Diversity Climate Assessment Will Take Place at Washington State University

PULLMAN, Wash. — As part of a national study of campus life, a diversity climate assessment will take place this fall at Washington State University. The survey will cover experiences students, faculty and staff have had or have on campus related to race, gender, disabilities, language, sexual orientation and religion.

Conducted by the Washington State Office of Human Relations and Diversity, the assessment will be coordinated by Melynda Huskey, director of the university’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Allies Program.

More than 30 universities and colleges, including six of Washington State’s peer institutions, are taking part in the confidential assessment, said Huskey.

WSU was selected to take part in the assessment because, in part, of Huskey’s involvement with the National Consortium of Directors of LGBT Resources in Higher Education. The University of Washington is also taking part, as are WSU peers Texas A&M, Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota and California-Davis.

Other universities participating include Oregon, Maryland, Michigan, Colorado, Nebraska, UCLA, California-Berkeley, Pennsylvania and Indiana.

WSU faculty, staff and students taking part in the assessment will respond confidentially through a form at a Web site to a series of questions about their diversity experiences at the university. In addition, she said, a separate survey will assess climate for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities on campus.

Huskey said the assessment data will be used to “design interventions, to shape planning, and to give us a clear picture of what our needs and strengths are. Empirical data is the first step in creating a more inclusive, more responsive Washington State University, where every member of the campus community is safe, affirmed and celebrated.”

WSU President V. Lane Rawlins and Ronald Hopkins, interim provost, encourage participation in the assessment. “Our goal is to foster the fullest potential of every member of our campus community. This assessment is an important step toward achieving that goal,” said Rawlins. According to Hopkins, “Quality of life must be assured for each member of the university community. I encourage responding to the questions thoughtfully and candidly.”

Huskey said members of under-represented groups are particularly encouraged to respond.

WSU faculty, staff and students may sign up to become part of the survey by sending their names and e-mail addresses to Jill Griffin, Human Relations and Diversity, at griffinj@wsu.edu, or campus zip 1013.

Those signing up will receive an e-mail message, giving a Web site address and a password. They will go to the site, log in, and spend about 15 minutes filling out the survey. Sign-ups will be accepted through the last week in October. The site will close on the last day of October.

Huskey said results of the assessment, for WSU and the 29 other institutions, will be available in March.