The university received four out of five stars on the Campus Pride Index, the national benchmark for measuring progress in creating an inclusive campus learning environment for LGBTQIA students, faculty and staff.
In February, Texas Tech University set out to become a more inclusive campus for those within the LGBTQIA community. The goal was to increase the university's Campus Pride Index score from two out of five stars to three stars by April 2018.
Texas Tech surpassed that goal eight months ahead of schedule and is now recognized as a Premier Campus with a four-star ranking on the index. The ranking is one of the highest among Texas institutions included on the index.
"The Campus Pride Index is the leading tool for institutions of higher education to use in assessing progress towards more inclusive campuses for LGBTQIA individuals,” said Jody Randall, administrator of the Texas Tech Office of LGBTQIA. "It is extensively tested by student affairs practitioners and researchers in the field. Texas Tech submitted information to the index two years ago, and the results were constructive in showing us a roadmap of where we needed to invest time, efforts and resources.”
The ongoing efforts of students, faculty and staff proactive in making Texas Tech more inclusive were bolstered when Randall was appointed as the university's first LGBTQIA administrator in January.
"Receiving this rank on the Campus Pride Index is a great achievement for the newly opened Office of LGBTQIA, as well as Texas Tech University, as we work toward the goal of creating an inclusive community for all Red Raiders,” said Kimberly Thornton, director of the Center for Campus Life.
The Campus Pride Index examines eight aspects of an institution: policy inclusion, support and institutional commitment, academic life, student life, housing/residence life, campus safety, counseling/health and recruitment/retention efforts.
"The missing piece was an entity to coordinate efforts and better direct attention to areas where we know additional work is needed,” Randall said. "We are now offering more regular programming opportunities while simultaneously thinking big-picture about where we need to be going forward to better serve our LGBTQIA students, faculty and staff. Specifically, Texas Tech has made significant progress in the areas of student life and counseling and health on the index.
"Texas Tech is an inclusive educational environment for all – including LGBTQIA individuals – and this ranking further affirms ‘From Here, It's Possible.'”
Randall said work will continue to ensure Texas Tech continues to improve how it serves its community of students, faculty and staff.
"Those who live, work, and/or study at Texas Tech should note the ongoing and visible commitment being made to the LGBTQIA community,” Randall said. "While we celebrate these results, we will use this external feedback to improve areas of our institutions where it is warranted and continue to institutionalize the equitable treatment of students, faculty and staff, regardless of one's orientation or identity. Our work begins today to become a five-star institution on the index.”