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Western Kentucky University

Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion

Signature Programs

The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion leverages inclusive excellence, access, and social justice through the implementation of the following Signature Programs.

  • Diversity Initiatives Planned/Launched August 2013-June 2015
  • University-wide Cultural Celebrations Advisory Committee
  • Day of Dialogue
  • Diversity Fellows Certificate Program
  • Diversity Research Institute
  • Faculty Fellows Program


 Inclusive Excellence Series

This series focuses on innovative strategies that increase degree completion for under-represented students. As well as recruitment and retention of under-represented faculty and staff.

Hats Off to Women Luncheon

The WKU Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion recognizes outstanding women whose work, life, and commitment have helped make a difference in our community. Honorees serve as leaders and role models to other women, students, colleagues and/or the community. Award recipients are honored at the annual Hats Off to Women luncheon held in March during Women's History Month.

Award Categories

The Hats Off to Women awards recognize women in the following categories:

  • Community Member
  • WKU Students
  • WKU Administrator
  • WKU Faculty
  • WKU Professional Staff
  • WKU Support Staff

Award Criteria

Nominees in each category meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Gives back to the community through her time, talent and/or resources
  • Has been a role model, mentor and/or advocate for positive social change
  • Has garnered respect within the community
  • Is dedicated to helping women and girls achieve their goals through support, empowerment and/or inspiration
  • Exhibits qualities of leadership, integrity and dedication
  • Reinforces attitudes and/or actions that are intended to produce equitable outcomes for all
  • Demonstrates excellence in her contributions to students, colleagues, and/or her institution (in such areas as service, innovative programs, teaching, research, etc.)

Outstanding Black Graduate Recognition Ceremony

OBG Student
Courtney Morrow was selected as an Outstanding Black Graduate for the Class of 2013. She is first African-American female student to graduate with a degree in physics from WKU.

The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion sponsors the Outstanding Black Graduates Recognition Ceremony each semester. The Outstanding Black Graduates program began on the campus of Western Kentucky University in May of 1998. Since then, this program has grown and flourished into an eagerly anticipated event by the University, families, friends, and in particular, the graduates. It honors African American students who have successfully completed all requirements for graduation and it also seeks to empower students to continue successful ventures while remembering the contributions of Western Kentucky University to their success. It is a gathering of family, friends, and the university family to celebrate the accomplishment of each of the students. The program is filled with music, high spirits, inspiration, and excitement. During the program, each student is presented with a Kente stole, which symbolizes the richness of their heritage and their accomplishments. All graduating Seniors are invited and encouraged to participate.

How To Participate

Because we have to place orders with companies outside of WKU, it is important that you meet the listed deadlines.  If you miss a deadline, we cannot guarantee that you will receive a stole or be fully included in the program.

STEP 1 - Complete Application for O.B.G. (for application contact Jackie Pillow at 270-745-5066)

STEP 2 - Make Registration Payment & Take Personal Photo.

Registration Fee: Participating students are required to pay a $25 dollar registration fee, and participants in OBG will recieve a Special GIft, a Kente Stole, a Gift for your Parents/Spouse, and a Commemorative Book! Payments must be made at the Office of Diversity Programs, which is located on the 4th floor of Potter Hall, room 425.

Personal Photo: This is a head shot photo that will be taken at The Office of Diversity Programs when you turn in your Registration Fee. The picture will be taken in Cap & Gown (which will be provided at the office). This picture will be featured with the participants statement in the commemorative book.

STEP 3 - Submit Personal Statement for the Commemorative Book!

Personal Statement: This is your time to express your thanks & appreciation to family & friends.  400 words or less. If your statement is over 400 words the OIDI staff will edit it to accommodate our printing needs.  Email your statement to:

Please contact the OIDI for any questions.

Project C.L.A.S.S.

Project C.L.A.S.S. (Creating Leaders and Shaping Sisters) is a semester long enhancement program designed to aid African American females in various aspects of collegiate development. The program focuses on helping young women achieve success in six identified areas: academic excellence, health & well-being, leadership development, professionalism, vision/legacy building, and personal development (identity formation). The incentive that drives their engagement in the program is a $1000 scholarship. This prize is awarded to the individual who demonstrates the most significant development during the course of the program.

View photos from Project C.L.A.S.S.

Project C.L.A.S.S. 1/2

Project C.L.A.S.S. 1/2 is an initiative created to allow female students of color the opportunity to build community and develop a support network amongst themselves during the spring semester, with the hope that they will participate in the full Project C.L.A.S.S. program fall semester.

The Come Up

The Come Up is an enhancement program designed to aid African American males in various aspects of collegiate development. The program focuses on helping young men achieve success in six identified areas: academics, peer/ professional etiquette, spiritual growth, physical, emotional, and mental well-being. The participants are required to attend weekly meetings/workshops that address the identified areas. They are also required to do projects outside of weekly meetings to show evidence of applying and retaining information learned from the six areas of success. Each session is interactive, affording the participants the opportunity to interact with various professionals from the campus and the local community at large. The incentive that drives their engagement in the program is a $1000 scholarship and the purchase of a business suit. The scholarship is awarded to the individual who demonstrates the most significant development during the course of the program.

The Come Up's goals are multi-faceted and encompass several components to ensure the success of the program and the students. The first goal is to garner self-efficacy for the young men and to help them adapt to the collegiate environment. Secondly, we look to connect the students to campus and various departments to assist in their success. Lastly, we teach the general skills necessary for professional success, i.e. time management, goal setting, financial preparedness, general etiquette, and language skills.

The Governor's Minority Student College Preparation Program: Project A.I.M.S.

(Activating Interest in Minority Students)

The goal of the program is to enhance the awareness for minority middle school students to the benefits and values of a college education.  The program is free for anyone who wishes to participate.

Click here to read more and learn how to apply.

The MissEducation Symposium

In 2012, the WKU Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion was given a grant from the WKU Sisterhood, a group of women who make a gift of $1,000 each and collaborate to advance university priorities through philanthropic engagement and a collective voice. This grant was awarded to support programming intended to increase retention and graduation rates of women of color. Majority of these funds are to be used to allow WKU to host a statewide Women of Color Conference, which has been entitled The MissEducation Symposium.

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 Last Modified 9/25/14