April Update on DEI Strategic Plan Process
The work of the DEI Strategic Plan Committee is on schedule. The committee has advanced from the assessment phase to the visioning phase and is currently defining a mission and vision for the plan.
Last December, the committee distributed a survey to all CAS faculty and staff to assess climate, experiences and perspectives relevant to diversity, equity and inclusion.
In analyzing the some of the quantitative survey data¹, the committee identified the following takeaways:
I. What is going well based on responses from faculty and staff combined:
- Generally, faculty and staff report that CAS is doing well with frequent communication about diversity, supporting and promoting diversity, and demonstrating its value of research about underrepresented groups.
- Survey respondents, generally, feel valued in their units/departments, by colleagues and in interactions with students. They feel that their departments have a number of positive attributes, which included such descriptors as: friendly, respectful, collegial, welcoming, non-racist and supportive. They also generally rate interactions with their peers, students and colleagues favorably.
II. Areas for improvement based on responses from faculty and staff combined and from specific racial/ethnic and gender groups:
- There are some areas where department climate is rated less favorably by faculty and staff respondents. Staff rate department climate better than faculty. Generally, faculty and staff respondents rate department climate as elitist, ableist, sexist (especially among faculty), homogenous, individualist and somewhat transphobic.
- Among underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, Latinx faculty rate climate weaker than do faculty of all other races and ethnicities. A high proportion (more than 40%) of Latinx faculty respondents also do not feel valued in their departments.
- Non-white faculty and staff report feeling less respected and valued than White faculty (and staff—except in relation to their managers).
- Almost half of women faculty respondents –more than any other gender-identified faculty group– do not believe that CAS demonstrates a commitment to diversity.²
- There is a need for trust-building. More than half of survey respondents – or among some groups almost half of survey respondents – either do not feel respected and treated equitably by CAS leadership or they do not know if they do.
In April, the committee began drafting proposed action items and initiatives as part of the implementation phase, during which the committee will outline steps that can address the survey findings as well as findings from other data and reports reviewed during the assessment phase. The implementation phase will continue through summer. The final stage is the rollout of the plan, projected to take place in fall 2022.
¹ Qualitative and quantitative survey analysis will be ongoing.
² Among survey respondents, some gender, race, ethnic and sexuality identities are small, making it difficult to discern patterns with quantitative data. The Strategic Plan Committee is engaging in informal discussions with a range of CAS faculty, staff and groups to better understand the experiences of these especially underrepresented groups.