DEIJ Strategic Plan

President’s Charge to the Community

Lori E. VarlottaCalifornia Lutheran University is a future-focused, faith-friendly institution whose mission and values reinforce the power and potential of diversity and inclusion. These two characteristics of our community are ones we hold dear and expect to operationalize day in and day out. Indeed, the faculty and staff at Cal Lutheran are called and empowered to challenge barriers that limit human potential as we prepare students to lead a life of meaning and purpose in pursuit of socially-just communities.

The actualization of diversity and inclusion does not occur by happenstance but rather by purposeful and inclusive planning. With that in mind, constituents from all parts of the institution have been called together over the last fifteen months to formulate three university-wide plans: the Strategic Plan, the Campus Plan, and the integrated Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) Plan. Together, these three plans will directly shape California Lutheran University’s future. When we say we are a “Future-Focused University,” we mean it…and these plans detail what that future will look like.

The DEIJ Strategic Plan described below is the first in our University’s history, and it has come together thanks to the collective efforts and energies of DEIJ champions.  The foundation for this plan was set years ago by colleagues who helped us achieve our designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). Today’s DEIJ Plan builds on this groundwork by cultivating a community of practice that seeks to use our Lutheran values to concretely address the evolving needs of our Latinx and historically underserved students.

The formulation of the particular plan that follows was undertaken by the University’s inaugural Chief Diversity Officer and the cross-departmental core team with whom she partners. During the 2021-22 academic year, these DEIJ experts and advocates crafted an early draft of the plan, and I thank them for getting us started.

Like many realistic and functional plans, this is an iterative one that will change and develop as more and more people get involved and lend their expertise and experience. Therefore, I invite all of you reading it to lend your voice, your support, and your experience. There are many ways to get and stay involved in DEIJ work, and the more of us who do so, the broader and deeper the impact of our intentions.

Help us bring it to life in ways that will positively and productively shape the community where we work and study.


Lori E. Varlotta, PhD

Icon of clipboard  Executive Summary

Planning Process and Community Engagement

Cal Lutheran’s inaugural Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) spent much of her first year on a listening and learning tour. She met with faculty and staff from all the affinity groups, leaders from many of the student cultural groups, staff from the Center for Global Engagement, and many others across campus. She then used what she had heard and seen from that assessment to craft the first draft of a DEIJ Strategic Plan. 

The CDO shared ‘draft one’ with the DEIJ Core Team, and they offered feedback and counsel that produced the next version of that plan. That second draft was shared with the Cabinet who, in turn, shared it with their respective leadership teams for feedback and buy-in. That feedback was incorporated into the third draft.  The third draft was then shared with the Faculty Senate as well as the Staff Senate for their feedback and buy-in.  Again, feedback was incorporated and reflected below.


The Campuswide Plan

The DEIJ Plan that follows addresses the following:

DEIJ Infographic

Relevant program areas throughout campus have been charged with assuming specific roles in the above. 


Assessment and Accountability

The DEIJ Plan includes metrics and a reporting system with a scorecard to keep track of progress. Additionally, an annual diversity report with student, staff, and faculty demographic data will be shared with campus.  

Under the guidance and leadership of the Cabinet and President’s Equity Council, we will use the following metrics and reporting systems to hold ourselves accountable for implementing the above strategies:

  • Progress on plan of action steps and initiatives, scorecard
       ○ Satisfaction survey of institutional commitment 
  • President and CDO report to Board of Regents on the progress of the DEIJ Plan
  • Monitor and report out on student admission, access, and retention
  • Deans and administrative leaders report on DEIJ Plan progress during annual budget process
  • Leaders, faculty, and staff report on DEIJ activity as part of their regular job evaluations
  • Create an annual snapshot of hiring, retention, and promotion data to clearly delineate employment trends – publish on DEIJ website
  • Create an annual snapshot of student enrollment, student success and graduation with disaggregated data – publish on DEIJ website
  • Share high-level findings of all the above with the Board of Regents and campus community

Modeling the Way

Cabinet and members of the President’s Equity Council are expected to model support of the DEIJ Commitment which reads as follows:

Aligned with our University mission, the faculty and staff at Cal Lutheran are called and empowered to challenge barriers that limit human potential as we prepare students to lead a life of meaning and purpose in pursuit of socially-just communities.

Cabinet and members of the President’s Equity Council are expected to develop a sophisticated understanding of the following key concepts and use these concepts as a lens to make decisions around policies, practices, programs and services.

Icon  Diversity

Diversity at California Lutheran University refers to the differences that individuals and groups bring to the community as we contribute our own unique gifts. Diversity comes in the form of intersectional identities related to race, ethnicity, national origin, age, religious beliefs, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, physical characteristics, and being differently abled. Diversity also comes from the differences in thought and perspective that are associated with lived experiences.

Icon  Equity

Equity at California Lutheran University means providing students, faculty and staff with specific opportunities, access, and resources to reach their full potential. Equity acknowledges that each of our starting points to and paths through Cal Lutheran are different. Therefore, equity means we commit to supporting individuals and programs with what they need now to succeed here. This support varies from person to person and from program to program. As such, equity is not synonymous with equality.

Icon  Inclusion

Inclusion at Cal Lutheran goes beyond being invited into the community. It means creating the space for everyone to fully participate and engage in the community. As such, it necessitates the creation of structures and systems that foster genuine belonging and connections, including those inside and outside the classroom. 

Icon  Justice

Justice at Cal Lutheran is putting into practice diversity, equity, and inclusion concepts as we transform institutional practices, policies, and norms. Justice is achieved by embodying our Lutheran values, confronting challenging issues, examining biases, and dismantling structural and systemic barriers. We model justice so that Cal Lutheran students may go on to become what our mission describes: leaders for a global society who are strong in character and judgment, confident in their identity and vocation, and committed to service and justice.


Icon of chart  Overarching Strategies

The DEIJ Strategic Plan is comprised of seven key strategies. Click the items below for details.