Diversity Statement Process


2015–2016

  • Initial Draft and Diversity Council Review

December 2016

  • Additional Research Revised Draft
    • Original language reviewed and edited by Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Diversity Council Chair and Co-Chair.

February 2017

  • Draft Reviewed and Edited by Diversity Council

March 2017

  • Senior Leadership and Board Small Group Feedback
    • Small group discussion with Westminster’s Senior Team. There were also discussion with a small group of members from the Board of Trustees.
  • Statement Testing through Small Group and Chat with CDO Session
    • The diversity statement and commitment was continuously vetted through meeting with deans; by faculty, staff, and students who visited Shaw for the Chat with the CDO Session or visited the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
  • Student, Staff, and Faculty Focus Groups
  • Three separate focus groups were held for faculty, staff, and students. Individuals invited to the focus groups were recommended by faculty senate and staff council leadership, Dean of Students and Student Diversity and Inclusion Center (for students), or selected by CDO for the purposes of optimal representation across the college. In total, 44 individuals were invited to participate and 23 faculty, staff, and students attended and participated in the focus groups.

April 2017

  • Campus Community Comment and Feedback through Online Portal
  • Campus Feedback through Diversity Forum
    • The proposed statement was provided online for members of the campus community to submit an online form. Individuals could also submit hand-written notes and feedback directly to the AVP for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion through the feedback period (April 6–April 14). During this period campus leaders were asked to engage their faculty, staff, and students.
  • Establishment of Site with the Documented Process
  • Presentation to Faculty Senate
  • On-going Engagement Across Campus
    • Schools and departments are having discussions with faculty and staff on the implications of the diversity statement.

Feedback Period

  • Themes from the Online Feedback Process
    • From online forms, emails, and submitted documents, there were 31 unique feedback documents (26 forms, 2 emails, and 3 edited documents). Overall, 90% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the statement and commitment illustrated Westminster’s commitment to diversity and 93% of respondents felt that the definitions were helpful in providing context. There were three points of criticism reflected in responses. Here are the points with feedback.
      • The social justice definition appears one-sided (racially) and far reaching (two responses)
        • It was our effort to create language that spoke to inclusivity for all—while not ignoring the history of exclusion. The definition was intended to capture the existence of oppression and to recognize that institutions of higher education may play a role in fostering access and social mobility. The definition has been refined while keeping the focus that justice means understanding and recognizing systematic oppression.
      • The diversity statement infringes on the personal liberties of students and the College should just let students learn. (one response)
        • The diversity statement is intended to do the opposite—to create an environment where all students can learn, explore, and thrive. Research indicates that students are more engaged in their academic and social environments when they have a sense of belonging, which comes from creating inclusive environments.
      • The diversity statement is unclear and too long. (two responses)
        • The actual Diversity Statement is under 200 words. The supplemental Commitment to an Inclusive Westminster and Description of Terms provide greater context and clarity given the complexity and different aspects of the college campus. Focus groups and individual feedback urged for the inclusion of these supplemental sections.

May 2017

  • Presentation to Board of Trustee
  • Presentation to the Westminster Alumni Board
  • Presentation to Staff Council

September 2017

  • Submit to Board of Trustees for Adoption