Willamette to survey community on diversity, equity

by Jennifer Johnson,

Survey link will be emailed in February to students, staff, administrators and faculty.

Willamette University is conducting its first all-inclusive survey to see how diversity and equity are supported on campus.

Students, faculty, administrators and staff — including from the College of Law and Atkinson Graduate School of Management — should expect an email Feb. 6 linking to a survey where they can anonymously share their opinion on the university’s climate and their experiences with discrimination or harassment.

Administered by the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) Consortium, the survey usually takes less than 15 minutes to complete. The deadline is Feb. 26 and follow-up emails will be sent to those who don’t respond.

Vice President of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jade Aguilar says one goal behind the survey is to figure out where the university needs to put more support and resources. The university had wanted to conduct a similar survey before Aguilar’s role was defined but didn’t have the capacity at that time.

While Willamette can try and anticipate areas that need addressing, Aguilar says, until it collects meaningful data, it’s “just trying to solve potential problems instead of actual problems.”

Willamette’s Council on Diversity and Social Justice, chaired by Aguilar, chose the HEDS survey because it is affordable, its validity has been tested and it allows Willamette to compare itself to other participating institutions.

Aguilar urges all community members to take the survey. She says the university will take responses seriously because they “will allow for an action plan that will target the most needed areas on campus.”

“I want to reassure people that it’s important,” she says. “We really are going to use the data to affect positive change.”

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