Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.90
Liaison Deborah Steinberg
Submission Date Dec. 6, 2021

STARS v2.2

Carnegie Mellon University
PA-6: Assessing Diversity and Equity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 1.00 M. Shernell Smith
Coordinator of Student Development
Student Affairs
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution engaged in a structured assessment process during the previous three years to improve diversity, equity and inclusion on campus?:

A brief description of the assessment process and the framework, scorecard(s) and/or tool(s) used:
The CMU VOICES study, conducted by the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis between November 2018 and January 2019, was designed to help university leadership, including the President’s Task Force on Campus Climate, understand students’ experiences related to cultural diversity and inclusion of the campus environment.

The survey items are based on the Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) Model, developed by the National Institute for Transformation and Equity (NITE). NITE developed the model to move beyond generating data about problems and shift toward what campuses must do to cultivate more equitable and inclusive institutions.

The survey was distributed to all students. There was a low response rate despite the extended timeframe of data collection. The low response rate (22.9% overall) does not support quantitative analysis of the data; however, the data were rich enough to be analyzed for themes and actionable patterns across the populations. If these data had been gathered using interviews or focus groups, what follows could be considered a phenomenological approach. In other words, the text of students’ survey responses were used to describe their experiences of our climate in a non-numeric manner.

Does the assessment process address campus climate by engaging stakeholders to assess the attitudes, perceptions and behaviors of employees and students, including the experiences of underrepresented groups?:

Does the assessment process address student outcomes related to diversity, equity and success?:

Does the assessment process address employee outcomes related to diversity and equity?:

A brief description of the most recent assessment findings and how the results are used in shaping policy, programs, and initiatives:
The key findings of the most recent VOICES survey are summarized in sections:

Cultural Responsiveness
Participants generally agree with items characterizing CMU as a place with opportunities to develop meaningful relationships with faculty and staff, to receive proactive and holistic support for well-being, and, on the whole, as being interested in students’ success.

Sense of Belonging
In addition to culturally responsive and culturally relevant domains, the study examined students’ connection or belonging to CMU. Participant response patterns for belonging tend to follow the patterns in the culturally relevant domain, though not always. In other words, when culturally responsive (or care and concern) indicators were more positive, belonging indicators did not always follow suit; when culturally relevant indicators were less positive, belonging often appeared more neutral.

Cultural Relevance
Participant responses among culturally relevant dimensions are far more varied. These items examined the degree to which students believe their culture is known, considered, and valued in how the campus operates and educates. For example:
--Women overall did not view CMU’s environment to be as relevant (validating, connected, and representative) as men across race and ethnic identities.
--Black students did not agree, on almost all indictors, that the environment on campus was culturally relevant. Black women masters’ students reported a strong pattern of disagreement with characterizing CMU as relevant to or validating their experiences.
--LGBQ, Transgender, and Non-binary identifying students were largely neutral on their views about CMU as culturally relevant.

The following are actions proposed based on the survey’s findings:

Representation matters.
--ACTION: The Provost has directed the Deans to create action plans that offer resources, leadership, and accountability for increases in recruitment, yield, and retention across student, staff, and faculty populations.

All members of the campus community need opportunities to continuously reflect on their own identities and inform their sense of self in relationship to others.
--ACTION: The Center for Student Diversity has proved to be a valuable resource. Through the Center’s work, we have learned that students are seeking greater engagement with faculty and fellow students on these issues and we are committed to making the strategic investments needed to expand the impact of the Center’s work. To that end, the Center is currently revising the curriculum of key educational programs and will be increasing the student leadership capacity for social change through the creation of a Peer Advocates program.

The curriculum must reflect the cultural diversity of the world and our campus. Pedagogical practices must reflect the diversity of student experiences, learning styles, and backgrounds.
--ACTION: The Provost Inclusive Teaching Fellows program will launch this spring that expands on the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation’s efforts to advance inclusive teaching practices among our faculty and instructional staff.
Ensure that students are finding authentic validation and belonging in and out of the classroom.
--ACTION: The Core Competency Initiative is identifying key skills for all CMU students that focus on inclusion and intercultural competencies to be taught across the curriculum and co-curriculum.
--ACTION: The Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion will extend its support for graduate students to include faculty mentoring and development of opportunities for mentorship relationships with undergraduate students.
--ACTION: This fall, the Tartan Scholars program began at CMU to meet the unique needs of our incoming first-year students who are academically high-achieving and come from limited-resource backgrounds. The Tartan Scholars program will be expanded to include culturally-relevant academic support, an increased first year student cohort size for fall 2020, and continuous support available to eligible students throughout their time at CMU.

Are the results of the most recent structured diversity and equity assessment shared with the campus community?:

A brief description of how the assessment results are shared with the campus community:
The findings are available online and shared with the campus community via traditional marketing and news sharing methods.


Are the results (or a summary of the results) of the most recent structured diversity and equity assessment publicly posted?:

The diversity and equity assessment report or summary (upload):

Website URL where the diversity and equity assessment report or summary is publicly posted:
Website URL where information about the institution’s diversity and equity assessment efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.