Commitment To Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
As a Lutheran institution of higher learning which serves a diverse community, our heritage grounds us in a belief that all people are beloved and fallible, that our lives are for the common good, and that we are called to be part of the unfolding justice and mercy of God.
We Are Committed To:
- Equality - We promote a culture of mutual respect and strive to create opportunities for all.
- Inclusion - We are committed to fostering a welcoming atmosphere that respects and celebrates contributions made by our diverse community members and their cultures.
- Social Justice - We are called to work alongside people on the margins to empower them and to improve their quality of life.
- Freedom - We value dialogue, difference, and debate in pursuit of knowledge and understanding that encourages growth and discovery.
- Leadership Through Service - We value opportunities for growth as global citizens and leaders through service learning and civic engagement.
Proud To Be A Hispanic-Serving Institution
Among the 26 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) member colleges and universities, TLU is distinctly the first ELCA school to achieve the federally recognized designation of Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education. The HSI designation is achieved when the total Latinx student enrollment is 25% or more. Currently, TLU is one of two ELCA schools that maintains an HSI designation but enrolls the largest number of Latinx students. The university officially became an HSI in 2011.
Diversity Action Plan
In Spring 2018, the university was one of 25 colleges and universities selected to participate in an institute sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges and Universities summit on Diversity, Civility, and the Liberal Arts. Participating in the institute led TLU to develop a detailed action plan focused on the following goals:
- Expand student support systems in ways that consider distinctive needs of our diverse student body
- Prioritize faculty and staff diversity at every level of the university
- Build models on our campus for civil discourse across difference
- Refine and expand curricular offering in ways that emphasize diversity and inclusion
- Increase co-curricular modules devoted to diversity and inclusion
- Implement a university-wide review and revision of hiring procedures with the goal of increasing diversity
- Host a lunch series on cultivating civility in both the classroom and student life
- Expand educational opportunities in interfaith diversity through curriculum revision and invited speakers
- Train faculty and staff in the pedagogical practices of the Inter-Group Relations (IGR) program at the University of Michigan
- Prioritize diversity issues in the next university strategic plan
TLU acknowledges the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Karankawas, Tonkawas, Comanches, Lipan Apaches and others on which today we are learning, working and organizing as visitors on their lands. For centuries, the indigenous peoples of this land hunted, gathered in celebrations, and engaged numerous visitors who were both hostile and peaceful in nature. Although our university humbly occupies 184 acres, TLU wishes to affirm to the Ancestors, Elders, and Relatives of the aforementioned, their sovereign rights as First Peoples.
Campus-Wide Diversity Efforts & Resources
A Special Message From President Cottrell
Texas Lutheran University’s excellence is directly tied to its diversity. We are fortunate to be a campus that encompasses a variety of backgrounds, a diverse array of perspectives, and a respect for difference. We are particularly proud to be a place that welcomes and supports first-generation college students. By design and practice, we serve and reflect our region well. The values articulated in our Commitment to Diversity Statement—equality, inclusion, social justice, freedom, and leadership through service—provide the foundation for the teaching and learning that take place at TLU every day.
We also recognize that the critical work of diversity, inclusion, and equity is not easy, nor is it ever finished. The environment on our campus requires that we continually put energy toward respect, education, and communication as we celebrate the differences within our community.
Our Diversity Committee, working closely with the President’s Cabinet, will continue to do important work on our campus. We anticipate focusing on opportunities associated with training and development, search processes, and assessment efforts to help inform our strategic planning process. The success of this work will require that all members of our campus community participate in these opportunities and consider individually and collectively how we will grow and advance the concept of being an inclusive campus.
As the president of TLU, I am committed to furthering all of these efforts and to celebrating the diverse components that comprise our community of learning and community of faith. It is an honor to join you on our journey of excellence and diversity.
TLU is one of 26 colleges and universities associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States.
TLU students, faculty, and staff have a wide variety of religious identities, including no religion at all. We welcome religious diversity and believe that it enriches our life together. We do not require a faith commitment of any kind.
Chapel services on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays provide opportunities for prayer, community, and spiritual growth. These are purely voluntary and incorporate worship practices from many Christian traditions. As part of the general education curriculum, students take at least one course in theology so as to cultivate informed reflection on faith and its relation to the contemporary world.
More than half of our students are also first-generation meaning they are the first person in their immediate family to attend or graduate from college. Many of our faculty and staff are also first-generation college graduates.
Fall 2022 Overall Student Body
- White: 41.7%
- Hispanic: 42.8%
- African American: 9.6%
- More Than One Race: 3.8%
These numbers were sourced from the TLU Registrar's Office as self reported by students as reported on their application for admission. International, Asian/Islander, and Native American students are included in the remaining percentages as well as students who reported unknown.
- White: 41.7%
Title IX Information
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. It reads:
"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
Legal Citation: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and its implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. Part 106 (Title IX). Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment and sexual assault.
- Campus Climate Survey
TLU encourages student involvement through a wide variety of organizations, events, activities, workshops, seminars, and structured experiences that promote personal learning and growth in a student-centered environment. Organizations include the Mexican American Student Association, Black Student Union, SAFE (Sexual Awareness For Everyone), Environmental Action (EnAct), Mariachi Oro y Negro de TLU, and many others.
The Counseling Center at TLU recognizes at its core that bias and discrimination have devastating consequences on marginalized individual’s physical and mental health. Data on race, ethnicity, gender and gender identity show time and time again that the experience of bias has a severe impact on individuals’ feelings of self-worth, willingness to receive care, and ability to attend to medical and mental health conditions as they arise. Clinicians must do the work to understand and respect the needs of all of their patients as a matter of the care they provide at the most basic and human level.
We are committed to helping students navigate challenges related to mental health and well-being. We offer free and confidential services to all registered TLU students.
For additional information about accommodations or counseling services, please email Sarah Westerfield, LPC or call 830-372-6585.
Center For Servant Leadership
TLU's Center For Servant Leadership is dedicated to civic engagement; the action to meet the basic needs of a community. TLU graduates are empowered to collaborate for positive social change, both as local leaders and global citizens.
At TLU, we know that transformation happens through relationships. We grow the most when we learn and do with community partners, rather than for them. TLU faculty and staff design service and civic engagement projects to invigorate learning about community, personal civic identity, and the strengths of both academic and community knowledge. Learning boldly and living to inspire doesn’t wait until graduation – it’s an everyday experience at TLU.
The Diversity Committee is composed of VP for DEI, Faculty Association Chair, Center for Teaching and Learning Director, Black Student Union Advisor, African American Studies Director, Women's Studies Director, Student Affairs Representative (appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs), Mexican American Studies Director, MASA Advisor, Counseling and Disability Services Director, SAFE Advisor, Campus Pastor, and Student Representative(s) (elected by SGA).
Responsibilities of the committee are to meet regularly throughout the academic year to address DEI related issues and to prepare an action plan each spring and shares it with the campus community each fall.
- Cultural Centers
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Staff
Dr. David A. Ortiz
Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Title IX Coordinator
Administrative Assistant for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Associate Vice President for Human Resources
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Human Resources Coordinator
Director for Title IX Services and Equity Compliance
TLU Human Resources
Annual IGNITE Awards
The Individual and Groups iNspiring Inclusion Through Excellence (IGNITE) Awards are designed to honor the contribution of TLU’s community in creating an atmosphere that celebrates inclusive excellence and builds a campus culture where all are welcomed. Recipients of these awards are the people who ignite the TLU torch regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. The IGNITE Awards Program is a partnership between The Staff Association and the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
- Faculty Award: Full-time TLU employee who demonstrates a significant contribution to DEI
- Staff: Full-time TLU employee who demonstrates a significant contribution to DEI
- Student: Currently enrolled student at TLU that demonstrates a significant contribution to DEI
- Department: TLU academic or administrative unit that demonstrates a significant contribution to DEI
- Program or Event: A campus event that demonstrates a significant contribution to DEI
- Special Recognition: An external individual or organization that partnered with TLU to foster and/or demonstrate excellence in DEI
Texas Lutheran University is committed to providing a workplace and educational environment, as well as other benefits, programs, and activities, that are free from discrimination and harassment based on a protected category, and retaliation for engaging in a protected activity. To ensure compliance with federal and state civil rights laws and regulations, and to affirm its commitment to promoting the goals of fairness and equity in all aspects of the educational program or activity, the University has developed internal policies and procedures that provide a prompt, fair, and impartial process for those involved in an allegation of discrimination or harassment on the basis of protected class status, and for allegations of retaliation. The University adheres to all federal, state, and local civil rights laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination in institutions of higher education. This policy covers nondiscrimination in both employment and access to educational opportunities. Any member of the University community whose acts deny, deprive, or limit the educational, employment, or benefits, and/or opportunities of any member of the University community, guest, or visitor on the basis of that person’s actual or perceived membership in the protected classes listed above is in violation of the University policy on nondiscrimination.
Current DEI Grant-Funded Initiatives
Called To Serve Cohort
This grant is funded by the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE). TLU has created a cohort of faculty and staff to engage in discussions focused on vocation and calling with an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Fifteen faculty and staff are participating in the Called to Serve Cohort (CSC).
The CSC included an overnight retreat at the start of the fall 2022 semester, followed by a series of brown bag luncheons designed to include deep-dive discussions and personal reflections on vocation and integrating vocational calling into employee and student development. Based on learning outcomes and discussions with the Called to Serve Cohort, a university-wide ConVOCATION will be planned for TLU.
Holistic Exploration of Careers by Hands-on Opportunities (HECHO)
The Student Success Acceleration Implementation Grant is a federal grant administered by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. This grant funds the Holistic Exploration of Careers by Hands-on Opportunities (HECHO) program designed as a comprehensive career preparedness initiative that includes hands-on learning opportunities for first generation and economically disadvantaged students.
HECHO is a Spanish word meaning “made” or “done.” HECHO at TLU is designed to ensure first-generation and economically disadvantaged students make progress toward career preparedness through personal exploration and experiential learning via an asset/strength-based program. This program is three-fold: 1) a focus on personal skills and strengths identification, followed by 2) hands-on career preparedness activities, and 3) faculty training on asset-based pedagogy with course integration. DEI and the Office of Student Affairs are institutional partners on this grant.
Nuestra Historia (Our Story): Becoming An HSI
Through a generous grant from The Council of Independent Colleges, TLU is creating a documentary length film that captures the lived experiences of individuals with first-hand knowledge of TLU’s institutional story as it became a HSI. Additionally, an eBook will be written as an academic resource for the film.
DEI Enhancement Funds
- The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has partnered with Student Government Association to establish the DEI Enhancement Fund. This fund was established to foster educational initiatives that increase the understanding, celebration, and commitment to learning regarding activities related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- The DEI Enhancement Fund is open to any TLU faculty, staff, student, or student organization that needs supporting funds for a program or activity. Applications are reviewed on a monthly basis by the DEI Enhancement Fund Committee. Supported Activities include: Cultural Holidays, Awareness Initiatives, Achievement Celebrations, and Innovative/Insightful programming.
- The funding range per application is up to $1,000. Funding will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis. To apply for the DEI Enhancement fund, please complete the application.
DEI Short Course
- In partnership with the Center for Teaching and Learning, a DEI Short Course is taught each academic year designed to address culturally relevant pedagogy and best practices for designing classes that validate students as learners and create a sense of belong and academic resiliency.
Recent & Past Campus Events