Viterbo University is committed to building a campus climate where everyone is welcome. Each person at Viterbo deserves to be recognized, understood, and respected. We live our values when we embrace diverse cultures, identities, experiences, and perspectives. We encourage you to explore how we are putting these words into action.

Student Access
  • Incorporate diversity metrics, statements, actions in admissions marketing materials, 2021  
  • Added countries for demonstration of English proficiency waivers to minimize hurdles for enrollment, 2021
  • Signed a memorandum of understanding with Aptiv to provide a collegiate experience for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, 2020  
  • Created scholarship program to support enrollment of underrepresented students (currently $300K approved to date), 2019–2021
  • Implemented test optional admissions policy to expand access to a Viterbo education during COVID, 2020  
  • Reengineered Education Loan Agreement to not require a social security number to remove barriers to attendance, 2019  
  • Implemented holistic application review that examines students' experiences, personal characteristics, achievements, skills and abilities, and academics as a strategy to increase the diversity and cultural competency of the rural health workforce, 2018–present
  • Expanded exams/providers from which English proficiency scores are accepted (Pearson’s PTE, Duolingo), 2018–2019
  • Added bilingual admissions counselors (Spanish, Hmong), 2018
  • Chosen first name and preferred personal pronoun fields added to admissions application and used in recruitment communications
  • Developed series of admissions and financial aid materials in Spanish and Hmong, including a contact list of employees who speak either language, 2018
  • Established a protocol for visual representation of diversity in marketing materials that reflects the university’s true racial and ethnic diversity metrics, 2018
  • Added 11 recruitment partnerships across more than six additional countries to provide opportunities for more international students from more countries (Nepal, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Malaysia, Ukraine) in addition to the ten countries of current students, 2017–present
  • Added English as a Second Language as a program option to the federal form I-17 which allows international students to enroll in an ESL program, regardless of intent to pursue an academic degree at Viterbo University, 2017
  • Enhanced fundraising for scholarships to support diverse student enrollment, over $250,000 raised
  • Awarded federal grant funding to support enrollment and retention of underrepresented students in nursing (HRSA N.U.R.S.E.S.)
  • Included focus on Latinx student recruitment in University of Opportunity: Hope and Help strategic plan, 2015–2020
Student Success and Support
  • U.S. News ranked Viterbo University as one of its top schools for social mobility for 2022.
  • Created a task force to review campus policies and climate surrounding LGBTQ+ issues
  • Hosted five student listening sessions with administration, spring 2021
  • Hosted Dialogue in the Diversity Lounge, conversations in small groups in a relaxed atmosphere, 2021
  • Hired Director of Intercultural and International Student Support to support our underrepresented and international students, March 2020, later reorganized to the Office of Multicultural Student Support and Global Engagement, fall 2021. Hired a graduate assistant to support the work of the office. 
  • Established Viterbo Speaks Up as a website where students, employees, and family members can report crimes, worrisome behaviors, harassment, sexual violence or assault, hate/bias discrimination, violations of the Viterbo University Student Code of Conduct, and other issues and concerns, 2018  
  • Established an Interfaith Prayer Space within Campus Ministry, 2018
  • Launched the Military Aligned Student Initiative to attract, enroll, support, and graduate active duty, reserve, and veteran students and their dependents, 2018 
  • Implemented a “Chosen First Name” and personal pronoun policy, 2018  
  • Established the Identities Project, a forum that provides opportunities for our community to explore and discuss gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, social class, ethnicity, and other facets of identity through intentionally-reflective civil dialogues, lectures, documentaries with discussions, and other programs, 2017
  • Received federal grant funds to promote retention and improved graduation rates for all students through building additional advising, counseling, and student-alert systems, 2015–2021  
  • Established the student Pride Club, 2010
  • Established the Breaking Barriers student group, 2010
  • Created a Diversity and Inclusion Lounge, 2010
  • Enhanced “Living in a Diverse World” seminar to identify best practices and existing challenges for integrating racial justice and equity more fully into the LDW sections, 2020  
  • Revised Master of Arts in Education (MAE) program to include courses, “Culture and Language Acquisition” and “Equity and Social Justice in Education”, 2020
  • Adjusted the English as a Second Language program into three distinct levels of proficiency with pre- and post-assessments for more clarity to students on their progress, 2020
  • Revised the bachelor completion programming and structure to serve more effectively the needs of working professionals seeking a bachelor’s degree, 2019–2020 
  • Modified the nursing curriculum and admissions process: implemented holistic review admissions procedures, completed the Learning Across Multidimensional Perspectives (LAMP)© Culture and Climate Survey and ongoing curriculum revisions, in part, on the LAMP survey results 2017–present
  • Launched “Living in a Diverse World” mission seminar as a required course for all undergraduates, 2010
University Leadership and Structure
  • University president meets with the Social Justice and Equity (formerly Combatting Racism and Injustice taskforce) leadership group once a month, 2020–present  
  • Cabinet and Deans' leadership team reviews the progress on the Social Justice and Equity (formerly called Combatting Racism and Injustice) initiatives once a month (as standing agenda item), 2020–present  
  • Granted 25% release for two faculty members to lead the Social Justice and Equity (formerly Combatting Racism and Injustice) taskforce, 2020–2021
  • Appointed Sr. Laura Nettles as Executive Director of Mission and Social Justice effective July 1, 2021
  • Formed the Combatting Racism and Injustice task force to accelerate efforts after the killing of George Floyd and the international call for racial equity that identified four priority areas: 1) Employee Training, 2) Hate Bias Policy and Incident Response, 3) Staffing and Compensation, 4) Changing Institutional Culture and Climate, June 2020  
  • Assembled the Diversity, Civility, Inclusion taskforce that launched, among other things: training on working with the LGBTQ+ community for all employees; grant programming and space dedicated to interfaith understanding; campus climate survey, 2018–2019
  • President Glena Temple tasked three new vice presidents to lead initiatives focused on promoting diversity, social justice and equity, 2017  
  • Established the Diversity Committee (now Equity and Social Justice), 2010
Employee Training
  • All faculty will complete a 12-16 hour online course on inclusive teaching practice this spring.
  • Restorative justice training for select student success staff, 2021
  • Cohort of 30 faculty and employees in workshops to deepen their own understanding of equity and social justice and lead small group discussions on campus, Spring 2021  
  • Advising strategies for working with BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students (Lisa Konkel, Viterbo University), 2021  
  • Cohort of 55 campus leaders take part in a three-part (nine hour) anti-bias training to inform their work on search committees, spring 2021 
  • Safe Zone training (Kristen Nyholm, Viterbo University), 2021  
  • Green Zone training (Keith Purnell, Viterbo University), 2021 
  • “Microaggressions” (Amanda Goodenough), spring 2021  
  • Key training made available to Board of Trustees members, spring 2021  
  • Update and discussion on Viterbo’s work to promote Equity and Justice (David Saunders Scott and Michelle Pinzl, Viterbo University), required, fall 2020
  • “Experiential Processing through Analogies of Implicit Bias and Microaggression” (Dr. Suthakaran, UW-La Crosse), required, fall 2020
  • “Combating Bias and Microaggression” (Megan Pierce, Viterbo University), required, fall 2020
  • Title IX Training on sexual harassment/violence, required, fall 2020
  • “Cultural Humility: Moving Beyond Cultural Competence to Advance Equity and Social Justice” (Amanda Goodenough, UW-La Crosse), fall 2020
Employee Access, Recruitment, and Hiring
  • Add the position of Executive Director of Inclusive Teaching and Learning, a tenure track faculty member who will lead ongoing professional development on culturally relevant teaching and learning, lead curriculum evaluation and revision to promote equity, and develop assessments to measure and share progress. A graphic outlining the structure can be found here
  • Created a task force to review campus policies and climate surrounding LGBTQ+ issues
  • Complete an in-depth compensation study for all employee ranks, 2021–2022  
  • Create new hiring guides and training sessions for all search committees to increase the number of faculty and staff of color, 2021–2022  
  • Create a long-term training program and accountability measures, 2021–2022  
  • Created the position Executive Director for Mission and Social Justice to integrate and facilitate institutional efforts such as programming, outreach, and education related to mission integration and social justice, 2021  
  • Expanded the vacant Director of Human Resources position into an Assistant Vice President for Human Resources and Institutional Equity charged with a review and update of institutional policies related to equity and inclusion for employees, talent acquisition, learning and professional development, among other duties. This position will serve on the Dean and Cabinet leadership group, 2021
  • Hired Director of Intercultural and International Student Support to support our underrepresented and international students, March 2020  
  • Granted 25% release for an academic leader to lead curricular review and improvement related to equity and social justice
University Culture, Climate, and Policy
  • Add a day of Social Justice and Equity themed day of service and learning.
  • Offer Social Justice and Equity conversations let by faculty and staff including topics of: Inequity and Racism in Science – Past and Present, Academic Advising and Social Justice, Amplifying the Voices of Black Youth and their Parents Viewing & Dialogue, Discussion: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and White Fragility, Discussion: The 1619 Project and the 1776 Project.
  • Install additional security cameras in residence halls and assess additional camera needs, 2021
  • Hire an Assistant Director of Campus Security, 2021
  • Provide additional staffing support for campus security spring 2021
  • Draft and approve a land acknowledgement statement and build a greater understanding of the indigenous populations in our region, 2021–present
  • Hired an external firm to offer ways for Viterbo's handbook and website to better reflect inclusion, equity, and social justice, 2021–present
  • Strengthen infrastructure for equity and social justice work, slated for academic year 2021–2022
  • Expanded Martin Luther King Day of Service, Learning, and Celebration 
  • Established art committee to evaluate and improve our emphasis on equity and social justice through our visual art on campus, 2021
  • Approved and implemented a hate/bias policy, 2021
  • Approved and implemented a hate/bias response team, 2021
  • Rebranded and expanded education campaign on "Viterbo Speaks Up" to increase transparency and reporting efficacy, 2021
  • Established town halls and listening sessions where campus leaders share information about what is happening on campus and allow an opportunity for students, families, guardians, and employees to address challenges they may be facing and ask questions, 2020–present
  • Established Viterbo Cares website, email, and telephone line to offer access for students and their families and guardians with questions and concerns, 2020
  • Expanded emphasis on inviting speakers, experts, and guest artists of color, 2020
  • Conducted a campus climate student survey, 2019
  • Established Viterbo Speaks Up website where students, employees, and family members can report crimes, worrisome behaviors, harassment, sexual violence or assault, hate/bias discrimination, violations of the Viterbo University Student Code of Conduct, and other issues and concerns, 2018
  • Adopted a definition of diversity to guide the work on campus that includes race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and age, 2010


Table 1: Overall percent of students of color enrolled at Viterbo
  Fall 2017 Fall 2018 Fall 2019 Fall 2020
Viterbo students of color 8% 8% 10% 14%
Undergraduate students of color 8% 9% 13% 15%
New first-time students of color (graduate and undergraduate) 9% 9% 19% 16%


Table 2: Viterbo undergraduate student retention and graduation rates
  Students of color White, non-resident, non-disclosed
6-year graduation rate 58% 53%
5-year graduation rate 52% 57%
4-year graduation rate 43% 49%
Third semester retention rate 73% 77%
Fifth semester retention rate 60% 67%


Table 3: Faculty/employee racial and ethnic diversity: percentage Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)
  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
  N Total % N Total % N Total % N Total % N Total %
8 120 7% 8 118 7% 7 117 6% 4 104 4% 4 105 4%
12 296 4% 10 298 3% 12 305 4% 14 299 5% 14 302 5%