Campus-wide survey to focus on diversity, inclusion

By Kimber Williams | Emory Report | Oct. 13, 2016

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Faculty, staff and students are being asked to participate in a campus-wide survey, distributed via email, to assess the culture and climate surrounding issues of diversity and inclusion at Emory.

A campus-wide survey to assess the culture and climate surrounding issues of diversity and inclusion at Emory will be emailed to the University community on Oct. 17.

A collaboration between Emory’s Office of Equity and Inclusion and the Office of Institutional Research, the project marks the first university-wide survey to examine diversity and community engagement among faculty, staff and students, says Lynell Cadray, associate vice provost and university Title IX coordinator.

With this summer’s appointment of Emory President Claire E. Sterk, who has identified inclusion as a priority within her campus vision, a growing interest among schools and units in assessing opinions and perceptions on the topic, and the recent work of the Commission on Racial and Social Justice, the time was right for a survey, Cadray says.

“Emory must move from diversity to inclusion by creating a culture of true equity, inclusion and opportunity,” Sterk says. “It requires that we build the strongest environment for embracing new ideas, different styles of thinking, flexibility and a shared commitment to the value of difference.”

The Diversity Engagement Survey (DES) was selected as the instrument to help measure the campus climate for its question design, ease of use, customization options, and positive peer reviews, according to Cadray.

“As a community, we’ve talked a great deal about diversity and inclusion over the past few years,” she says. “People are now ready for us to do something, to move the needle forward. To do that, we need more information.”

“It’s important for us to know who really cares about these issues, what they care about, and what factors are important to them,” she adds. “This gives everyone an opportunity to have a voice.”

The two-part survey, which takes about 10 minutes to complete, was developed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts and will be implemented by DataStar.

The first section of the survey offers 22 closed-response questions, focusing on inclusion and engagement indicators such as:

  • Access to opportunity
  • Sense of belonging
  • Trust
  • Appreciation of individual attributes
  • Respect

The second portion of the survey seeks demographic information and presents open-ended questions. “It provides a chance for the community to speak up and speak out,” Cadray says.

“Sometimes, students, faculty and staff may have thoughts or observations they don’t feel comfortable saying out loud in a group setting,” she says. “This will allow them to share those opinions and perceptions.”

Findings will be shared with the entire University next spring. “We’ll have a number of sessions to talk about the results, which will also be posted on the Office of Equity and Inclusion’s website,” Cadray says.

Survey results will be used to determine baseline strengths and weaknesses related to diversity and inclusion and provide “valuable, actionable data that we can use to guide us as we move forward,” she adds. “I’m hoping engagement will be high.”

“This year’s Racial Justice Retreat did important work in gathering information and establishing goals,” Cadray says. “This survey will provide even more data from an even wider audience with a wider voice. It’s an additional tool to use as a guide as we move forward.”