DataBytes reports on diversity

Lindsay Byrnes, Contributing Writer

The Office of Institutional Research & Planning created a blog called DataBytes, which releases statistics about the University. This month the blog released information regarding student and staff diversity on campus, featuring graphs that show a clear upward trend in the amount of underrepresented students between 2011 and 2014.

The University released this information as a part of its comprehensive diversity strategy, which was created to ensure that all students benefit in “transformational ways” on and off-campus. The diversity strategy is also meant to expand students’ experiences in the classroom to create a more engaging and unique learning environment through diverse faculty.

“Last year, President [John] Bravman outlined five behavioral attributes that he believes are critical to the University’s long-term sustainability. One of those is to be data-driven. With that in mind, the goal behind DataBytes is twofold: We want to provide data snippets (appetizers) to increase the awareness and appetite for using data in the departmental planning processes,” Assistant Provost for Institutional Research & Assessment Kevork Horissian said.

The blog presents various graphs to show the diversity data. For both students and faculty there are graphs that show both gender diversity, and ethnic and racial diversity. For students, the gender diversity is 48 percent male and 52 percent female. For faculty, the gender diversity is 59 percent male and 41 percent female.

In regard to the racial and ethnic diversity graph, underrepresented groups include Hispanic, Black, Asian, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and multi-race. The student racial and ethnic graphs are broken up into two separate graphs. The first one shows female, male, and total underrepresented groups on campus between 2011 and 2014. Campus diversity has increased over this period.

The second graph shows female, male, and total non-resident alien students on campus between 2011 and 2014. While there is a clear upward trend between 2011 and 2013 in this graph, there has been no increase in the diversity of non-resident alien students since 2013. All of these graphs and statistics are presented to show how the University’s diversity strategy is positively affecting the presence of racial and ethnic groups on campus.

The blog also presents various surveys that are used to gauge faculty opinions on various issues and aspects of the school community. The first survey regarded the faculty’s opinions on final examination practices and policies. The second survey questioned faculty’s opinions on Foundation Seminar teaching practices. The results of these blogs are intended to help the University improve teaching and school policies to better create successful learning environment for students.

“DataBytes also aims to showcase some of our educational outcomes to our students, faculty, staff, and prospective students and their families. Many institutions claim to provide a great education, but they often fall short in their ability to substantiate those claims,” Horissian said.

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