Reactions to the Campus Climate Survey: Policy Considerations for Multicultural Students at Sewanee Shameka Jennings, Emily Nicholson, Miriam Pate Supervised by C. Albert Bardi, Ph.D. ABSTRACT METHOD RESULTS “I’ve got to say that Sewanee doesn’t really want, I don’t believe that they want diversity. They might say they do just to compete, you know, with other schools with numbers, but I highly doubt that maybe, it goes back to the This study sought to explore and assess multicultural students’ academic, social and The following are Key Themes found among interviews trustees and the regents, but I don’t see that they really want to keep, that they personal experiences at the University of the South. The researchers conducted individual Participants interviews with a standardized set of questions. Participants were briefed with the results of a want, they don’t pay them. It’s not something that they desire to have. They A total of ten multicultural students attending Sewanee: The University of the South have been The conflict between a highly positive academic experience and an unsatisfactory just do it because its progressive, moving forward, and it looks good. And I recent campus climate survey and interviewed about related issues such as witnessing and/or experiencing racial discrimination or harassment, academic expectations, social expectations, interviewed thus far (the study is still being conducted). The participants ranged from freshmen social life. can tell because they bring diverse students here, multicultural students, but to seniors. The ages ranged from 18-22 years old. Participants were volunteers. they don’t find a way to keep them here. They just bring them here with no overall content level with their college experience, and what changes they would like to see Islands of comfort in diversity (e.g. lunch table) are too few and far between. implemented. Participants in the study were multicultural students ranging from freshmen to facilities, no faculty to depend on, and it’s just a poor, very poor experience for Opportunities for experiences with diverse student groups are left up to student seniors at the University of the South. Tentative yet recurring themes included the conflict multicultural students. So if they were really truly aiming for diversity, they between a highly positive academic experience and an unsatisfactory social life, issues of Materials organizations, which vary too greatly. would also care about how to take care of the students.” academic and social opportunities and support for diverse students on campus compared to the The high importance of alternative social life (non-alcohol focused) for minority mainstream and dominant culture, experiences of insensitivity in and outside of the classroom, 2009 Campus Climate Survey Results students. “Academically yes, because it’s hard, it just takes some time to adjust to how hard lack of diversity in faculty and staff, and concerns regarding retention of multicultural students Excerpt: Direct experiences of ethnic/cultural insensitivity. it is. As for social events, yes I mean there are stuff that goes on that is pretty over four years of education. Using the thematic data collected, suggestion for policy changes Highest Rated Topics of Student Life fun. I can see myself getting tired of it in my junior and senior year but for and implementation are offered. Being asked to speak for one’s race/ethnicity in the classroom. 1. Faculty Accessibility 6. Extracurricular right now I’m enjoying it.” The vicarious experience of insensitivity (hearing about others' experiences of INTRODUCTION 2. Overall course quality Opportunities insensitivty via social interaction). “I feel like if we’re going to be more diverse, then the students need to engage 3. Library 7. Computer Resources The experience of deception concerning diversity via admissions media and events- themselves about the world, the people that surround them. Whether that starts 4. Campus Safety 8. Amount of contact with -led to believe Sewanee is more diverse than is actually experienced. with people on their campus or not, I don’t know, but it is their place to be at College is designed as a period of transition to the real world, which is full of individuals with those meetings and participate. I feel like with those meetings and different ideas and identities. This time should be utilized to prepare students to the differences 5. Faculty Advisors Faculty Members Experience that minority culture (music, dance) is not valued in mainstream venues such as recitals, social gatherings. participating, there will come, I don’t want to say and immediate they may face in the world. Because of this, it is important for all students to be exposed to Lowest Rated Topics of Student Life understanding, but to expose themselves to that material, at least they’ll have diversity. Diversity is defined as a “variety” or having an “unlikeness.” Simply put, diversity is 1.Ethnic/Racial Diversity 5. Food Service The concern about lack of diversity in administration. some sort of an idea and to be open to conversations about it. But not just being unique, being an individual. Diversity on campus is important not only because it 2. Climate for Minority Students 6.Variety of Social The concern about lack of diversity in faculty. conversations, because that’s one thing that I’ve noticed with the Posse Plus exposes individuals to people who are racially, ethnically, geographically, philosophically The high impact of losses of minority students on the morale of the minority Retreat. We’ll invite many people from campus and we’ll get a few, a sprinkle 3. Ability to Enroll in Desired Courses Options different from who they are, but also allows everyone to grow and develop into a more well- community (even though minorities may persist at higher percentages than of faculty members, but usually it’s the same ones. And it’s no one of a high rounded, knowledgeable, open person. 4.Student Behavior in Dorms Whites). enough position to do anything, other than take in comments and reflect on it Through the courses we have taken in Psychology, stories we have heard, and our personal Inside the Classroom in their own way, but I don’t necessarily see any action.” experiences, we decided to create an independent study that focused on the multicultural Experienced Racial Insensitivity, 47.6% Witnessed Racial Insensitivity, 60.3% Below are excerpts from the interviews conducted portraying the mentioned themes: “I remember once we were having a group discussion and one of the kids asked perspective on Sewanee: The University of the South. We hope to find common themes, positive Experienced Racial Harassment, 11.1%% Witnessed Racial Harassment, 12.7% and negative, of the multicultural collegiate experience. We intend to report to the university me where I was from and I said [major U.S. city]. And the kid was like no Experienced Racial Discrimination, 23.8% Witnessed Racial Discrimination, 28.6% our findings and accompany them with recommendations to create a better environment for “Academically, I believe Sewanee does what it can. I have to be a certain level of preparedness seriously where are you from? And I was just like wow. I wouldn't expect this Outside the Classroom for myself so I can’t blame them. And I do feel that they are easily accessible, most of from a group mate. If that was my answer that's where I am from and I don’t multicultural students. Experienced Racial Insensitivity, 65.1% Witnessed Racial Insensitivity, 76.2% the professors…I know it seems to go back to social life but that honestly will make a see why you need to specifically know where I am from. I am proud to say Annotated Bibliographies Experienced Racial Harassment, 30.2%% Witnessed Racial Harassment, 32.3% well-rounded, very happy and well adjusted person and that’s one of the components where I am from, but it just sounded really racial and he assumed I was from McHatton. A., Keller, H., Shircliffe, B., & Zalaquett,C. (2009).Examining Efforts to Infuse Diversity Within One Experienced Racial Discrimination, 42.9% Witnessed Racial Discrimination, 58.7% that sticks out to me when I reflect on my college experience and that’s something that’s some third world country or something.” College of Education. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Vol 2(3), Sep, 2009. pp. 127-135. lacking here. And that’s something that if I had to do it again I really sometimes would Conclusion: Significant negative correlations indicate that higher levels of racial “I think I would, (i.e. attend Sewanee again) ya definitely. But it’s hard to say, ya This study discusses the need to teach and prepare teachers and professors about diversity and cultural question. And if it had not been for the friendships that I’ve made, I would not be responsiveness in and outside of the classroom. This study also suggests infusing such issues into classroom harassment, insensitivity and discrimination were associated with lower levels of know. Life at another school might be better, but I’m satisfied. I think I like it committed to Sewanee at all. The education is one thing but I believe that I can get a curriculum. This study supports many of the challenges of professors at Sewanee have expressed. This would be Sewanee satisfaction. here. I would probably still come, I think.” good education some place and still be provided with the social life that I deserve and very helpful in developing some type of training or instruction on diversity and how to respond. This will be very Tape Recorder have desired.” beneficial to an institution like ours where the faculty and staff are mainly homogenous. “ I want some enthusiasm. I don’t them to seem to do it just to pacify us, or to List of interview questions designed to assess issues such as: pretend to be more satisfied, I want it to be a more genuine effort. That’s what Pascarella, E. T., Edison, M., Nora, A., Hagedorn, L. S., & Terenzini P. T. (1996). Influences on Students' Openness Witnessing and/or experiencing racial discrimination or harassment “I guess I cannot say Sewanee campus is diverse in the sense of the buildings and what I want. “ to Diversity and Challenge in the First Year of College. Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 67. surrounds it. It’s pretty restraining. I guess, I don’t know how to say this but, I guess the Academic expectations and social expectations, cultural things you can do at Sewanee are very limited and the availability of other This study suggests that the college experience has a vital impact awareness and openness to diversity for many “Well, it (the administration) definitely needs to behave as if we matter, that college students. The three main factors that contribute to this change are the emphasis the institution places on Their overall happiness/ satisfaction with their experience at Sewanee environments is pretty hard to access. It’s hard to get off the mountain and get away to multicultural students mean something to them. Listen to what they say cause diversity, student engagement with diverse faculty and student engagement with diverse students. The results from What changes they would like to see implemented do certain things because kind of the small community here. It’s not necessarily a bad this study showed that institutions who were high in all three variables graduated more open and salient students they’re definitely complaints. Just talking and speaking with multicultural Our institution is lacking all of these. This study would support our independent study because it stresses the thing, but it’s just the way it is and if that’s not something you can be comfortable with, students. We have had students talk with and write to administration and importance of having diverse faculty as well as having institutional support for more diversity on campus. This you cannot develop that side of yourself.” regents express the dissatisfaction of the Sewanee experience, but we have yet study would be very useful in developing policy in regards to faculty hiring and recruitment and goals for the to see any improvements. They should take us and our letters more seriously. “So socially I think they could improve it because they need more activities out there and they institution. PROCEDURE need to put some thought into it. Thoughtful activities are gonna’ have some type of Listen to the students and ask the students what they want and begin to make Pepper, M. B., Tredennick, L., Reyes, R. F.(2010). Transparency and trust as antecedents to perceptions of show…people are going to show up to it if it fits them. Activities such as Bingo, salsa efforts to make it happen. And I think this could definitely improve the commitment to stated diversity goals. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Vol 3(3), Sep, 2010. pp. 153-162. Dancing, and other activities…BC All -Nighter. All those types of things, having it once experience of multicultural students here.” This study discusses commitment to diversity goals and policies different institutions claim to support but do not Each researcher approached a multicultural student and contacted the student and informed him/ necessarily implement. Furthermore this study talks about how the effects of when an institution is/ is not visibly her about the course study and its goals. Students then choose to participant voluntarily. a year or once a semester….like no…make it happen more. So you have people who For students I’d like to see more participation these events. I’ve noticed that we’ve committed to diversity. Some of the effects of being seen as not committed include: lower grades for African don’t do things like drink, have something to do. They don’t even give that had some talks on…and I go back to African American, because I am African In a private location, the researcher informed the participant of the procedure for the interview: Americans, increase feeling of isolation among different groups of students and discrimination and hostility responsibility to students…administration doesn’t do anything.” American, so I can speak best on that. But I’ve noticed sometimes we have amongst students. This study suggests that an institution needs trust and cultural transparency in order to be the researcher would strictly ask questions and would not comment during their interview. perceived as having a commitment to diversity. This study would support our independent study because it gives The participants were given the campus climate survey results and asked to review them. “And then when I was a freshman I was talking with an actual friend, she’s [Asian descent] and these diversity talks and we invite people to speak on their opinions and us a basis for establishing our diversity policy. It also suggests that we “promote” diversity in tangible ways to we were in Chemistry class and she looked at me and told me that why did I think I sometimes when they do they feel attacked and other times they don’t show After the participants felt as though they completely understood the campus climate survey up. They don’t know anything about the event nor do they necessarily feel increase awareness of diversity on campus. wasn’t going to get the concept, because I was black…and that bothered me. Or if I was results, the researchers began the interview. there’s a need to talk about it. To me that seems as if they don’t care. And then Cook, R. (2008). Embracing diversity at Allegheny College: Signs of success at a residential college of the liberal late, it was because I was black and it just had a lot of references because I was black... After interview was over, the participant was thanked and debriefed about the study. even on immigration, I noticed that we had a talk on that. At first, I was arts and sciences. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 1(1), 1-7. and it was a negative thing like being considered loud, obnoxious, and ghetto. I’ve This article follows Allegheny College as they try to answer the question, “Why should minority students and All interviews were transcribed by the researchers. heard that from many students on campus to the point where I was stopping the way I hesitant to go, but then I found that I have a lot of friends that this affects their faculty choose Allegheny College?” The article discusses the strategic plan developed by Allegheny to make them Researchers reviewed the transcripts, and via consensus, documented recurring themes. was dressing like if I was wearing hoop earrings, I wouldn’t wear them…stretch jeans, I lives and it doesn’t necessarily affect me, but there are plenty of people who more attractive to diverse students and employees. Initiatives include: Establishing a diversity scholarship; wouldn’t wear them. Anything that could stereotype me, I wouldn’t’ do it. Rap are affected. So it’s my job to go inform myself of these things. And I feel like Providing additional resources to director of diversity affairs to participate in policy-making and programming; music…I don’t think so…I don’t even really like it that much but even if I liked a rap as a higher level of education we’re here to get an education on many fronts, Offer pilot diversity awareness program; create faculty positions devoted to diversification of curriculum; song, wouldn’t play it. And then as time went on, I stated to say “F it”, I’m gonna do not just academically. I feel like if we’re going to be more diverse, then the increasing number of alumni of color and women on school Board of Trustees; Diversity Dialogues. Since Allegheny is a small, liberal arts school like Sewanee, I believe that the initiatives taken are some that we should what I want. I started to go back to what I enjoy and I started to see more students that students need to engage themselves about the world, the people that surround share with administration in addition to the data we find in-house. preferred some of the same things I enjoyed doing too but I definitely felt like an them. Gottfredson, N., Panter, A., Daye, C., Allen, W., Wightman, L., & Deo, M. (2008). Does diversity at undergraduate outsider because of things that I liked.” institutions influence student outcomes?. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 1(2), 80-94 “They [ faculty and administration] are whipped cream, it’s like on top. They sugar coat CONCLUSION This study presents data that shows that there is a relationship between diversity and student outcomes in a higher educational institution. The data supports that having individuals of diverse backgrounds in a setting everything. They’re like, oh we’ll come out and support, let’s do this and do that. Next interact with one another have a positive effect on student life as well as having the individual take a course on thing I know I’m looking next month and I’m like I see nothing that you guys said. So The common themes that we found are critical to the success of diversity and human diversity. This study can be utilized because it supports our theory of providing more diverse opportunities it’s like back up what you say with actions. And I think…what I wanna’ go back to is, inclusion at Sewanee. It is important to measure the campus climate, on campus so that students and faculty have time to engage in conversation with and learn from one another. admin needs to be more open. And students will learn from that, eventually. I mean I interpret the results, and implement plans of action. Data supports that blame the students too, but they learn it from somewhere.” having individuals of diverse backgrounds in a setting interact with one another have a positive effect on student life as well as having the “I’m not motivated to keep doing a lot of things I am already doing, because I am seen as the individual take a course on human diversity. In order for the students to minority literally and my opinion is not respected.” be happy with the overall Sewanee experience, the institution should focus “Academically, once I tell my teacher’s that my father is from [another country], every time mainly on recruitment, retention, and relationship building. This in turn they say something about [that country] they look at me like I’m an expert.” can foster and sustain diversity on our campus.
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