The university jumped from No. 69 in 2018 to No. 46 in 2019 and is tied for No. 2 among participating Texas institutions.
Texas Tech University continues to be a leader among state and national institutions in being an inclusive campus. For the third year in a row, the university earned the Premier Campus designation on the Campus Pride Index (CPI), a national assessment tool that evaluates the progress of colleges and universities in becoming more inclusive, welcoming and respectful of LGBTQIA individuals and allies.
This also is the second year Texas Tech has earned a 4.5-star overall score on the index, tying for second place among participating institutions in Texas and ranking No. 46 nationally among 335 participating institutions, up 23 spots from 2018.
"Under the leadership of our university president, Dr. Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech University is striving to be an institution that is competitive in all fields of study while simultaneously creating and fostering an environment where all recognize they matter and they belong," said Carol A. Sumner, chief diversity officer and vice president of the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DDEI). "We are proud of the work that is represented through the increased overall score and 4.5-star ranking. It truly is a reflection of our university commitment as indicated through our strategic plan and overall commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion."
Behind the improved CPI score is a campus-wide effort that includes numerous entities, led by the Office of LGBTQIA Education & Engagement, part of Student Affairs and DDEI. Since Jody Randall, director of the office, arrived on campus in January 2017, Texas Tech has shown consistent improvement in regards to campus inclusivity, improving from just 2 out of 5 stars on the CPI in early 2017 to a 4-star ranking in August 2017, then a 4.5-star ranking in 2018.
"The Campus Pride Index continues to be the leading instrument for institutions of higher education to benchmark efforts for LGBTQIA inclusivity," Randall said. "Our 2019 CPI assessment tells us that our institutional commitment is solid and we are on the right path to becoming a 5-star institution very soon."
An institution's overall score is based on a review of its responses submitted annually to the assessment. It includes eight evenly weighted components, each scored on a 100-percent scale, that provide a framework for campuses to evaluate their current environment. Institutions also receive a sexual-orientation score and the gender identity/expression score, which consider only questions specifically referencing sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
"During the 2019 assessment period, we focused on growth in several areas, including student life, counseling and health, and recruitment and retention efforts, and that investment returned our top rankings in those respective categories," Randall said. "The work will continue with policy inclusion and, most significantly, housing and residence life. We have partners across the institution, from senior administration to University Student Housing, who are committed to their practice of allyship."
From 2018 to 2019, Texas Tech improved in five of the eight categories, keeping the same scores in academic life (91 percent), housing and residence life (39 percent), and campus safety, the latter of which the university received a perfect score (100 percent) for the second year in a row.
The other categories are policy inclusion (77 percent, up 1 point), support and institutional commitment (91 percent, up 5 points), student life (98 percent, up 5 points), counseling and health (96 percent, up 11 points), and recruitment and retention (100 percent, up 11 points). Texas Tech also improved in the sexual orientation category, up 16 points from 75 percent in 2018 to 91 percent this year, and in the gender identity/expression category, up 17 points from 69 percent in 2018 to 86 percent this year.
"Texas Tech's 2019 ranking on the Campus Pride Index is representative of our institution's commitment to the LGBTQIA community," said Catherine A. Duran, vice provost for Student Affairs. "As many people around the world celebrate the LGBTQIA community as part of Pride Month, I am thankful for all of our students, faculty, staff and alumni who are making Texas Tech University a place that values and affirms our many identities. Student Affairs congratulates the Office of LGBTQIA Education & Engagement and will continue to engage the university community in the service of all of our students."