During the 2013 spring semester, after many months of planning and thoughtful development, members of our entire campus community had the opportunity to share their perceptions and experiences through a Campus Climate Survey for Diversity and Inclusion.
Dr. Roger Worthington of the University of Missouri was the external consultant who helped develop the survey and focus group activities. He also analyzed the results. Over the summer, he completed that work, and now, with everyone back on campus, we're rolling out those results and recommendations through a series of documents and campus town hall meetings.
The overall results show a very positive perception of our campuswide commitment to fairness and equity. More than 92 percent of you reported an overall sense of confidence in our commitment and procedures that support equity. That is gratifying and positive information, of course.
We had, however, asked Dr. Worthington to go beyond the overall perceptions. We asked him to dive deeply into our campus culture and help us identify the policies, attitudes and structures that despite that overall positive perception did not meet our expectations for supporting our diverse faculty, staff and student body. We knew that on any campus with a population of some 30,000, there are pockets of structural and cultural issues that need to be addressed.
The results did indeed find such pockets where our University is not all it can and should be. A major finding was that some members of our campus community do not feel empowered to report unfair or discriminatory treatment that they may experience or witness. That needs to change. We have a series of recommendations and solid tools already in place and more that we can add to address those issues.
Our most important tool is what we do best—education. I urge you to read the news release that reports some of the findings and turn to the executive summary, which includes more detail. Please also plan to attend one of the early October town hall sessions that will bring Dr. Worthington back to campus to roll out the findings and recommendations, answer your questions about the study outcomes and the methodology, and facilitate the discussion about next steps.
The sessions will all be held in the Bernhard Center and are set for:
- 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2,
- 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, and
- 6:30 p.m., following the Faculty Senate meeting, also on Thursday, Oct. 3.
Please take advantage of one of those meetings to become better educated and more aware of our accomplishments and challenges. Ours will be a better University for your effort and input.
John M. Dunn