Diversity and Inclusion are core values of Central Washington University. CWU employees and students, regardless of ethnic, racial, political, gender, religious, intellectual, and geographical background will benefit when they are exposed to those who are different than they are. An inclusive environment welcomes diverse points of view and supports different ways of perceiving and feeling. An inclusive environment embraces varied cultures because they enrich campus discussion, education, and student life. A campus that is truly inclusive fosters a productive, positive, and respectful campus. . Research shows that students thrive in a diverse and inclusive environment. Students are more satisfied in their learning experiences, are likely to have stronger cognitive development, are more engaged in their learning, and develop stronger intellectual skills. Faculty also benefit from an inclusive environment. Faculty have more opportunities to be innovative, critical, creative and are more satisfied with their environment
It is important to take into consideration the multitude and complexity of the factors associated with campus climate. Campus climate is comprised of a multitude of factors, including issues of retention, research and scholarship, group interactions, curriculum, and university service and university policies. All of these interact with issues of inclusion and diversity.
Equally important is to understand perception is an important factor when creating opportunities for inclusion—even when perceptions and reality don't sync. Certainly, the campus climate varies by settings, for example, universities are different, communities are different and student experiences are different. Universities are different in a variety of way, size of student body, residential or non-residential, size of classrooms; opportunities to interact with each other vary, whether the focus is on teaching or research and the geographical area in which they reside. All of these factors influence the experiences that students have in the classroom and outside of the classroom.
In May, 2013 the Washington State Achievement Council published a report “Educational Attainment for All: Diversity and Equity in Washington State Higher Education.” The report emphasizes the importance of identifying ways that universities in the state of Washington are meeting the needs of the changing diverse population of Washington State and addressing the degree attainment gap. One of the mechanisms that promoted student success is inclusivity and diversity on the college campus. Central Washington University is continuing to address these issues and is identifying way to increase the degree attainment of traditionally under-represented and underserved groups, which benefits all students. Students benefit from an inclusive environment that supports academic excellence, as we move into a more diverse global society it is important to prepare students for success not only throughout their college career but also beyond college. Therefore, it is important to share this report with the university community and the public
MEASURING THE CAMPUS CLIMATE
CWU has conducted several studies on campus climate. Some of these include:
The findings of these reports point to the challenges and opportunities Central Washington University faces in diversifying the campus and creating an inclusive environment. For example:
More recently, CWU participated in The National Survey of Student Engagement/Faculty Survey of Student Engagement This 2012-2013 surveys faculty and first-year students and seniors. The survey was not designed to look at issues of inclusion, but contains questions about inclusion and diversity. It appears as if about half of the faculty incorporate diverse perspectives in their courses. The survey measured "diversity of perspectives" by determining whether or not courses included discussions, readings and experiential learning. The study found that about half (49 percent) of CWU faculty who teach lower-division courses think that international study is important; 40 percent of those who teach upper-division courses think that an international experience is important. Faculty generally believe that diversity and inclusion is important, according to the survey. About 80 percent of students say they have positive relationships with students who are different than they.
NSSE/FSSE does not contain demographic information but does assess the degree to which individuals feel that they have positive relationships with diverse groups of people. Nearly half of faculty say they encourage contact among students from different economic, social and racial or ethnic backgrounds. This assessment, however, is not supported with the experience first-year students and seniors report. Less than 30 percent said they interacting with people different from themselves.
Faculty Survey of Student Engagement Faculty
University emphasizes contact among students from different economic, social, and racial/ethnic backgrounds
In academic coursework emphasize understanding people of other racial and ethnic backgrounds
Class discussions or writings that include diverse perspectives (different races, religions, genders, political beliefs etc.)
Have serious conversations in courses with students of a different race or ethnicity than their own
Throughout the 2012-2013 fiscal year qualitative data was collected from students involved in eight organizations of the Equity Service Council (ESC):
Students from Movimiento Estudiantal Chicano/a de Aztlan MEChAA and Equality through Queers and Allies (EQuAL) described how they experienced the campus climate and presented this information to the Director of Inclusivity and Diversity, Dr. Delores Cleary. Many of the experiences reported by students are identified as challenges under-represented groups face on campuses throughout the country.
There were general conclusions reported by some CWU students that included:
More specific examples of challenges identified in the diversity in higher education literature and identified by students at CWU include the following:
Professors not standing up for students in the classroom.
Minority people feeling outnumbered in the classroom.
Lack of understanding of the many cultures here at CWU that causes the majority to belittle or look down on minority groups.
NEXT STEPS: MOVING INCLUSIVENESS FORWARD
Several initiatives are in place to inform strategies to improve campus climate and to increase participation in the creation of an inclusive environment:
COACHE STUDY TO MEASURE FACULTY SATISFACTION
Finally, this year CWU will participate in the Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey of the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE). The comprehensive study collects survey data from tenure-track faculty, as well as pre-tenure and tenured faculty. The survey measures 13 aspects of faculty work, including areas that directly affect campus climate, such as collaboration, institutional governance & leadership, engagement, climate, culture & collegiality, and recruitment & retention. The survey will help to identify inclusiveness issues and to generate strategies to address them.
CWU STRATEGIC PLAN
There has been substantial support, commitment and improvement to campus inclusion and diversity by the university community since 2010. Diversity and inclusion comprise one of five key themes in the CWU Strategic Plan. All of the colleges and departments will include in their strategic-plan outcomes indicators and strategies addressing this theme.
Many of those strategies already have been effective in creating an inclusive environment for students, faculty and staff, as is evidenced by 2013 data reported in the strategic plan.
Student Recruitment, Retention, and Graduation
Faculty/Staff Recruitment and Retention
An inclusive environment, which encourages people to be involved and committed, occurs in a variety of ways, for example:
Although there is not a core diversity requirement at CWU, there are a multitude of courses that include a diverse perspective or focus on diverse and inclusive issues. There are over 100 courses that deal with diverse and inclusive perspectives. Keep in mind that these courses are not all taught every quarter. In addition, there are 20 departments that offer minors/classes/or specialization that deal directly with diverse/inclusive issues, some of these are pre-existing courses and some are new. This does establish a baseline from which to start.
Two members of Central Washington University’s Center for Diversity and Social Justice (CDSJ) areCWU Again Honored For Excellent Achievements In Diversity
Central Washington University was the only four-year institution in Washington to recCWU Receives Prestigious HEED Award For Excellence In Diversity
Central Washington University is a 2014 recipient of the prestigious INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher