

Diversity on campus benefits all students. As Kentucky and the nation becomes more diverse, UK believes that it is crucial that the campus reflects this diversity to ensure graduates can thrive and be competitive in today’s workforce. This belief is reflected in campuswide initiatives and in the CPE Diversity Report score. 

Contributors to the report include: the Office of Undergraduate AdmissionThe Graduate SchoolCenter for Graduate and Professional Diversity Initiatives (CGPDI), Academic AdvisingInclusive Excellence and Diversity Education (IEDE), the Office for Student SuccessCenter for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) and Human Resources (HR).  

To learn more about additional DEI efforts at the university, visit the DEI website. The DEI website is home to information about DEI-related resources available to faculty, staff and students; events and organizations; news and campus messages; and updates on DEI efforts around campus.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.