This section contains reports from the following subcommittees:

Academic Affairs Subcommittee

John McCarthy (chair)
Dean, School of Philosophy

Angela McRae
Professor, Department of Education

Jada Haughton
Student, Columbus School of Law and
President, Black Law Students Association

David Cloutier
Professor, School of Theology and Religious Studies

Kevin Medina
Assistant Dean of Admission

The Academic Affairs Subcommittee was charged with reviewing, assessing, and proposing recommendations that would measure and improve how effectively the University’s course offerings and academic programs address matters of race, culture, and faith.

The subcommittee met numerous times over the course of the 2020–21 academic year. Through individual conversations with all of the students and young alumni on the Sister Thea Bowman Committee, members of the subcommittee sought to inform themselves about the experience of Black students on campus. The group and/or chairman interviewed five student/young alumni members and the subcommittee reviewed online posts from Black alumni about their experiences. The chair also met with two Black alumni who graduated in the mid-1970s, one of whom went on to a storied career as a head coach at the University.

Members also reviewed graduate and undergraduate enrollment data by race. They found that white students are more likely to enroll in the University than students of other races/ethnicities. As of 2019, white students comprise roughly 65 percent of undergraduates who are not attending the University on a student visa; another 14 percent of undergraduates are Hispanic/ Latino; 4.4 percent are Black; and seven percent either did not identify their race or ethnicity or selected “multi/other” to characterize themselves. 

At the graduate level, 50 percent of the students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are white and just under 12 percent, Black. Just under seven percent are Hispanic/Latino, and less than six percent marked themselves down as “multi/other.” Almost eight percent of graduate students did not provide a race/ ethnicity.

In spring 2021, the Academic Affairs Subcommittee members met with a committee from the School of Arts and Sciences that had been asked by that School’s dean to explore the possibility of launching one or more courses that might lead eventually to an Africana Studies Program.

Recommendation 1

Develop a panel presentation for faculty, involving Black undergraduate students, who will share what, in their experience, works well in the classroom. The presentation would be organized by the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Center for Cultural Engagement.

Recommendation 2

Develop faculty workshops involving groups of faculty facilitators and a compilation of resources for faculty interested in integrating topics pertaining to race into their courses, both to be coordinated by the Center for Teaching Excellence.

Recommendation 3

Review existing course offerings pertinent to the academic study of race.

Recommendation 4

Explore the possibility of an Africana Studies Program (or an African American Studies Program) befitting the distinctive academic mission of the University.

Recommendation 5

Host a series of faculty panels focused on race-related topics. These panels would primarily be targeted for students but could be open to the general public. Their goal would be to contribute to a deeper understanding of the moral, social, and political challenges pertaining to race in light of Christian faith.

Recommendation 6

Provide funding to support faculty research and teaching on topics pertinent to the work of the Sister Thea Bowman Committee.

Recommendation 7

Foster volunteer mentoring between Black students and Black junior faculty and alumni.

Recommendation 8

Compile and study data on minority student recruitment and retention.

Community Building Subcommittee

Javier Bustamente (co-chair)
Director, Center for Cultural Engagement

Duilia de Mello (co-chair)
Professor, Department of Physics and
Vice Provost for Global Strategies

Taylor Nelson
Undergraduate student, School of Psychology

Victor McCrary, B.A. 1978

Jaime Walls
Assistant Athletic Director

Emmjolee Mendoza-Waters
Associate Director of Campus Ministry and Community Service

The Community Building Subcommittee was charged with examining, assessing, and making recommendations to improve how the University influences non-academic matters as they relate to race, culture, and faith. The subcommittee was asked to consider but not be limited to looking at University governance, the diversification of the student body, and the University’s relationship with alumni and nearby communities.

The subcommittee, which met weekly from October 2020 to April 2020, focused its efforts in three areas: student experience, governance, and the surrounding community. Members reviewed board composition, training resources, and strategic plans at other Catholic universities, held listening sessions with Black students, conducted an online survey completed by nearly 250 students, identified areas for faculty training, assessed the availability of support from existing student and professional student organizations, and identified strategic community partners.

The listening sessions with Black students revealed experiences that included microaggressions and incidents of racism on campus and in classes. Students felt a lack of empathy from some faculty and desired more support, such as a more diverse faculty and advisors to serve as mentors for students of color. The Center for Cultural Engagement is appreciated but has limited resources. Students also recommended racial-diversity training and a better orientation experience for new students that would include cultural affinity content for the campus and region.

The student survey revealed a strong desire for the University to engage with issues of diversity and inclusion outside the classroom setting. This would include campus-wide efforts to educate peers about issues of diversity and inclusion, particularly those dealing with race.

The subcommittee also considered the University’s diversity compared to national data. In fall 2020, nearly 12 percent of the University’s Board of Trustees were from underrepresented communities. By fall 2021, this increased to nearly 17 percent.

The University’s student body (undergraduate and graduate) is slightly more white (59 percent) than the nation’s overall population (54 percent) and less Hispanic/Latino. Eleven percent of the University’s students are Hispanic/ Latino compared to 18.5 percent in the U.S. population. Nearly eight percent of students are Black/non-Hispanic compared to 13.4 percent in the U.S. population, and less than four percent are Asian/non-Hispanic. The U.S. Census data from 2020 indicates the U.S. population has become increasingly multiracial and diverse.

An application submitted to a college guidance organization that gives equity and inclusion badges resulted in recommendations for the University, including a centralized equity and inclusion plan, targeted recruitment, support for employees of color, and on-campus support for students of color once recruited.

Recommendation 1

Strengthen the cultural competency curriculum for all student leaders, with collaboration between departments. Create a train-the-trainer program for cultural competency for staff responsible for student leadership development.

Recommendation 2

Develop a comprehensive and appropriate racial training/formation program for all University members, including faculty, staff, and students.

Recommendation 3

Develop Title IX-style training to address racial discrimination, including the reporting process for racial discrimination. Training should be provided for students, staff, and faculty, and the number of racial discrimination claims and investigations should be publicly reported.

Recommendation 4

Host an annual Sister Thea Bowman speaker series, with a variety of speakers addressing relevant and timely issues of diversity and inclusion. (Note: The Department of Library and Information Science currently sponsors the Library and Information Science Sister Thea Bowman Lecture Series on Social Justice.)

Recommendation 5

Initiate a national search for the position of chief diversity officer (or equivalent senior position), who will oversee implementation of recommendations from the Sister Thea Bowman Committee.

Recommendation 6

Diversify the ethnic/racial composition of the University’s board of trustees.

Recommendation 7

Develop a detailed plan for increasing the diversity of the student population.

External Affairs Subcommittee

Jacqueline Leary-Warsaw (co-chair)
Dean, Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art

Sean Sullivan (co-chair)
Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics

Karna Lozoya
Vice President for University Communications

Jeannine Marino
Secretary for Pastoral Ministry and Social Concerns, Archdiocese of Washington

Matalyn Vennerstrom
Graduate Student, Department of Politics

The External Affairs Subcommittee was given a charge to examine, assess, and make recommendations to measure and improve how effectively the University influences matters of race, culture, and faith in society and the world.

The subcommittee focused on the University’s role for participating in and influencing the conversation about race within academia, in the media, with the Church, and with community and civic institutions (government). Members reviewed available data on faculty and graduate student diversity, data that indicated racial disparities in how residents of Washington, D.C., experience daily life; and data on how universities have been responding to race since spring 2020. They also considered Church statements and teaching on racism, diversity, and culture, and current engagement with the local community through the University.

A full 82 percent of universities, such as Catholic University, have engaged in external communications about race since June 2020, according to Education Advisory Board, while 39 percent have made long-term commitments such as anti-racism training, recruitment and retention changes, provision of campus-based resources, and improved partnerships with local and regional communities. 

Faculty data indicates that Catholic University’s full- time faculty is three percent Black compared to six percent reported by the National Center for Education Statistics (2019). Catholic University full-time faculty is five percent Hispanic/Latino faculty members versus six percent nationally. 

The data shifts at the graduate student level, which the subcommittee notes is important since graduate students are the path to faculty recruitment. Twelve percent of Catholic University graduate students are Black versus 13.5 percent nationally, while seven percent are Hispanic/Latino versus 9.2 percent nationally.

A survey of 36 alumni provided insight into their experience at the University. Respondents were asked how race was handled at the University, and their perception of whether persons of color had an overall positive experience. Results were mixed. A majority noted that their experience at Catholic University inspired them in a positive way to “think more deeply or differently” about issues of race. A number of respondents called the University to a deeper commitment to racial equality and understanding, with several recommending this occur through the context of Catholic values and teaching.

One respondent wrote, “Most of the time they [incidents of racism] are the small things that go unnoticed.” Another, who had been an instructor, wrote, “Figuring out the best ways to help [Black and minority students] learn inspired me to think more deeply about questions concerning race, privilege, and how those experiences are often tied to a challenging socioeconomic background or being a first-generation college student.”

Recommendation 1

Create the Sister Thea Bowman Center for Racial Justice and Human Dignity, with a focus on issues related to racial justice and human dignity through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching and the Catholic response to racism and injustice. The center would house the chief diversity officer, and have visiting faculty, symposiums, resources, and support for dioceses in the area of racial justice and engagement with the local community on issues of race, justice, and civic engagement.

Recommendation 2

Work with the government relations liaison to build relationships and pursue funding opportunities for initiatives that seek to promote racial equality.

Recommendation 3

Promote racial equality in Brookland through work with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce in the National Catholic School of Social Service.

Recommendation 4

Obtain Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) designation from the U.S. Department of Education.

Recommendation 5

Develop a Catholic University statement on race.

Recommendation 6

Create a website that would clearly communicate the University’s commitment, goals, action steps, and progress, serving as a first step to help others identify Catholic University as a school committed to diversity.

Recommendation 7

Promote original scholarship on race, offering opportunities to be in the conversation at conferences, through books and articles, and as experts in the media.

Recommendation 8

Hold visible projects and initiatives addressing racism to increase conversation and awareness, such as an exchange program with an Historically Black College or University, a visiting scholar or faculty chair, podcast, high-profile symposium, or a moment of atonement.

Recommendation 9

Utilize the structures already in place (advisory neighborhood commissions, wards, Council of the District of Columbia) to listen, learn, collect data, and share ideas for intentional, external outreach.

Recommendation 10

Deepen the partnership, and opportunities for communication, with leaders of the city’s advisory neighborhood commissions and further prioritize the “town and gown” relationship by telegraphing University interests and respecting and supporting those of local communities.

Recommendation 11

Further establish a multi-faceted collaboration with leaders of each ward, and then the Council of the District of Columbia.

Recommendation 12

Pursue opportunities to collaborate with local business officials that reach beyond usual boundaries of partnership.

Recommendation 13

Create a series of local engagement or “community dialogue” events focused on matters of race. Invite local citizens and leaders to campus to participate in and/or lead the discussions.

Recommendation 14

Acknowledge and take actions based on the University’s role as a leader in Catholic higher education.

Recommendation 15

Develop programs that other Catholic institutions will be inspired to model.

Recommendation 16

Advance recruitment of faculty from underrepresented communities including position(s) focused on ethnic and multicultural studies and positions that build upon intellectual leadership on topics of race.

Recommendation 17

Advance recruitment of graduate students from underrepresented communities with increased funding for scholarships and expanded teaching opportunities, as well as the creation of assistantships, internships, post-doctoral fellowships, grants, and awards that encourage students of color.

Personal Formation Subcommittee

Rev. Jude T. DeAngelo, O.F.M. Conv. (co-chair)
University Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry

Judi Biggs Garbuio (co-chair)
Vice President for Student Affairs

Ansel Augustine
Past Executive Director for Cultural Diversity and Outreach, Archdiocese of Washington

Schola Eburuoh
Undergraduate student, School of Architecture and Planning

Juan Jones
Member of the Board of Trustees

The Personal Formation Subcommittee was charged with examining, assessing, and making recommendations to improve how effectively the University influences the attitudes and experiences of its students, and other members of the community, as related to matters of race, culture, and faith.

This subcommittee began its work by revisiting the University mission statement, leading to a recommendation to review and potentially update the statement to reflect a commitment to the whole person.

Additionally, the team reflected upon the experiences and contexts that influence students before arriving at the University, noting that “many students’ primary and secondary educational institutions and neighborhoods were not populated by people of different races, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds.” Today’s students are influenced by the culture and find great “meaning and purpose in serving others.”

Three recommendations from the subcommittee focus on building connection and understanding between students. The proposed experiences would focus on a number of outcomes, including strengthened communications; servant leadership; awareness, deeper respect for, and appreciation of cultures, life experiences, and heritages, especially those that are different from one’s own; and an understanding of personal formation as a lifelong experience that benefits not only oneself, but our community.

The subcommittee’s final recommendation would help support the Center for Cultural Engagement’s (CCE) transition program for first-generation students, provide advice for student organizations, and support programs and events that promote student development and community building.

Recommendation 1

Hold a President’s Weekend focused on servant leadership that provides an opportunity for student leaders to engage one another, the President and other University administrators, faculty, and staff in formal and informal settings off-campus.

Recommendation 2

Create an assistant director position for the CCE.

Recommendation 3

The University’s Board of Trustees should revisit the University’s mission statement, aims, and goals in order to make systemic changes that clearly articulate the University’s role in educating the whole person, describing the community to which we aspire, and conveying how this relates to working for the common good.

Recommendation 4

Offer personal formation not only during August Orientation, but throughout the academic year to expand student understanding of the relationship between the University community and Brookland; greater Washington, D.C.; and global communities.

Recommendation 5

Create a “Welcome to THE Catholic University of America” community experience, which would serve as the launch of a personal-formation year. These experiences would be held over several late spring/ early summer weekends prior to online summer Orientation from the Division of Student Affairs.

Workforce Development Subcommitee

Marcus Lucas (co-chair)
Senior Director of Facilities Maintenance and Operations

Melvin Williams Jr. (co-chair)
Associate Dean, School of Engineering

Kirk McLean 
Associate Vice President for Public Safety and Emergency Management

Matthew McNally
Senior Associate Vice President for Administration

Scott Rembold
Vice President for University Advancement

Jordan Tibbs, B.S. 2021

The Workforce Development Subcommittee was charged with examining, assessing, and making recommendations to measure and improve the University’s efforts in the areas of recruitment, training, and retention of its staff and faculty, as the decisions relate to race, culture, and faith.

The subcommittee reviewed the University’s strategic goals and policies related to this charge, obtained feedback from more than 25 percent of the University’s full-time workforce, reviewed employee demographic and retention data, and conducted in-depth meetings with 28 administrators, faculty, and staff.

The current University workforce is 51 percent white, 17 percent Black, nine percent Hispanic/Latino, and eight percent Asian. About 78 percent of tenured and tenure-track professors are white. Seventy percent of Hispanic/Latino employees and 57 percent of Black employees are in blue-collar positions. The subcommittee noted the University offers limited professional development and growth opportunities for staff and has a decentralized hiring process, which may affect efforts to surface a diverse pool of candidates.

Upon reviewing employee survey results, the subcommittee found the responses to the commitment of University leadership to racial diversity to be somewhat divided on a scale of 1–5. One survey question asked if the leadership at Catholic University encourages racial diversity, and 34 percent of the responses were favorable, 24 percent were neutral, and 42 percent were not favorable. Respondents were strongly positive regarding their own supervisor’s commitment to racial diversity and most indicated they understood the procedures to report incidents of discrimination and/or bias in the workplace.

Recommendation 1

Execute the University’s strategic goals and policies and maintain leadership accountability, with the University’s Staff Leadership Council to track and record the accomplishment status of the strategic goals.

  • Strategic Goal 1. Ensure that every aspect of the University is clearly and distinctively grounded in our Catholic identity.
  • Strategic Goal 2. Aim for the highest standards of academic and professional excellence.
  • Strategic Goal 3. Provide a vibrant, challenging, and uplifting collegiate experience.
  • Strategic Goal 4. Offer a demanding, efficient, productive, and rewarding work environment.
  • Strategic Goal 5. Use our distinctive identity as a basis for securing the resources needed to fund this Strategic Plan.

Recommendation 2

Establish a University statement that covers diversity, equity, and inclusion, and includes definitions and why this is important to mission performance.

Recommendation 3

Diversify the composition of the Staff Leadership Council, appointing racial minority members.

Recommendation 4

Proactively recruit racial minority students, faculty, and staff via leveraging the diocesan system locally, nationally, and globally.

Recommendation 5 

Establish and implement a voluntary “This Is Who We Are” program, with weekly voluntary presentations from staff, faculty, and students about the person’s role at the University, personal story/family background, culture, etc., followed by Q&A to increase community and understanding.

Recommendation 6

Create a written policy that the composition of members of the Staff Leadership Council is more representative of the University’s demographic population.

Recommendation 7

Diversify the composition of the Board of Trustees’ lay members to achieve greater diversity and inclusion.

Recommendation 8

Investigate how to address, via policy and action, the racial stratification situation within the workforce, and the salary disparity by race and gender, make recommendations, and implement.

Recommendation 9

Improve efforts to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce and student population by establishing and leveraging an internal network of mentors and advocates that may be able to connect— via personal relationships — with prospective and current faculty, staff, and students.

Recommendation 10

Standardize staff hiring practices via the establishment of a standardized policy and practice for hiring new staff, to include forming a diverse ad hoc committee, including the chief diversity officer (or chief performance officer) and a representative with experience in the skill area of the position to be filled.

Recommendation 11

Establish a team to define the content and budget needs of a centralized human resources training and professional development program to improve retention and professional development. This might include professional development course listings available to full-time employees at no-cost.

Recommendation 12

Improve efforts to recruit, hire, and retain a more diverse workforce by creating one new human resource staff position/member in support of diversity and inclusion in University hiring practices.

Recommendation 13

Improve mission performance with diversity and inclusion as a priority by hiring and/or appointing a chief diversity officer (or a chief performance officer). This could be a part-time position from within the faculty with the possibility of a full-time endowed position in the future. The individual should focus on execution of University strategic goals, serve on the Staff Leadership Council, and work closely with the President’s chief of staff.

Recommendation 14

Provide centralized human resources budget for marketing job postings to reach a broader pool of candidates.