Businesses & Nonprofits
Diversity climate studies are an essential step in understanding the inherent strengths an organization has on diversity issues and how those strengths can be leveraged to make further improvements. We use various assessment methods, including surveys, focus groups, interviews, and policy reviews to create an incisive report with recommendations on key diversity issues. In turn, organizations can use the report as springboard for strategic planning and implementation of change efforts.
Campus climate studies usually highlight “problems” in organizational diversity and suggest remedies. Our experience has shown that although such efforts are well intentioned, they frequently foment little change and leave constituents dissatisfied and frustrated. The problem arises because too little attention is paid to the inherent strengths colleges and universities have in welcoming diversity and studying how those strengths can be used to build greater capacity. An emphasis on negatives leaves people unprepared and unmotivated. The organization is therefore left with bold recommendations for change around diversity, but those recommendations remain mostly unimplemented because they have a poor “fit” with the way the organization operates.
Instead we use a model of appreciative inquiry, in which we search for procedures, people, interactions, and settings in which colleges and universities do a good job on diversity concerns. We use that information to help the institution build on its diversity strengths.
The Center is partnering with Dr. Jason Laker to carry out our work with colleges and universities. Jason has served as a Vice President of Student Affairs at San José State University, Dean of Student Affairs at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and Dean of Campus Life at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. As part of his work, Jason has chaired numerous diversity commitment efforts at universities and has great expertise in higher education systems.