TU again recognized nationally for its diversity, equity and inclusion leadership

Insight Into Diversity magazine highlights TU’s zero achievement gap, student programs

By Kyle Hobstetter on July 5, 2022

Students and staff at the university's ebony celebration
Thanks to programs offered by organizations like Center for Student Diversity and Student Success Programs, Towson University is only one of a handful of universities in the country, and the only university in Maryland, to have no achievement gap. (Sam Levitan / For Towson University)

Towson University continues to be recognized for its work delivering inclusive excellence on its campus.

Insight Into Diversity magazine, a national publication focused on diversity in higher education, featured Towson University and focused on how TU serves as a leader in diversity and inclusion.  

“For decades, TU has operated numerous student success programs and incorporated diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) principles to ensure that its large population of students of color and those from disadvantaged backgrounds can achieve their goals,” the article states.  

The article also showcases how Towson University is only one of a handful of universities in the country, and the only university in Maryland, to have no achievement gap. This means all underrepresented student groups achieve the same or better academic success as the entire student population.

In 2020, Black students at TU had a six-year graduation rate of 74%, while overall six-year graduation rates were at 73%. This not a one-time occurrence, as Black students have surpassed the overall degree completion rate at TU eight years in a row.

Towson University also has a minority graduation rate of 70% and enrolls the second-largest population of minority students in the state of Maryland. The 2021 Towson University incoming first-year class was the most diverse in school history, with 59% identifying as a racial or ethnic minority.  

TU’s diversity is now nearly identical to that of Maryland, which is one of the first majority minority states on the East Coast.

“These recognitions are truly a testament to the entire TU community,” says Towson University President Kim Schatzel. “I am so proud of Towson University's reputation as a national leader in diversity and inclusive excellence.”

This isn’t the first time Towson University has been honored by Insight Into Diversity. The publication recognized TU with a Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award in 2020 and 2021.

TU was one of only two universities in Maryland to be recognized and one of 101 honorees across the country. It is the only national award recognizing U.S. colleges and universities for demonstrating “an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion across their campuses,” according to the publication.

Towson University was also recognized by U.S. News & World Report for inclusive excellence. TU climbed to No. 70 in social mobility, which looks at the number of Pell Grant recipients and compares their graduation rates to those of non-Pell Grant recipients at the university.

Much of this continued success can be attributed to the programming offered by on-campus resources such as the Center for Student Diversity and Student Success Programs.

TU established the Center for Student Diversity (CSD)  to aid the university in its efforts to foster inclusion, collaboration and relationship building. The CSD provides academic, social and transition support for underserved students and promote exchanges and dialogues between individuals of diverse backgrounds.

Programs and student groups supported by the CSD include:

Student Success Programs (SSP) is another department on campus that supports economically disadvantaged, first-generation and marginalized students through mentorship, community-building and skills development.

Some of the programming SSP has created to help students include:

  • Man 2 Man, a support group that provides a confidential space for male-identifying students of color to better understand themselves and others in the context of gender, race, culture and social pressure.

  • The Students Achieve Goals through Education (SAGE) program, which provides peer-to-peer mentorship that fosters academic achievement, personal development and campus-wide involvement.

  • Generation One, a program that provides first-generation college students with tailored mentoring and guidance to foster both academic and personal accomplishment.

In addition to the student-focused groups and programs, Towson University’s Office of Inclusion and Institutional Equity has implemented staff and faculty DEI initiatives to improve the cultural competency on campus. This includes LGBTQIA+ ally training and anti-racism affinity groups and faculty dialogues.

And in 2020, Towson University introduced its inaugural Diversity Strategic Plan. The plan, “A More Inclusive TU: Advancing Equity and Diversity (2020–25),” is firmly grounded in the premise that TU's ongoing success is dependent on the university's capacity to shift perspectives and approaches and strategically place diversity, equity and inclusion at the core of its mission.

“Addressing the needs of a diverse population and creating a sense of belonging for all increases graduation rates,” says Patricia Bradley, TU’s Vice President for Inclusion and Institutional Equity. “Supported students return as supporting alumni. It is our job to ensure that the experience of our students is one that promotes a sense of community and provides support for personal, academic and career related endeavors.”