Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Honors College at Auburn University
Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Honoring the diversity of the human experience constitutes the very core of the Auburn University Honors College mission. Diversity is inherent to the Honors College, as it unites students, faculty, and staff from all corners of academia in the pursuit of higher learning and excellence. We embrace a philosophy of inclusive excellence wherein we celebrate our differences while honoring our commonalities. In doing so, we support Auburn University’s broader mission to usher in a brighter future through forward-thinking education, life-enhancing research, and selfless service.
The Auburn University Honors College values bringing together people from all backgrounds in order to prepare students for a future in the greater multicultural world. The honors experience centers on a unique array of academic, professional, social, and personal opportunities for growth, exploration, and engagement. Our unparalleled community of faculty, staff, and students from various disciplines dedicate themselves to the courageous pursuit of truth, compassionate service to others, and the creation of a more just world.
The Honors College community is dedicated to producing leaders who will break down barriers and shatter glass ceilings. The Honors College encourages and supports collaborations between all races, nationalities, sexual orientations, genders, abilities, beliefs, socioeconomic backgrounds, and ethnicities. These collaborations promote a safe environment in which all students, faculty, and staff are free to express themselves.
Awareness is the herald of change. To build a tomorrow in which we stand united in our differences, we must first seek to understand the challenges faced by those around us. The purposeful promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion is the foundation of our collective commitment to improve the lives of the people of Alabama, the nation, and the world.
Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion statement was student authored by our most recent CEO Fellows cohort: Kaitlyn Conner, Riley Locke, Brittany Ransom, and Haley Hanson.
Honors College | Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives
Active Programs & Initiatives:
Curriculum & Educational Programming
- Formed an Honors College Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
- Diversifying HONR instructors in terms of background, training, and specialization to increase the diversity of educational experiences for honors students.
- Partnership with the Office of Inclusion and Diversity to incorporate “Open Minds,” an interactive platform designed to depolarize communities and foster mutual understanding across differences, into our Honors Freshmen Exploration course that will reach over 250 of our incoming students.
- Offer inclusive and accessible fellowship advising through the National Prestigious Scholarship (NPS) program.
- Honors College staff members (2) sit on the McNair Scholars Committee, which is working to bring this scholarship program to Auburn University in the next application cycle. The McNair Scholars program prepares either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of traditionally underrepresented groups, for graduate education.
- Offer signature programming—like the k(no)w poverty? Week of Service—that supports our unit mission to educate students on critical social, political, and economic issues related to poverty in Alabama.
- Provide transportation to off-campus Honors College Career Day events in order to make them accessible to students with need.
- Develop resources for and encourage faculty and staff to use universal teaching methods in all HONR courses.
- Launched new Matthews Scholar program in collaboration with OID and Office of Undergraduate Research. The program seeks to address equity gaps in undergraduate research opportunities for students from underrepresented communities. The intervention provides funding for additional undergraduate research fellowships that will focus on students from underrepresented groups.
Unit Culture & Community
- Establish hiring committees from a diverse pool of Auburn University faculty and staff.
- Actively recruit Honors College student leaders from underrepresented majors and with diverse life experiences to share so that current and prospective students see other students like themselves in the Honors College.
- Our student research projects highlight the diversity of the Honors College experience and, as with the CEO Fellows, promote the expansion of diversity and inclusion programming and initiatives within the college.
- Enable students to add preferred names/pronouns into Advise Assist.
- Student leaders include preferred pronouns as a part of their bios on the unit website and have them printed on their nametags. Staff are encouraged to do the same.
- Honors student organizations highly involved in on-campus and off-campus diversity initiatives.
- Ensure that all Qualtrics surveys pass the WCAG ability check, meaning those who are differently abled will still be able to participate in surveys.
- An Honors College staff member serves as an Action Committee Leader for the Academic Life and Retention Committee, which serves to foster LGBTQ+ inclusion at Auburn University.
Student Recruiting & Support Services
- Guaranteed admission for Alabama valedictorians and salutatorians.
- Partnership with OID for events aimed at increasing underrepresented student populations, such as the Tiger for a Day and War Eagle Scholar Day programs.
- Partnership with both COSAM and ENG for events like STEM Visitation Day, which encourage underrepresented student populations to enter STEM majors at Auburn.
- In addition to broad recruiting efforts across the state, Title I schools or those who have majority free/reduced lunch receive information about our Director’s Choice initiative. Director’s Choice applicants receive the most holistic evaluation for acceptance.
- Grant fee waivers to students who are Pell Eligible or have other documented need.
- Make alternative fall and spring break experiences accessible to all students by covering the cost of fees, housing, and most meals.
- Offer Transfer Transitions for students who join the Honors College as upperclassmen and transfer students.
- Partnership with AU Global to invite applications from international students who have successfully transitioned out of AU Global and meet our transfer student requirements.
- Provide closed captioning on all Honors College videos.
- Complete a diversity study identifying when and why special populations of students leave the Honors College.
Goals for Growth
- Continue to strengthen collaborative relationships with colleagues working in the area of diversity and inclusion, including OID and COSAM and Engineering diversity and inclusions units, in order to ensure unit alignment with best practices in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students.
- Continue to collaborate with Office of Admissions to devise strategies to attract high achieving underrepresented student populations to Auburn University and to the Honors College.
- Secure new scholarship opportunities to recruit and support underrepresented student populations within honors, especially in their first year.
- Encourage staff to meet with other campus partners and learn about programs related to underrepresented groups at AU to gain professional development training.
- Establish a partnership with the PLUS program to increase recruitment efforts with that population.
- Increase signage in the office demonstrating Cater Hall as a safe space.
- Work with the university to advocate for gender-inclusive restrooms.
- Encourage staff to use gender-inclusive language at all times.
- Consider dietary needs and religious food preferences at all Honors College events.
- Develop a directed approach to recruiting a more diverse group of students for National Prestigious Scholarships.
Statement of Solidarity
In the summer of 2020, the Honors College released a statement of solidarity on our social media sites. Read that statement in its entirety here.
Auburn University Resources
Auburn University launched a new website that offers helpful diversity, equity and inclusion resources to those in the Auburn Family.
The webpage—www.auburn.edu/inclusion—provides access to several resources for current and prospective students, faculty and staff, parents and alumni. The page was created to serve as a vehicle for the university’s ongoing commitment to embracing all members of the Auburn Family while making sure everyone feels welcome as students return to campus for fall semester.
Auburn University Bias Education and Response Team (BERT)
The Bias Education and Response Team (BERT) consists of a cross-disciplinary group of staff and faculty who will ensure that students, faculty, and staff have the means to report bias incidents, share information about incidents reported to the BERT, and advocate for prevention and awareness programs. BERT members will also connect those impacted by bias-related incidents with immediate and ongoing support resources.
The Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning
Discover and engage with an array of inclusive, evidence-based programs that support a systematic and scholarly approach to teaching and learning excellence. These programs are designed for you to exchange ideas with colleagues in other disciplines and receive actionable ideas to improve your teaching.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Auburn University’s Employee Assistance Program is administered through American Behavioral and is available to all benefit-eligible employees. An EAP program is a confidential assessment, counseling, and referral service for all regular employees and their eligible dependents who need help in any of the following areas:
- Marital and Family Issues
- Alcohol and Other Drug Dependency
- Stress-Related Issues
- Financial/Legal Referrals
- Emotional Problems
Human Resources – Campus Relations
The mission of Campus Relations is to support programs and services that either improve or maintain the quality of work life for Auburn University employees. Campus Relations programs comprise onboarding, employee recognition, conflict resolution and avoidance, policy interpretation and grievance processing for staff employees.
Human Resources – Human Resources Development
Auburn University Human Resource Development has training and professional development resources to help you engage, learn and grow. University employees and departments have access to a variety of resources, all of which foster engagement and growth. We encourage a journey of lifelong learning as supervisors and employees work together on development.
Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Employment
The Office of Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity (AA/EEO) strives to ensure an equitable working, living, and learning environment for members of the Auburn University community. The Office works to ensure equal access to employment and educational opportunities and investigates and resolves issues of harassment and discrimination based on protected class, including race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, age, disability, protected veteran status, and genetic information.
Office of Inclusion and Diversity
The Office of Inclusion and Diversity serves as a vital resource for building unity, equity, and inclusion in the Auburn University community. To that end, the Office of Inclusion and Diversity provides educational and social programming to foster positive living, learning, and working environments for all constituents.
Safe Harbor believes, supports and assists students and employees of Auburn University who have experienced power-based personal violence, including dating/domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking/ harassment.
24/7 Crisis Phone Number: 334-844-SAFE(7233)
University Ombuds Office
The Auburn University Ombudsperson is a neutral and confidential resource with training in conflict resolution who provides confidential and informal assistance to all members of the campus community. The ombudsperson will listen to your concerns, give you information about University policies, help you evaluate your situation, and assist you in making plans to resolve the conflict.
For committee minutes, documents, or other information please contact our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Chair, Suzanne Hunter.
Last modified: March 1, 2023