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Diversity office plans campus climate survey
December 3, 2013Tweet
A campus climate survey that will be distributed next spring to faculty, staff and students is the main goal of the 2013-14 academic year for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
“My hope is that we will get it compiled, distributed and have the results back by the end of the academic year,” Chief Diversity Officer Valerie Hampton said. “We would like to have the data in front of us over the summer so we can plan for the (2014-15) year.”
The survey would provide a first-ever comprehensive assessment of how various constituent groups are feeling, what the overall work/life experiences are like, and opinions on diversity and equity issues.
“We will want to know what kinds of experiences people are having in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ,” said Hampton, who served as the University’s director of affirmative action for 12 years. “What is that experience like? How are different groups feeling individually as well as collectively?”
The office will then take the survey results and decide where future emphasis should be placed.
“We have to be engaged with people,” Hampton said. “It’s not like the office will get all of the data back and create things. If we can get as many people as possible engaged in a survey, then we will have people who can step up and be engaged in issues that are of interest to them.”
Established in August 2013, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion works with faculty, staff and students to promote a climate that values diversity, equity and inclusion, and is free of bias and harassment.
The office is a strategic initiative that came from the Road Map process. A diversity office was a personal priority during the process for President Harvey Stenger and Hampton said she was happy to see him lead by example.
“All of the literature about diversity and inclusion says that it starts at the top of the organization,” Hampton said. “It doesn’t happen if the leadership isn’t intentionally committed to diversity. So to have Harvey say that this is an important goal and value to him was extremely exciting. I was very pleased.”
The office, which includes Diversity Specialist Lea Webb, is supported by six divisional liaisons who assist Hampton in developing initiatives. They are: Daryl Santos, academic affairs; Joe Schultz, administration; Julia Quigley, advancement; Ed Scott, athletics; Randall Edouard, student affairs; and Lisa Gilroy, research.
“Each of them bring different strengths to the role,” Hampton said. “They are each from different divisions, but some have marketing skills and others have research-oriented skills. Athletics is at the table. Human Resources is at the table. They are bringing perspectives that are both divisional and professional to this work. They are all passionate about this.”
While the group members have met to discuss future goals and initiatives, Hampton said she foresees the office stressing the importance of the community.
“This is an opportunity to engage with community groups at all sorts of levels,” she said. “People don’t just come to a community to work at a job. They come to be part of a community. We need to be connected so we are able to articulate all of the wonderful things the community has to offer. It’s a recruitment tool. It’s a retention tool. It’s a good-citizenship tool.”
Hampton is hopeful the office, now located in LS-G663, will move to a more central location in the Couper Administration Building by the spring. In the meantime, she has been pleased with the campus support of the office.
“People have been extremely positive in their response to both the creation of the office and me as chief diversity officer.”