Campus Climate Assessment for Diversity

Diversity Audit Banner

Agnes Scott College is launching a Campus Climate Assessment for Diversity this academic year. As diversity and inclusion goals are intertwined throughout our Strategic Plan, it is essential that our institution work hard to better understand the diverse experiences of alumnae, students, faculty and staff members of our community. The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU) model of inclusive excellence serves as the conceptual framework for Agnes Scott’s Campus Climate Assessment for Diversity. The four core components guide the underlying need for “a welcoming community that engages all of its diversity in the service of student and organizational learning. 

For colleges and universities where inclusive excellence is primary, “diversity and inclusion efforts move beyond numbers of students or numbers of programs as end goals. Instead, they are multilayered processes through which we achieve excellence in learning; research and teaching; student development; institutional functioning; local and global community engagement; workforce development; and more"; an institution must conduct a comprehensive diversity audit to achieve goals related to strategic planning and assessing the campus climate for diversity. The diversity audit assesses “institutional history, demographics, current offices, policies, initiatives, and priorities as they relate to diversity" (Williams et al, 2013).

A copy of the draft community forums presentations can be found here.

Study Design and Data Collection Plan

Date Collection Methodology

Development of data collection instruments

The diversity research team will use data gathered from the literature review and environmental scan to develop key research questions that will guide the next steps of the data collection process. We will also develop tailored semi-structured interview and focus group guides. Based upon preliminary data collected, we have identified important methods for collecting data on diversity and inclusion at Agnes Scott.

Key informant interviews with senior administrators

The diversity research team will conduct 40-50 interviews with various key stakeholders on campus, including participants from the following list of individuals:

  • Alumnae Volunteers
  • Board of Trustee Volunteers
  • Student, Faculty and Staff Volunteers
  • Executive Cabinet Members

Data Collection Process

Student focus groups

The diversity research team will conduct focus groups with six groups of 8-10 students in each group. The groups will be recruited from students involved in a variety of student organizations, and individuals who have expressed an interest in cultural and diversity programs.  Generally, speaking students will be invited to participate in groups through self-identification processes with various identities (e.g. Ability, Cultural/Racial/Ethnic, Political, Gender, Sexuality, etc).

Faculty and Staff focus groups            

The diversity research team will conduct focus groups with six groups of 8-10 faculty or staff in each group. Generally, the staff will be invited to participate in groups through self-identification processes with various identities (e.g. Ability, Cultural/Racial/Ethnic, Political, Gender, Sexuality, etc).

Site visits

The diversity research team will visit various buildings or departments throughout campus to assess the climate for diversity and inclusion using observation and field notes. The purpose of these activities will be to gather information on the ways that diversity is represented visually throughout the institution in physical spaces.

Campus-wide surveys

The diversity research team will work with the Office of Institutional Research to identify appropriate survey instruments. The diversity research team will work with the Office of Institutional Research to identify surveys that may provide us with information on faculty and student experiences as they relate to diversity (i.e.  HERI, NSSE, etc.). Upon review of these instruments, the diversity research team in consultation with the task force created to review the plan will determine whether an institutional survey may need to be created for further information gathering.

The Development of a Narrative Literature Review

The diversity research team has conducted a review of literature- including articles, reports, and key documents published that explore various diversity inventories conducted at colleges and universities around the nation. The purpose of this data collection effort will be to identify best practices in the field centered around the development of diversity inventories and diversity efforts on college campuses. Much of this research has been collected over a two-year period with the assistance of undergraduate and graduate research assistants. Further work will build upon the extensive information that has been gathered and will inform the development of the diversity inventory and the diversity action plan.

Environmental Scan

To determine what types of diversity initiatives and intercultural activities are already in place at Agnes Scott College, the team will conduct an environmental scan focused on reviewing all print and web-based materials developed by Agnes Scott. This includes the academic course catalog, the student handbook, the Agnes Scott main website, alumnae magazines, etc. This work will involve detailed scans and the compilation of data into an Excel database that will allow us to create a virtual library of all material identified and collected in the environmental scan. The database entries will be detailed and will include descriptive information such as type of program, targeted audience, and department.

Keywords or phrases are an essential component of conducting a thorough environmental scan. Thus, the diversity research team will identify keywords and/or phrases that will be used to search the various materials and determine whether a program meets the eligibility criteria to be included in the database.

Data Analysis

After initial data gathering, the diversity research team will meet with the task force to review the data, work to scrub the data, and field proposals from research firms that will be utilized to conduct data analysis, and report writing.