overlapping hands with multiple skin tones

Foster Belonging and Dismantle Racism

Within St. Thomas and in our broader community, we will seek transformative, measurable equity and inclusion. We will develop a university-wide diversity, equity and inclusion strategic plan to ensure that every member of our community shares in the responsibility for our long-term journey to make St. Thomas more inclusive.

We will intentionally recruit and retain faculty and staff from diverse perspectives and backgrounds by refining our hiring practices and creating opportunities for engagement and belonging. We will insist upon a more inclusive campus environment for unrepresented students, including students of color, LGBTQIA+ students, veterans, first-generation students, students with disabilities and students from all faith traditions. We will coordinate our efforts and measure our progress with the help of an external task force of local leaders and alumni.

Beyond our campuses, the Racial Justice Initiative will harness expertise from within St. Thomas to help reimagine a future for the Twin Cities free from racial disparities. In seeking to break down silos and employ strategies that heal racial divides, the Racial Justice Initiative will work alongside corporate and nonprofit partners to eradicate barriers that perpetuate racial injustice. The initiative will host critical conversations and spur actions to promote racial justice while offering a distinctive focus on the work of historical recovery.

Related Themes

2025 Strategic Plan Build Belonging and Promote Equity Lean In to Our Catholic Mission Widen the Circle
of Impact
Strengthen Culture as We Embrace Change
Foster Belonging and Dismantle Racism Priority Priority Priority Priority

See how the Themes and Priorities of the 2025 Strategic Plan interweave.

Measuring Progress

  • Success Metrics and Milestones
  • Progress Update
  • Key Leaders
  • Success Metrics and Milestones

    1. Diversity of students. St. Thomas will intentionally increase the racial diversity of its student population.
      • Increase percentage of students of color in the First Time First Year (FTFY) four-year undergraduate incoming class to 29 percent by 2025. (Currently at 19 percent)
      • Increase percentage of students of color in the total student population to 32 percent by 2025. (Currently at 22 percent)
    2. Diversity of employees. Increase the diversity of faculty and staff to X percent people of color by 2025. (Currently at X percent people of color) Ensure that all hiring managers in every faculty and staff search use best current hiring practices established by Human Resources that help ensure a diverse pool of qualified candidates. The candidate pool should reflect at minimum the appropriate representation based on availability in our local or national market, depending on the search.
    3. Retention of students of color. Improve the overall first to the second year (fall-to-fall) retention rate from 87 to 90% by 2025. Continually work to reduce the gap in retention rates for students of color, first-generation, out-of-state, low-income and commuter students through targeted intervention and by ensuring participation of all students in high-impact retention practices.
    4. Retention of employees of color. Implement intentional strategies to retain faculty and staff of color. Begin to track and then develop metrics for faculty and staff of color retention and promotion.
    5. Reduce equity gaps in high-impact student engagement.
      • Reduce gaps among students of color who study abroad.
      • Track and reduce equity gaps among students with internships.
      • Track and reduce equity gaps among students who live on campus.
    6. Improve campus-wide sense of belonging for diverse populations, including race, gender, LGBTQIA+, religion, as measured through the DEI Campus Climate Survey, National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) surveys and the Employee Pulse Survey.
    7. Incorporate the university’s DEI strategic plan across all university schools, colleges, and staff departments and track the progress of the detailed metrics outlined in the DEI strategic plan.
    8. Grow the Racial Justice Initiative and measure increase in the number of critical conversations held, corporate partnerships developed, speaking engagements secured, media coverage and dollars raised. Implement an RJI strategic plan in 2022 with clear metrics for success.
    9. Increase the percentage of Minnesotans who agree that St. Thomas “welcomes and celebrates diversity” as measured by the annual awareness tracking survey.
    10. Achieve five-year fundraising goal of $5 million for Racial Justice Initiative.

    Progress Update, February 2022

    The St. Thomas 2025 Strategic Plan debuted in February 2021. While we continually track progress and report on it quarterly, here are key developments from the past year, as of February 2022:

    • The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion created a university-wide DEI strategic plan, and spurred unit level DEI plans across the university, embedding DEI across all units
    • The Racial Justice Initiative has established corporate partnerships and increased its national exposure through media appearances, in addition to raising $1.35 million to date to further its mission
    • The percentage of Minnesota residents who agree that St. Thomas "welcomes and celebrates diversity," as measured on our annual perception tracking survey, has increased by 5 points since 2019

    Key Leaders

    • Kha Yang, Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence (Primary Internal)
    • Dr. Yohuru Williams, Founding Director, Racial Justice Initiative
    • Al Cotrone, Vice President of Enrollment Management
    • Kathy Arnold, Chief Human Resources Officer

    Success Metrics and Milestones

    Success Metrics and Milestones

    1. Diversity of students. St. Thomas will intentionally increase the racial diversity of its student population.
      • Increase percentage of students of color in the First Time First Year (FTFY) four-year undergraduate incoming class to 29 percent by 2025. (Currently at 19 percent)
      • Increase percentage of students of color in the total student population to 32 percent by 2025. (Currently at 22 percent)
    2. Diversity of employees. Increase the diversity of faculty and staff to X percent people of color by 2025. (Currently at X percent people of color) Ensure that all hiring managers in every faculty and staff search use best current hiring practices established by Human Resources that help ensure a diverse pool of qualified candidates. The candidate pool should reflect at minimum the appropriate representation based on availability in our local or national market, depending on the search.
    3. Retention of students of color. Improve the overall first to the second year (fall-to-fall) retention rate from 87 to 90% by 2025. Continually work to reduce the gap in retention rates for students of color, first-generation, out-of-state, low-income and commuter students through targeted intervention and by ensuring participation of all students in high-impact retention practices.
    4. Retention of employees of color. Implement intentional strategies to retain faculty and staff of color. Begin to track and then develop metrics for faculty and staff of color retention and promotion.
    5. Reduce equity gaps in high-impact student engagement.
      • Reduce gaps among students of color who study abroad.
      • Track and reduce equity gaps among students with internships.
      • Track and reduce equity gaps among students who live on campus.
    6. Improve campus-wide sense of belonging for diverse populations, including race, gender, LGBTQIA+, religion, as measured through the DEI Campus Climate Survey, National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) surveys and the Employee Pulse Survey.
    7. Incorporate the university’s DEI strategic plan across all university schools, colleges, and staff departments and track the progress of the detailed metrics outlined in the DEI strategic plan.
    8. Grow the Racial Justice Initiative and measure increase in the number of critical conversations held, corporate partnerships developed, speaking engagements secured, media coverage and dollars raised. Implement an RJI strategic plan in 2022 with clear metrics for success.
    9. Increase the percentage of Minnesotans who agree that St. Thomas “welcomes and celebrates diversity” as measured by the annual awareness tracking survey.
    10. Achieve five-year fundraising goal of $5 million for Racial Justice Initiative.

    Progress Update

    Progress Update, February 2022

    The St. Thomas 2025 Strategic Plan debuted in February 2021. While we continually track progress and report on it quarterly, here are key developments from the past year, as of February 2022:

    • The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion created a university-wide DEI strategic plan, and spurred unit level DEI plans across the university, embedding DEI across all units
    • The Racial Justice Initiative has established corporate partnerships and increased its national exposure through media appearances, in addition to raising $1.35 million to date to further its mission
    • The percentage of Minnesota residents who agree that St. Thomas "welcomes and celebrates diversity," as measured on our annual perception tracking survey, has increased by 5 points since 2019

    Key Leaders

    Key Leaders

    • Kha Yang, Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence (Primary Internal)
    • Dr. Yohuru Williams, Founding Director, Racial Justice Initiative
    • Al Cotrone, Vice President of Enrollment Management
    • Kathy Arnold, Chief Human Resources Officer