Montclair State University​

Montclair State University

Montclair State University is a public institution that was founded in 1908. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 16,988, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 486 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. The enrolled student population at Montclair State University is 44% White, 25% Hispanic/Latino, 11% Black, 9% Race Unknown, 5% Asian, 3% Multiracial, and 2% International. There are about 63% identified female and 37% identified male students. 95% of students are from New Jersey.

Engagement Summary

Montclair already had resources on its campus such as the Office of Social Justice and Diversity, a Women’s Center, the Faith and Spirituality Center, the Multicultural Center, and the LGBTQ Center. Montclair also had the Counseling and Psychological Services Outreach and Community Programs, and they ran an “Agents of Change Empowerment Certificate Program” for student leaders. Cultural programs were provided in Montclair, and some of these were Connecting Across Cultures, Mosaic Women, Culturally Based Student Organizations Outreach, and Sister to Sister.

The Student Government Association allocated a significant budget to Student of Color Organizations, and the Academic Affairs Division launched a new program on campus called Hispanic Serving Initiatives. Montclair State University established a Bias Education Response Task Force, which served to respond to bigotry regarding race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, and national origin. With the addition of multiple positions dedicated to aiding students from marginalized groups, the diversity of staff, faculty, and students increased.

Affinity groups on campus provided a sense of community for faculty and staff of color, and there was programming available on campus for open discussion on national and international events/issues. Montclair State University was already developing a healthy and inclusive environment for their student body. To further improve upon this environment, it was recommended that recruitment efforts with the Admission Office were to be reviewed and discussed to ensure their message reflected experiences of students of color.

Another recommendation was for collaboration with other offices on campus to establish multicultural and unconscious bias training to faculty.

The final recommendation was for technology to be used more effectively in promoting events and services on campus, as well as for connecting students of color.


Midterm Evaluation Progress-to-Goal Snapshot

Montclair State University had a goal to provide a Spanish translation for the Counseling and Psychological Center website,  to present the EMHF recommendation to the upper administration that is responsible for budget distribution, and to discuss with New Jersey University and College Alliance of Prevention of Suicide (NJUCAPS) members to learn what programs and initiatives they have for mental health of students of color at their 45 institutions.

Highlights include:

  • The vice president of Student Affairs, Karen Pennington, provided staffing resources, approved the change in the D and I position, and increased the staff to support students of color.
  • Sudha, the Coordinator of DEI initiatives, developed and worked with the Office of Social Diversity and was able to see students of color for therapy.
"Through the EMHF Project, we were able to glean from focus groups held with both students and staff the kinds of changes we need to make in order to better support the mental health needs of our diverse student population. For instance, the EMHF preliminary summary report provided us with data that detailed several specific themes that our students and staff expressed during the focus groups and offered our team with suggestions to improve support for our campus. The student focus group provided us with helpful information about stressors among students of color (e.g. religious prejudice among Hispanic and African-American students when seeking help for mental health issues) and staff members in our focus group discussed challenges they face while supporting students of color (e.g. students of color are aware of resources, but are not utilizing them). Dovetailing nicely with our work with the EMHF Project, our university has developed the new Office of Social Justice and Diversity and this department has been instrumental in working to shift attitudes and bring light and discussion to difficult topics that we need to continue talking about as a community. Also as recommended, we've reached out to other campuses in the state to inquire what steps their institutions have taken to support the mental health needs of their students of color in order to determine whether similar programming would also benefit our campus. Overall, the EMHF Project has been an incredible resource that provides structure for building sustainable mental health infrastructure for students of color."
Montclair State University