Input sought for diversity survey

Input sought for diversity survey

University Communications file photo

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's diversity analysis is seeking input from students, faculty and staff.

Led by Halualani and Associates, a leading national research firm specializing in diversity and higher education, the analysis will identify strengths and weaknesses within the university's actions in regard to diversity, equity and inclusion.

The project has been divided into two phases: a benchmarking that compares diversity programs and procedures at Nebraska to those of five peer institutions, followed by a complete review of existing campus resources. Both reports will include recommendations to guide future decisions on improving diversity and inclusion at Nebraska.

Rona Halualani, managing and principal founder of Halualani and Associates, released results of the benchmarking phase in November. The firm recently launched the diversity mapping/review of campus resources phase. This second phase will include surveys seeking information from the campus community.

The surveys — one for the entire university community and focused on diversity efforts made in the last five years; the other for teaching faculty and seeking details on the integration of diversity programs in class instruction — are available online through June 1.

"The campus survey is less about answering direct questions about diversity and more about letting individuals share their diversity and inclusion experiences," said Crystal Jefferson James, coordinator of the university's diversity council. "And the faculty survey is open to anyone who teaches class. It seeks information on the three classes faculty teach most often and what diversity-related concepts are incorporated into the instruction."

Participation in the surveys is voluntary. The university community is urged to participate to help provide Halualani and Associates as complete a picture of diversity and inclusion efforts as possible.

"The results of these surveys will only be used to gauge the university's progress towards creating an infrastructure actively committed to diversity and inclusive excellence," Halualani said. "Your responses, or decision not to respond, will not affect your relationship with the university. All responses will be used for research purposes only and will remain strictly confidential."

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Both phases of the diversity analysis are part of an ongoing initiative to more comprehensively understand diversity and inclusion at the university. The diversity council is currently leading these efforts.

Lance C. Pérez, interim dean of the College of Engineering and chair of the diversity council, said the university's work with Halualani and Associates will provide a structure to create a comprehensive, deliberate and sustainable strategy to enhance diversity and inclusion on campus.

The university's decision to pursue a long-term plan for systematic change rather than enact short-term strategies grew from feedback gathered from the university community and focus groups. That decision led to the Office of Academic Affairs to commission a study about best practices in academic enterprise for diversity and inclusion. Survey results led to the university seeking Halualani and Associates for deeper analysis and planning.

Based out of Redwood City, California, the firm is highly sought by institutions of higher education to help with diversity mapping, benchmarking, strategic and master planning, and training. It has worked with other Big Ten institutions including Michigan, Indiana and Penn State.

For more information about diversity at Nebraska, including details on recent programs and projects, click here.