Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Plan

A message sent to members of the Lehigh community. 

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


Nathan Urban 

Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs


Patricia Johnson

Vice President for Finance & Administration


Ricardo Hall

Vice President for Student Affairs

Related Stories

Nathan Urban and Chris Cook

Lehigh’s Strategic Planning Process: A Conversation with Nathan Urban and Chris Cook

With ‘Our Lehigh, Our Future’ in full swing, Lehigh’s provost and its vice president of strategic planning and initiatives talk about the themes, process and generating ideas.

Tarana Burke

Founder of #MeToo Movement Delivers 42nd Tresolini Lecture

Tarana Burke recalls the moment her movement went viral and says, "We still have so far to go.”

Club Hub rendering

Reimagining the Clayton University Center

Lehigh will begin extensive renovations to the iconic Clayton University Center at Packer Hall that will create a dynamic environment for student life while preserving the building’s historic grandeur.