The Survey on Campus Culture and Community serves as a core part of Clark’s strategy on diversity, inclusion, and equity, which in turn is one of five core component of the university’s Academic and Financial Plan for 2016–2021. Responding both to demands by students for a comprehensive assessment of the university’s culture of diversity and inclusion as well as the Chief Office for Diversity and Inclusion Sheree Marlowe’s vision for a data-driven strategy on diversity and inclusion, this initiative aims to better understand the various experiences of undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, staff, and senior administrators. While the university has conducted research of this nature before, this is the first time in the institution’s history that all constituents of the Clark community are being reached at once. Thus, this project is a landmark event in institutional history and culture in many ways. As such, no one department bears sole ownership of the project, but rather an amalgam of administrative offices, academic departments, and student organizations will coordinate this effort.
Goals of the initiative
The aims of this project are manifold, yet chief among them are the following:
- Collect data on the experiences, opportunities, and perspectives of various campus constituents in relation to diverse marginalized positionalities they may bear (i.e. race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, dis/ability, religion and spirituality, class/socioeconomic status, political opinion, and citizenship status).
- Gather insights on the culture of understanding, acceptance, and celebration of difference at Clark University, especially concerning areas for growth and improvement.
- Survey hitherto un-assessed or under-assessed demographics and topics, in order to resolve gaps in institutional understanding of various issues.
- To gain an understanding of the institution’s and community’s strengths in diversity, inclusion, and equity, and to recognize ways of maintaining this momentum in growth and progress.
- To benchmark institutional data and compare Clark’s policies, strategic initiatives, and outcomes to those of peer institutions, in order to gauge Clark’s position in the landscape of diversity and inclusion in higher education.
These goals contribute to shaping the university’s vision for the Clark community, as well as the strategies, policies, programs, and dialogues that the university will employ as we seek to realize this aspiration.