Overall Rating Platinum
Overall Score 86.01
Liaison Patrick McKee
Submission Date March 6, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Connecticut
PA-5: Assessing Diversity and Equity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Richard Miller
Ofice of Environmental Policy
"---" 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 University of Connecticut administers the NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement), which addresses student perceptions of equity and inclusion, while also collecting demographic data. The most recent NSSE survey was conducted at UConn in 2018. The survey was conducted electronically and included the core survey questions as well as an additional topical module titled “First-Year Experiences and Senior Transitions” which focuses specifically on perceptions of the campus community and how they have shaped student growth and success over time. Additionally, in 2018, the University of Connecticut became a member of the SERU Consortium, a global initiative to promote higher education research among undergraduate and graduate student populations. SERU is run through a partnership between the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Minnesota. SERU membership allows for more accurately targeted research and aids in policy adaptation to meet the needs drawn from data that is received. The SERU survey addresses issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion at length, among other markers used to gauge the student experience. The University of Connecticut is currently in the process of analyzing results of the first ever SERU survey at UConn, which was administered in fall 2019 to graduate students, with plans to release the undergraduate portion during the spring 2020 semester, but was ultimately delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey is administered online through the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness and is available to all students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees at the University of Connecticut. Participation in the survey is incentivized in multiple ways. All participants receive discounts from Dell that can be used towards the purchase of computers, laptops, electronics, and other accessories. Additionally, students who complete at least 75% of the survey questions are entered into drawings for gift cards of various amounts.

While the entire survey may not be shared due to SERU guidelines, sample questions of the survey include:

Q30: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about your current graduate/professional program? (Strongly disagree, disagree, agree, strongly agree, no response)
• Faculty respect students regardless of their background.
• Students respect other students regardless of their background.
• Rules and regulations are fair.
• Rules and regulations are equitably applied.
• Faculty encourage expression of diverse viewpoints from their students.
• There are open lines of communication between students and faculty regarding student needs, concerns, and suggestions.
• Students are given an active role in departmental decisions that affect them.
• There is a sense of solidarity among the students.
• Overall, the environment or climate is positive and welcoming.

Q32. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about your current graduate/professional program? (Strongly disagree, disagree, agree, strongly agree, no response)
• The climate for women in my program/department is at least as good as it is for men.
• The climate for men in my program/department is at least as good as it is for women.
• The climate for transgender/ genderqueer/ gender non-conforming students in my program/department is at least as good as it is for cisgender2 students.
• The climate for LGB+ students in my program/department is at least as good as it is for heterosexual students.
• The climate for racial/ethnic minority students in my program/department is at least as good as it is for nonminority students.
• The climate for international students in my program/department is at least as good as it is for domestic students
• The climate for students with disabilities in my program/department is at least as good as it is for students without disabilities.
• The climate for religious minority students in my program/department is at least as good as it is for non-religious minority students.

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

Does the assessment process address student outcomes related to diversity, equity and success (e.g. graduation/success and retention rates for underrepresented groups)?:

Does the assessment process address employee outcomes related to diversity and equity (e.g. pay and retention rates for underrepresented groups)?:

A brief description of the most recent assessment findings and how the results are used in shaping policy, programs and initiatives:

Each year the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) asks students at hundreds of colleges and universities to reflect on the time they devote to various learning activities. The topics explored are linked to previous research on student success in college. Results from NSSE can provide prospective students with insights into how they might learn and develop at a given college.

As it pertains to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the following Performance Indicators from the 2018 NSSE Survey revealed the following conclusions regarding “Discussions with Diverse Others”. The following data indicates percentages of students who responded that they “Very Often” or “Often” had discussions with:
• People from a race or ethnicity other than your own – 76%
• People from an economic background other than your own – 71%
• People with religious beliefs other than your own – 70%
• People with political views other than your own – 60%

In addition, when asked “Do class discussions and assignments include the perspectives of diverse groups of people?” 48% of First Year students responded that faculty "frequently" included diverse perspectives in course discussions or assignments.

The UConn Workplace Climate Survey for employees was conducted first in 2012, and again in 2017. This survey addresses employee outcomes and perceptions related to diversity and equity, while collecting important demographic information. A report of the survey’s findings is available to the public at https://respect.uconn.edu.

Between 2012 and 2017, there has been moderate positive change in the supportive experiences with coworkers and supervisors, and little to no change in perceptions of a diversity-supported climate, although the score itself was already among strongest of the categories analyzed. These findings, among others, have shaped recommendations for the implementation of university-wide policies and initiatives, such as those detailed in the report. These recommendations include but are not limited to:
- Mandating New Employee Orientation (NEO) for all employees.
- Increasing employees’ exposure to Non-Retaliation, Reasonable Accommodations, and Violence in the Workplace Prevention policies.
- Improving institutional accountability for community building, specifically by increasing interaction across UConn.
- Enhancing methods for documenting and addressing areas with civility problems.

The status of these recommendations and others can be found within the report itself.

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:

A complete report of the Workplace Climate Survey, including the survey results, changes from 2012-2017, policy recommendations, and the status of these initiatives can be found on the UConn website at https://respect.uconn.edu. This report is publicly available for any user both within and outside of the UConn community.

As the results of the SERU survey become available, they will be made publicly available at the following link: https://oire.uconn.edu/seru/

UConn plans to use the SERU data for program review, research regarding campus climate, engagement, learning outcomes, accreditation requirements, and new initiatives to be implemented on campus based on the results.

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:
The website URL where the report or summary is publicly posted:
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support 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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.