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.
In fall 2012, the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement completed an update on progress toward implementing the inaugural strategic plan. The 2012-2013 progress report provides highlights of accomplishments from the first implementation year (2011-2012) and priorities for the second year (2012-2013). It is also available in the sidebar on the right of this page.
The Division also released an overview of the full strategic plan, which is now posted on The Plan page. A special thank you to Senior Graphic Designer for DDCE, Ron Bowdoin, and Digital Media Manager, Jason Molin, who make the strategic plan come to life on the page and on screen!
The College of Fine Arts Diversity Committee recently announced the creation of a blog to chronicle the college’s diversity planning collaboration with Campus Diversity and Strategic Initiatives. The committee, which this fall welcomed the addition of undergraduate and graduate student members and a representative from Texas Performing Arts, continues its work collecting data and developing a strategic diversity plan to implement in the college. The partnership — the first of its kind on campus — is a pilot designed to create a process that diversity committees may use in the future at UT-Austin, a component of DDCE’s strategic plan that is designed to advance diversity initiatives on campus. Read more about the collaboration here and visit the Fine Arts Diversity Committee blog.
Back in May, we highlighted progress on key items within the DDCE strategic plan during spring 2012. Here’s a brief update on a few of the other priorities in progress:
- Inclusion, Equity and Accessibility Law and Policy Review: DDCE staff are reviewing federal, state, and local laws and university policies that establish the university’s responsibilities regarding inclusion, equity and accessibility so as to understand the spirit and intent of these laws and policies. For more information, contact Katherine Antwi Green.
- Diversity Planning Pilot with College of Fine Arts: Campus Diversity and Strategic Initiatives launched a partnership with the College of Fine Arts Diversity Committee to design and implement strategies that advance diversity within the college community. The committee’s worked launched with a letter from Dean Doug Dempster to the college announcing the process and was closely followed by an online climate assessment completed by 26% of the college’s students, faculty, staff and administrators. For more information, view this post on diversity planning or contact Dr. Sherri L. Sanders.
- Outlining Research Committee Responsibilities: The Research Planning Committee is articulating functions of a sustainable research committee to support division-wide research efforts as consultants. For more information, contact Dr. Kiersten Ferguson.
- Developing a Relationship Management System: DDCE is developing a relationship management system in which information collected from university colleges, schools, and units (CSUs) (including, but not limited to, community engagement initiative information, staff contact for initiative, geographic area or population served, number of community members served) is housed. For more information, contact Erica Saenz.