In October 2012 the Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) released the preliminary report on the Spring 2012 University of Puget Sound Campus Climate Survey findings. The survey was organized according to the definition of social diversity as outlined in the Diversity Strategic Plan:
Social Diversity: Characteristics that could cause groups or individuals to be systematically excluded from full participation in higher education, including age, disability, gender, race/ethnicity, religion/spiritual tradition, sexual orientation, job status or socioeconomic class, personal appearance, and political beliefs.
The preliminary report, a collaborative effort between Institutional Research and the DAC, focused on the collective change in experiences and perceptions of Puget Sound campus climate as reported by faculty, staff, and students surveyed in 2006 and 2012. Read the full report.
During the 2012–13 academic year the DAC presented the preliminary findings to numerous groups on campus including student leaders, the Faculty and Staff senates, department chairs and directors, Student Affairs and academic leaders, the Cabinet, and the Board of Trustees. During this sharing process feedback from campus community members was discussed and documented.
In addition, members of the DAC thematically coded all the written commentary from the survey using an agreed upon coding system and reviewed numerous data displays of the quantitative data. For each focus area of identity/social participation the DAC identified themes with underlying issues and recommended actions.
Based on patterns in the quantitative data, qualitative comments, feedback from campus community members, and other institutional data sources, the DAC identified five facets of identity/social participation for in-depth analysis: gender, religious beliefs, socio-economic status, political beliefs, and race/ethnicity. These topics were selected because of the large number of campus community members ranking these as areas of exclusion, marginalization, discrimination and/or harassment; the depth of emotion in the commentary written by respondents; and the tension between silences and speech about these issues in the feedback sessions.
It is very important to acknowledge that this data analysis and sharing strategy has strengths and weaknesses. First, we know that each of us has multiple identities which intersect one another in our lives. Histories and patterns in our social and political systems create similarities and differences, disparities and equalities, disadvantages and advantages in our lived experiences. While a report or discussion focused on one facet of identity may allow for analytical clarity, it might also obscure important intersections. While focusing on only some of the identified facets of social diversity can be interpreted as privileging some identities over others, the DAC remains committed to a broad definition of social diversity, even as we had to make choices about what concerns to bring forward for campus consideration at this time.
Second, our Campus Climate Survey is study of ourselves, for ourselves. While we have the benefit of seeing some comparison of what has improved or not improved between 2006 and 2012, we do not have the benefit of seeing how the experiences of this campus compare to other campuses through a similar survey. There are many strengths in Puget Sound’s work toward and commitment to an inclusive campus climate—including our willingness to take a thorough look at ourselves—which we acknowledge, even as we examine data and consider action steps to accomplish additional gains in the future.
The DAC report consists of five sub-reports focusing on the identified facets of identity/social participation stated previously. The reports will be shared with the campus community during the 2013-14 academic year in a forum style format. DAC members who contributed to the production of the report will give a campus climate presentation on each sub-group report and facilitate further discussion around the data and issues presented. The DAC campus sub-reports will also be available on SoundNet to campus community members to view. The vision for diversity and inclusion at Puget Sound states:
“We believe that reflective, thoughtful, and respectful examination of the differing dimensions of diversity educates and empowers all who work and study here to be advocates for inclusion and equity. All members of this community share in cultivating, sustaining, and continuously developing an environment in which equity is intentionally sought and inclusiveness is practiced.”
The availability of the DAC report online coupled with forum style presentations and discussions make for an intentional and open process of sharing and inquiry that honors Puget Sound’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Below is the planned schedule for Forum presentations and discussions; the DAC is committed to ongoing conversation and continuous improvement and believes that sharing findings in this way is an important strategy for creating meaningful conversations:
October 2013: Campus Climate and Gender (Gender Report, campus access only)
November 2013: Campus Climate and Religion (Religion Report, campus access only)
February 2014: Campus Climate and Socioeconomic Status (Socioeconomic Status Report, campus access only)
March 2014: Campus Climate and Political Beliefs (Political Beliefs Report, campus access only)
April 2014: Campus Climate and Race and Ethnicity (Race and Ethnicity Report, campus access only)
We encourage campus community members to discuss and search out connections and intersections across multiple facts of identity/social participation. We welcome feedback and commentary and look forward to engaging in conversations about how diversity is lived and experienced by different campus community members.
2013–14 Diversity Advisory Council
Michael Benitez, Dean of Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer (Chair)
Kate Cohn '00, Institutional Research Analyst, Institutional Research and Retention
Grace Livingston, Associate Professor, African American Studies
Cindy Matern, Associate Vice President for Human Resources/Career and Employment Services
Jeffrey Matthews P'16, Professor, School of Business and Leadership
Chelsea Noble, Admission Counselor
Jada Pelger '96, Information Resources Coordinator, Collins Memorial Library
Peggy Perno, Director, Student Accessibility and Accommodations
Ellen Peters, Director, Institutional Research and Retention
Geoff Proehl P'02, Professor, Theatre Arts
Czarina Ramsay '02, Director, Multicultural Student Services
Amy Ryken, Professor, School of Education
Abigail Taitano, Access Programs Coordinator
Dave Wright '96, University Chaplain and Director, Spirituality, Service, and Social Justice