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June 12, 2021

The President's Diversity Council is one of Caltech's administrative committees. Administrative committees are established by the president for the purpose of advising the administration on policy and procedural matters in a variety of areas. When an administrative committee is established, the president designates a member of the administration to oversee the committee. Administrative committees are established (and may be disbanded) according to the needs of the president and the administrator through whom the committee reports.

  • The president appoints committee members, based on the recommendation of the administrator through whom the committee reports.
  • A charter approved by the president delineates the duties and responsibilities of each administrative committee. Amendments or revisions to a committee's charter will be recommended to the president by the administrator through whom the committee reports.

Each administrative committee is authorized to adopt its own rules of procedure, as long as such rules do not conflict with the provisions of the charter approved by the president.

History of the President's Diversity Council

In 2007, Caltech's president established the President's Diversity Council in response to the recommendations of the Committee on the Student Experience and Student Affairs. At that time, the membership of the President's Diversity Council included broad representation from the campus community, including members of the Provost's Office, the Student Affairs organization, faculty, staff, and students. The efforts of the Council led, among other things, to an increase in the number of Hispanic students, greater support for LBGTQ students, a revision of the Freshman Summer Research Institute curriculum, and greater coordination of Caltech's K-12 outreach programs.

The Council took a temporary hiatus during the 2013-2014 presidential transition. In 2015, the composition of the Council was changed to refocus its efforts specifically on the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, students, and postdoctoral scholars at Caltech. The composition included only tenured faculty as voting members with the goal of ensuring that each member had autonomy to act candidly with the freedom to discuss any issue. The Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) served as chair of the council. In 2018 it was decided that the chair of the council should be separated from the CDO and should be a tenured faculty member. In the current incarnation, the chair is given leeway to set the agenda and goals for the council. The council has been given broad scope in supporting and providing recommendations for campuswide efforts in diversity, equity, inclusion, and assessment. The council aims for transparency of its deliberations and is responsible for maintenance of the President's Diversity Council website.

Committee Reporting

The President's Diversity Council reports to the president through the provost.

The committee chair will inform the president and the provost of the committee's deliberations and recommendations.

The President's Diversity Council will, on occasion, be tasked with providing reports in response to specific issues or initiatives.

The agenda and minutes for the President's Diversity Council meetings will be published on the this website, accessible with Caltech credentials.

Committee Composition

The President's Diversity Council will have nine standing members composed of a chair who is a tenured faculty member, one tenured faculty member from each academic division, and two division chairs. In addition, the Chief Diversity Officer, the Vice Provost for Education and the Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Assessment will each serve as Ex officio members. Appointments will begin on September 1st of a given academic year.

Committee Chair

The chair for the President's Diversity Council will be chosen by the president and will serve a three-year renewable term. It is expected that this will not be considered a lifetime appointment and significant deliberations should be had upon each renewal.

Committee Member Terms

Excluding the division chairs, members of the President's Diversity Council shall serve a three-year term that may be renewed once for a total of six consecutive years. Faculty can be reconsidered for the committee after being off the committee for three years. New standing members will be nominated to the president by the chair based on consultation with the committee and the chair from the division that the new committee member will represent. Consideration will be taken to ensure committee members are connected to broader diversity efforts within their division.

Division chairs will serve two-year non-renewable terms. Division chair terms will be staggered to ensure continuity of experience on the committee. New division chair representatives will be chosen by the president in consultation with the committee chair and the Chief Diversity Officer.

Ex Officio Members

Ex officio members are individuals who serve on the committee as a result of the office or position they hold. Ex officio members are not voting members of the committee.

Committee Duties and Responsibilities

The duties and responsibilities of the President's Diversity Council are broad and can include all aspects of the campus with regards to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The primary charge is to recommend actions that could enhance Caltech's efforts to diversify the faculty, undergraduate, graduate, staff, and postdoctoral scholar populations.

The President's Diversity Council will serve as a de facto advisory committee to the Chief Diversity Officer and will review/advise new policies proposed by the Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Assessment.