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Charge to Penn State President's Commissions for Equity

Date:   August 10, 2017

From:  Eric J. Barron, President

RE:     Charge to Penn State President’s Commissions for Equity

It is the charge of the President's Commissions for Equity to serve as an advisory group providing me and my office with recommendations germane to issues of women-identified; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer; and/or racially or ethnically diverse people at Penn State. I am particularly interested in the identification of barriers that inhibit the full inclusion and advancement of persons from underrepresented and/or underserved populations.

The Commissions will be provided a budget to support activities aligned only with advisory activities. The decisions will rest with the Commissions for the use of this budget (potential costs might involve site visits, data analysis, or visitor/consultants) and the Office of Educational Equity will assist with ensuring that the funds are used for activities related to this charge.

The Commissions' roles will be strengthened, I believe, if they are strategic. Toward this end, please communicate to my office by August 21, 2017, via email to, the one or two goals upon which your Commission will focus during the 2017-2018 fiscal year. I expect that each Commission will share their goals with the other Commissions to identify synergies.

As a part of your work, the Commissions may offer recommendations to my office. You can submit these at any time—do not feel you need to limit our communication to the end of the spring semester. As your recommendations pertain to Penn State policies, procedures, practices, or programs, I expect that you will enlist the necessary expertise and leadership, modeling collaboration and engagement with any units included in the focus of your work.

I have tasked the Office of Educational Equity with implementing this charge, and expect them to assist you with collaboration models and inquiry methods and strategies. In the spirit of consultation, Educational Equity can provide guidance for benchmarking, research, developing relationships, and related activities as necessary. Each Commission’s goals could be accomplished by:

  •  Inventorying and mapping institutionally supported activities, procedures, policies. programs, and practices germane to a specific inquiry;
  • Collecting,  reviewing,  describing,  and  drawing conclusions from current data;
  • Comparing issues and findings with similarly situated institutions;
  • Determining what additional data is necessary to adequately assess or structure an inquiry;
  • In collaboration with the responsible unit staff, evaluating existing programs, practices, policies, or procedures;
  • Providing a complete inventory of programs across the University and within schools that address issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity—summarizing the goals and outcomes of the offerings; and/or,
  • Creating evidence-informed recommendations that reflect the conclusions resultant from the aforementioned activities.

The Office of Educational Equity will also provide assistance in crafting recommendations if and when the Commissions are prepared to communicate them. Thank you for your service.