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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

Read TLU's Strategic Vision For Diversity

View TLU's Diversity Action Plan

Land Acknowledgement

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

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.

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      David Ortiz

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