As a part of the data gathering process in the diversity planning partnership between the College of Fine Arts and Campus Diversity and Strategic Initiatives (CDSI), the results of the Fine Arts Diversity Committee (FADC) climate assessment conducted in spring 2012 are now available online, in an executive summary and a full report. The survey, completed by 702 students, faculty and staff (26% of the college overall), asked about perceptions of diversity, climate, intergroup relations and discrimination within COFA and UT-Austin.
Overall, survey respondents indicated that the college promotes a welcoming and inclusive environment and that diversity is integrated to varying degrees in the curricular, performative, scholarly and social aspects of the college. Still, those taking the survey indicated a greater need for sensitivity and inclusion of diversity in the COFA experience and there was less satisfaction with particular aspects of the environment noted by those identifying with underrepresented groups within the college.
Some examples of the assessment’s findings include:
- 86% of survey respondents agreed that skills related to diversity are needed for the professional success of COFA graduates.
- Two-thirds of survey takers felt comfortable discussing diversity in the classroom or workplace.
- 60% of respondents said that the curriculum prepares students for careers that recognize the needs of diverse populations. People of color and those who identified as low-income, lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer were more likely than their peers to disagree.
- 61% of survey respondents felt that diversity is adequately reflected in COFA’s productions, performances, exhibitions and events.
- People of color, women and people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer were more likely than their counterparts to say they had experienced or witnessed discrimination on campus.
- Respondents indicated that students, faculty and staff interacted most positively across three types of diversity — sexual orientation, national origin and disability — and slightly less positively across differences of socioeconomic status, religion, race/ethnicity and gender.
During the spring semester and beyond, the Fine Arts Diversity Committee will use the data collected in the climate assessment, along with data from other college and university surveys and upcoming focus groups and stakeholder interviews in the college, to set goals and objectives for COFA’s inaugural Diversity Plan.
The next step in the diversity planning process includes FADC holding focus groups in the college with faculty, staff, and students from February 18-28. The committee is interested in creating a space for open dialogue where participants can share their perspectives and insight on diversity and equity in the college.