MU climate study reaches last stage

60-member panel convenes to discuss diversity on campus.
Friday, March 18, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:12 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The last piece in an analysis of MU’s diversity climate includes recommendations for increasing nonminority involvement in steps toward diversity and improving diversity training at the university.

In the fifth phase of MU’s Campus Climate Study for Underrepresented Groups, 60 participants of various races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions and genders gathered in focus groups and offered recommendations for improvement, based on the information gathered in the previous four stages of the study.

Other recommendations included changing how the university’s diversity is advertised and increasing the numbers of the university’s leadership involved in diversity issues. The study also addressed improvements in diversity issues related to faculty and staff.

Using the information gathered in the previous stages to stimulate discussions, the researchers conducted 13 focus groups and six individual interviews to find how they could improve the attitude toward diversity at the university. Participants were then asked four questions about the previous findings and their recommendations for improvement.

The report said many participants in this phase said the findings were an accurate portrayal of their experiences. It also said a significant number of participants found the results of the previous studies validating.

Roger Worthington, MU professor of educational, school and counseling psychology and principal investigator for the study, said these results were for the administration to address, but he would work with the deputy chancellor’s office to see these recommendations come to fruition. He said the MU Diversity Council is working to address a wide range of issues on campus, among them campus climate.

The study has been gathering information from under-represented minority groups in five phases, a different phase each year, since 2001.

Previous stages have focused on participation in a national study of campus climate, non-academic student services providers, students who use those services and instances of violence and harassment encountered by MU students, faculty and staff. The study targeted these points with the intention of finding the climate of diversity for underrepresented groups.

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