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Characteristics of Effective Diversity Strategic Planning


The most effective diversity strategic planning addresses diversity structurally and systemically rather than in an ad hoc or as needed approach. Plans that appear most successful involve continual planning and progress, not just activity when a strategic plan is due; they show evidence of reflection on previous initiatives and of building upon previous plans and accomplishments;  they articulate a clear definition and common understanding of diversity and its importance to the unit, and they benefit from a dedicated coordination structure. The most successful unit plans show evidence of integrating diversity into general planning and operations as well as specific emphasis on diversity, with clear goals, outcomes, intelligent metrics, and accumulated data to support evidence-based planning, an implementation plan, timelines, and accountability plan for their diversity efforts. Successful planning, implementation, assessment, and reporting involves unit leadership across key areas, including personnel who work with diversity; their service should be given sufficient resources and recognition. Units are encouraged to work collaboratively with and draw upon the resources of OPIA and Educational Equity for effective planning, implementation, assessment, and reporting.

Continuity, integration, and institutionalization of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts

  • Build upon previous plans
  • Integrate diversity into general planning and operations
  • Make diversity, equity, and inclusion an expectation for unit success, rather than relying on a few champions or advocates
  • Integrate diversity throughout plan, AND specifically address in a detailed section or appendix

Evidence-based planning and decision making, intelligent metrics, assessment, and outcomes

  • Develop intelligent metrics, targets, and thresholds for success, planned outcomes, assessment
  • Apply appropriate data and evidence
  • Approach strategic planning as more strategic than operational or comprehensive
  • Employ sophisticated use of data and evidence, closing the data/evidence loop, continuous process

Accountability and resources

  • Include an implementation plan with timetables and responsible parties
  • Allocate resources to support suggested initiatives, expansion of programs, and data tracking

Units that presented strong diversity planning in their unit strategic plans (although it is sometimes difficult to assess progress because of lack of metrics and data) included: 

  • Health and Human Development
  • Penn State Altoona
  • College of Science
  • Earth and Mineral Sciences
  • Finance and Business
  • Nursing
  • Undergraduate Education
  • College of Education
  • Penn State Berks
  • University Libraries