Committee on Diversity Needs Your Help
At the request of University of Central Oklahoma President Don Betz, the University Committee on Diversity is inviting the UCO community to take a survey called the Diversity Initiative Inventory for the Spring semester.
This is in an effort to collect data on diversity initiatives and projects on campus, as well as to get feedback on what the university could do better to address diversity and inclusivity on campus. The survey is open to all current UCO students, faculty and staff.
“A lot of the diversity and inclusion work is started from the ground up, so the individual department or program may have a project that it is doing and outreach or some kind of training or curricular initiative, and we wanted to gather all of these in one comprehensive report,” said David Macey, assistant vice president for Global and Cultural Competencies.
Currently chaired by Macey, membership on the committee is appointed by the university’s president and has representatives from every area of the university. The mission of the committee is to assess campus climate for inclusion and diversity, to make recommendations to UCO’s leadership about things that the committee should do to enhance that climate and to develop resources for promoting inclusion and diversity.
However, Macey said that this survey is made up of converging efforts from the committee, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Diversity Round Table.
The survey itself said that the inventory is designed to capture the multiple diversity initiatives occurring across UCO. The purposes of this survey are to provide a comprehensive overview of diversity initiatives at UCO, to foster collaborations across departments working toward similar goals and to assist with institutional strategic planning initiatives.
MeShawn Conley, director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and a committee member, said that the committee is currently in the data gathering stage, but has been discussing the development of the diversity strategic plan. Conley is also coordinating and tracking responses to the survey.
“What we do know is that we have some really awesome programs at UCO that promote and support diversity in terms of preparing students to be culturally competent citizens, but what we want to make sure is that we continue to grow on that path,” Conley said.
There is no deadline for the inventory, but Macey said throughout the spring semester the committee will be putting together the report and continually going back and looking at the results.
“At a certain point toward the end of the semester, we are going to need to be finalizing the report so that we can pass it along and present it to the current President Betz and to the incoming President Neuhold,” Macey said. “However, part of our plan is to continue to have surveys and focus groups available on a regular basis, we are aware that campus climates shifts and changes to incidents and circumstances and we want to keep up to date on that.”
One of the first steps in this diversity strategic plan has been Diversity Discussions with students, faculty and staff. These have served as a focus group for UCO community members to voice their thoughts and concerns.
“These sessions have provided the opportunity for faculty and staff members and students to discuss their ideas of where we are at on campus and what they like that we are doing and what they would like to see different in what we are doing,” Conley said. “One part of that is the diversity initiative inventory, this is an attempt to try capture all of the diversity work that is going on across campus.”
The last faculty and staff Diversity Discussion was scheduled for last Wednesday but was canceled due to inclement weather. However, the focus group is rescheduled for Mar. 7 at 11:30 a.m. in the Liberal Arts Faculty Lounge.
Macey said the University Committee on Diversity will also meet Mar. 13 to begin reviewing and discussing the results received up to that date from the online survey and the focus group discussions. He said the committee will also continue to receive, review and discuss additional results as those come in after that meeting.
The last time the committee put out a survey of this magnitude was four years ago, and so Macey said a part of this is a routine look at how the university is doing in terms of diversity and inclusivity.
“A longer term goal is to repeat this process on a regular basis,” Macey said. “So that we have a way of mapping over time the progress that we are making, but honestly also the progress that we are failing to make so that we can address those.”
For those interested in filling out the Diversity Initiatives Inventory it can be found at uco.co1.qualtrics.com or at the webpage for the University Committee on Diversity.
“I would just encourage everyone to please respond,” Macey said. “These instruments and surveys are most valuable if the maximum number of people participate.”