Message from Chancellor Black
Campus Climate Change Organization
Achievements and Reports
Response to 2010-2011 Campus Climate Survey - Focus Group Report
Date: July 12, 2011
Over the past year, UMD has initiated a dialogue and engaged the campus in a critical conversation about campus climate. In order to better understand the experiences of African American, Latino/Chicano, Asian, American Indian and International students at UMD, a team of faculty and staff was commissioned to conduct a series of focus groups. The 2010-2011 Campus Climate Survey - Focus Group Report you submitted last month is both a culmination of your research and a starting point for future efforts to advance inclusion and social justice at UMD.
Thank you for your considerable effort, extensive analysis, and excellent synthesis of the five focus group discussions you conducted last spring. The results of this research project as presented in the 2010-2011 Campus Climate Survey - Focus Group Report captures the experiences and perceptions of African American, Latino/Chicano, Asian, American Indian and International students at UMD. This response seeks to convey our commitment to create a learning and working environment that embraces the values of equity, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the university, and to understand and eliminate those elements of our campus climate that exclude, disrespect, and undermine the success of all of our students especially underrepresented students. Secondly, we affirm our intent to use your recommendations to inform future work. Finally, we wish to describe some of the progress made this year within the broad framework of the Campus Climate Initiative.
Your findings clearly show that there is room for improvement with regards to creating an inclusive campus climate. Many of the students have experienced feelings of isolation and vulnerability. They often experience the campus as an unwelcoming place with limited support for and understanding of what it is like to be a member of a racial, ethnic, national, etc. minority group. The Report presents several specific recommendations in the areas of policy, curriculum, workforce diversity, community relationships and resource utilization. We have discussed these recommendations and incorporated many of them in our priorities for 2011-12. In addition, we recognize the value of this work and intend to build a robust and accountable system in order to assess the campus climate on a regular basis.
That being said, we are encouraged that a number of students also expressed positive aspects of their experience at UMD. Some are impressed with the recent efforts of the institution to build a better climate at the university. Others stated that many of their instructors created an atmosphere where diversity was discussed and respected. Students also mentioned the positive role that diverse faculty play in creating an inclusive community. In addition, students noted the role that the Multicultural Center plays in providing programs and activities that help educate the larger campus community on issues of diversity. These are strengths we need to recognize and enhance.
The 2011 Campus Climate Study Focus Groups Report has strengthened our understanding of the campus climate with regards to inclusivity. We note that many of the recommendations align with projects that were initiated during 2010-11. Some examples are listed below:
Download the PDF to print the full response.