Like many universities, we use the word “diversity” a lot, but recently, EMU has made it a priority to learn more about the on-the-ground realities of diversity on campus. As part of the work of the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, EMU is attempting to further its understanding of campus diversity using a survey tool called the Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) survey.
This is the first campus climate survey of its kind that EMU has taken advantage of in recent years. Many other schools, including Virginia Tech University, the University of Michigan, and Harvard University, have used the CECE survey to effectively address the diversity needs of their respective campuses.
According to Todd Van Pater, Research Analyst for the Department of Institutional Research at EMU, “CECE is particularly designed to discover your experience as a member of a particular cultural community — the distinct and meaningful cultural groups (nationality, race, religion, sexuality, peer groups, or others) with which you most strongly identify.”
EMU’s version of the CECE asks students how strongly they agree with statements like “I feel a strong connection to the community at this institution,” and “It is easy to find people at this institution with similar backgrounds as me.”
“It’s really important because it’s a chance for people to let the university know about diversity and inclusion issues and their own experiences so that the university has accurate data on how things are going, rather than just working off of assumptions,” said senior and SGA Co-President Caleb Schrock-Hurst. “Without knowing where the problem areas lie, the university has a really hard time effectively addressing issues.”
Ideally, the results of this survey would help EMU to pinpoint focus areas in its attempt to provide a campus atmosphere that is inclusionary and welcoming. In an effort to further incentivize survey participation, ten $20 Amazon gift cards will be awarded in a random drawing at the end of the semester.
“With what we learn from the survey, educators and administrators can better address the needs and experiences of the diverse set of people who make up our students,” said Van Pater. “So, obviously, the more students who take it, the more we can learn.”
“Improving the school through giving feedback is important, and this is a really simple and easy way to do that,” said Schrock-Hurst.
The survey will remain open through the end of the semester. Students interested in participating can find a link to the survey in an email entitled “The CECE survey.”