The place to be…and the
place to “be”
The College of the Liberal Arts prides itself on being an innovative hub of groundbreaking research and intellectual discovery—a place where students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds come together to examine and offer solutions for the most critical issues facing society today.
of students identify as a member of a minority group
Hispanic or Latinx
Black or African American
5/5 stars for overall campus climate in the 2022 Campus Pride LGBTQ-Friendly Campus Climate Index
Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity
The college’s Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity supports the success of students traditionally underrepresented in higher education and serves as a collaborative link with other University stakeholders who do the same. The office helps students get involved through student organizations, research opportunities, and education abroad experiences and manages the selection of Bunton-Waller Fellows and Bunton-Waller Merit first-year undergraduate students. The office also supports the recruitment and retention of traditionally underrepresented faculty and staff in higher education.
Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Transformation
The college’s Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Transformation (CODIT) advises the dean on policies, initiatives, and procedures to encourage inclusion and diverse representation among Liberal Arts faculty, staff, and students. Committee activities:
- Formulating initiatives
- Supporting proposals for college stakeholders
- Helping to keep college strategy aligned with college and University commitments to diversity and inclusion
- Borja Gutiérrez, Assistant Teaching Professor of Spanish
- Mathias Hanses, Assistant Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (Co-Chair)
- Koraly Perez-Edgar, McCourtney Professor of Child Studies and Professor of Psychology
- Kevin Conaway, Director, Digital Pedagogies and Initiatives
- Brian Patchcoski, Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Earl F. Merritt, Director, Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity (Co-Chair)
In addition to substantial financial aid, underrepresented students at Penn State and in College of the Liberal Arts can access resources, attend cultural events, and participate in out-of-classroom and professional development opportunities that help you reach your goals. The college has its own Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity dedicated to supporting Liberal Arts students.
Liberal Arts Student Organizations
The Minorities in the College of the Liberal Arts (MCLA) helps minoritized students in the college access resources and build a college community.
The Ph.D. is the most advanced degree in the field of economics and is generally considered a research degree. Many candidates are often unprepared for the rigor and highly quantitative nature of graduate studies in economics. The CARE program can help improve your odds of being admitted to top Ph.D. programs by bridging the gap between the undergraduate major and core courses in graduate studies.
Penn State Offices
Summer Research Experiences and Law School Preparation Programs
External Funding Opportunities
Graduate School Preparation
The College of the Liberal Arts is committed to the recruitment, development, graduation, and placement of outstanding students from diverse backgrounds. Over twenty-five percent of Liberal Arts graduate students are international, including many from Asia and Africa, and over seventeen percent of domestic graduate students are minorities.
Graduate Alliance for Diversity and Inclusion
The Graduate Alliance for Diversity and Inclusion (GADI) is an organization devoted to the principles of diversity and inclusion among graduate students in the College of the Liberal Arts. GADI is a space for building community, sharing knowledge, and advocating for policies that promote diversity and inclusion for underrepresented students.
- Join a committee or the book group
- Find resources for inclusive teaching, conference opportunities, and funding
- Attend events
- Sign up for the newsletter
- Follow GADI on social media
Some departments in the College of the Liberal Arts have their own organizations to connect prospective and current graduate students with one another.
BRIDGE is a diversity action alliance consisting of faculty members and graduate students in the Department of Psychology who are interested in promoting and addressing diversity-related issues within our program community.
Each year, Cultivating Underrepresented Students in Philosophy (CUSP) organizes a summer workshop and a fall workshop held at Penn State. They are directed toward prospective graduate students in philosophy from traditionally underrepresented groups.
PIKSI is designed to encourage undergraduate students from underrepresented groups to consider future study in the field of philosophy. PIKSI emphasizes the on-going project of greater inclusiveness that is transforming the discipline, inviting students to be participants in the conversation.
Faculty and Staff
The College of the Liberal Arts strives to increase diversity and fully include members of underrepresented groups among our faculty and staff. Diversity in our employees enhances overall creativity, intellectual pursuit, and accomplishments, and contributes meaningfully to the training of citizens in a democratic society. The qualities that people from diverse backgrounds bring to institutions of higher education help us think more complexly, consider varied perspectives, create new approaches, and achieve excellence as community members and leaders in an ever-changing world.
Research and Outreach Initiatives
The largest-ever grant awarded to Penn State by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation seeks to build an expanded intellectual community of and for visiting and resident graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty of color.
These programs offer professional development, career advancement, and mentoring opportunities that make it easier for mid-career faculty—especially humanities and social sciences faculty from underrepresented populations—to achieve full professor status.
The Staff Advisory Committee in the College of the Liberal Arts hosts a series of lunchtime workshops for staff focused on topics like accessibility, pronouns and gender, and equity in higher education.
The goal of the department’s Diversity Promotion Committee is to increase the diversity of its students and faculty, foster an inclusive climate, and promote professional development.
Established in 2019–20 under the co-directorship of Gabrielle Foreman and Shirley Moody-Turner, the center is a public-facing unit committed to bringing the histories of early Black political organizing to digital life through innovative scholarship and collaborative community partnerships.
The Africana Research Center promotes research and scholarship that advances the historical and contemporary understanding and enhancement of the lives of African Americans, Africans, and Afro-Caribbean peoples.
A college outreach initiative promoting the health and well-being of children, youth, and families from diverse backgrounds (mostly in the greater Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area) through culturally sensitive and community-engaged research projects.
Launched by Sinfree Makoni, professor and director of the African Studies program, worldwide participants engage in online conversations that hope to decenter hegemonic epistemologies and decolonize the Western canon to facilitate other ways/waves of knowing.
Published by the University of Illinois Press, the journal was founded in 2007 as Black Women, Gender, and Families. Effective in 2023, the journal is housed at Penn State in the College of the Liberal Arts, where it is co-edited by founding editor Jennifer Hamer, professor of African American studies and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.
The Critical Philosophy of Race Initiative in the Rock Ethics Institute seeks to develop the philosophical tools necessary to meet the ethical and intellectual challenges posed by new forms of racism as well as the legacy of the inherited racisms. It also turns the spotlight on philosophy itself, its history and the shocking lack of diversity within many philosophy departments today.
In addition to the college resources above, there are many resources related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging throughout the University and local community.
The College of the Liberal Arts is dedicated to free and critical inquiry into the human condition in all of its social, cultural, and historical diversity. We are committed to maintaining a fearless and inclusive environment that supports an open and respectful exchange of ideas in the classroom, on campus, and on line. To that end, we do not tolerate threats, intimidation, harassment, vandalism, and violence directed at anyone in our community, no matter their race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, immigration status, socioeconomic status, political convictions, or disability. And, we support the work of all our departments and programs, including those focusing on the experiences of underrepresented groups.
Use our Find a Resource tool to explore other college and University resources related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Find a Resource tool.