My fellow community members,
In these first weeks since my return to Lehigh, I have spoken often of the importance of community. Any community is at its best when it includes, enables, welcomes and supports the full diversity of voices that comprise it. That is my aspiration for Lehigh.
In that spirit, I am very pleased with the work being done to create and sustain a welcoming, diverse, inclusive and equitable community. Many of you have been involved this past year in the work to develop a plan in support of this goal. That extensive effort has enabled us to take important steps forward, and develop the goals and shared objectives that VP for Equity and Community Donald Outing, Provost Nathan Urban, VP for Finance and Administration Patricia Johnson and VP for Student Affairs Ricardo Hall outline below.
Their commitment and mine, with the wholehearted support of the senior leadership team and the endorsement of Lehigh’s Board of Trustees, is to an unending focus on the work needed to achieve these goals, through which we will achieve our shared aspiration of an inclusive and supportive Lehigh community for all.
I look forward to working with each of you to advance this essential work in the months and years ahead.
Joseph J. Helble ’82
Dear Members of the Lehigh Community,
Last year, the Lehigh University community embarked on a process to develop a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (DI&E) Strategic Plan to improve our infrastructure, policies and practices and to continue to build an inclusive Lehigh community. We seek to ensure a supportive and welcoming environment at Lehigh for all. Our goal is to remove roadblocks and biases that stand in the way of success and to foster a deeper sense of belonging for students, faculty, staff, alumni and other community members.
In this document, we provide a framework of our priorities and an update on some of the actions our community has taken to move Lehigh forward. While we are encouraged by progress on several fronts, our work is far from over. This important work will evolve and change in the months and years ahead. Our pledge to the entire Lehigh community is that diversity, inclusion and equity are of the highest priority.
Our immediate next steps include:
- Communicating with key stakeholders and the broader Lehigh community about the plan, priorities and goals
- Convening working groups to develop critical key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the university’s DI&E efforts and measure the efficacy of our efforts
- Releasing the LUPD Review Report in Fall 2021
As part of this process, we continue to compile data related to the diversity and inclusivity of our campus community, including information about students, enrollment, and retention and graduation rates, and we are working to expand our data center to include information about faculty and staff. In addition, we gather regular survey data about the experiences of members of the Lehigh community. We will continue to populate the data center and provide updates. A public-facing presence on the Lehigh website that communicates the university’s goals and provides updates on progress is forthcoming.
Thank you for sharing your feedback, concerns and ideas. We encourage your involvement, as our ability to move forward with momentum and hope requires the extensive participation of our entire community. Together, we must address inequality and take action to proactively combat bias. Even when uncomfortable or contentious, the important conversations we’re having are leading us in the right direction. Each of us plays an important role in listening, learning and adapting on the road to meaningful community improvement and change. Thank you for joining us.
Donald A. Outing
Vice President for Equity & Community
Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Vice President for Finance & Administration
Vice President for Student Affairs