Fostering equity, respect, and belonging at Penn State by creating a welcoming climate throughout the University’s faculty, staff, leadership, and student body.


Created in July 1990, the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity is charged with fostering equity, respect, and belonging at Penn State. This mission encompasses leadership for the University-wide strategic plan, student academic success services and Federal TRIO Programs, support of educational access for targeted groups of low-income, potential first-generation college students both here at Penn State and at sites throughout the state, and serving as a catalyst and advocate for Penn State’s equity initiatives by providing University-wide leadership to increase our capacity for belonging.

Within the University, the office supports and evaluates many initiatives and serves as an advocate for a range of populations.

These include:

  • Veterans
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Persons from low-income families who would be the first generation to attend college
  • Historically underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities

The office also provides administrative support and advises three President's commissions for equity. The Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Equity (CLGBTQE); the Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity (CORED); and the Commission for Women (CFW) are advisory groups to the President of Penn State.

Beyond the University, in targeted high schools and counties, the office helps low-income youth and adults to overcome the social, cultural, and educational barriers to success in higher education.

With more than two decades of experience in advancing our goals through strategic planning and a rich history of valuing equity, respect, and belonging, Penn State is among the national leaders in higher education in diversity strategic planning. We have successfully merged A Framework to Foster Diversity into the University's overall strategic plan under the foundation of the President’s vision and goals.

Penn State’s vision, mission, and institutional values are interwoven throughout this plan, and they ultimately drive its success. Five focus areas underpin all University endeavors and are considered fundamental to implementing this plan. These focus areas—Enhancing Student Success; Growing Interdisciplinary Research Excellence; Increasing Land-Grant Impact; Fostering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging; and Transforming Internal Operations—connect to, empower, and sustain our values as an institution. Promoting equity, respect, and belonging in higher education is not only the right thing to do, but also the strategic thing to do.

National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NAODOH)

Penn State is one of many founding institutions whose collective vision continues to advance diversity in higher education.


Diversity Champion AwardPenn State receives Diversity Champion Award

Diversity Champions exemplify an unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout their campus communities, across academic programs, and at the highest administrative levels. Columbia University, Penn State, and Texas Tech are three of a limited number of colleges and universities across the nation to have been selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity to receive this honor.

Insight Into Diversity, Higher Education Excellence in Diversity AwardPenn State receives Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award (HEED)

The INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.