Campus Climate Initiatives

W.K. Kellogg Foundation diversity, equity, and inclusion implementation grant recipients awarded Summer and Fall 2014

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Implementation Grant request for proposal elicited ten submissions in July 2014. Five grants were awarded in the amount of $72,982. A second call for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Implementation Proposals was issued, yielding five additional submissions. Four grants were awarded for in the amount of $57,736. In total, nine Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Implementation Grants were funded in the amount of $130,718.

Promoting Inclusion for International Graduate Students: Addressing Perceived Needs Related to Faculty Teaching and Advising: $14,936

The purpose of this project is to examine the perceived needs of current faculty within the Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology (ELRT) regarding the teaching and advising of international graduate students enrolled in department programs. Currently, ELRT enrolls the greatest number of international graduate students in the College, totaling 110 of these students as of Fall 2014. This project also seeks to design and implement a number of practical workshops highlighting best practices for working with this population based on feedback from assessment data collected. These workshops will be both face-to-face and online, developed in collaboration with WMU’s Center for English Language and Culture for International Students (CELCIS) office, and will be available both to ELRT and the larger campus community.

Leadership team members: Eric Archer, Ila Baker, Jennifer Deranek, Thomas Marks

Advocacy for the Reinstitution of the Africana Studies Program: $15,000

The purpose of this grant application is to implement a systemic transformational change towards diversity, equity, and inclusion by advocating, mobilizing and campaigning for the reinstitution of the former Africana Studies Program at WMU. This grant seeks to include the voices of students in the dialogue about diversity, inclusion and equity at WMU, especially when it comes to the implementation of multicultural curricula that speak to diverse students’ experiences. The rationale for this grant project comes from the realization that the voices of WMU students on the diversity or lack thereof of the curricula that they are being taught at this institution was not a focus of the Climate Survey and so is missing from it. Therefore, this grant project aims to give students a voice on the issue of the suspension[1] of the Africana Studies Program.

Leadership team members: Mimi Abdul, Mariam Konaté, and Fredah Mainah

[1] Since the Fall of 2011, the Africana Studies Program has been “under review.” Students are no longer being enrolled in the program and only one introduction course is being currently taught.

Promoting Change in Attitudes: Inclusion, Access and Welcome for Students with Disabilities Project: $15,000

The purpose of the project is to develop and implement programs based on the outcomes of surveys directed to better understand research question 1 of the 2013 Campus Climate Survey: “To what extent and in what ways do faculty, staff and students perceive that diversity on campus is recognized, honored, and appreciated?” in the context of disability. Through this examination, Disability Services for Students will garner meaningful and detailed views of disability among the university community in terms of awareness, attitudes, availability, and access of services. Programs will include disability awareness, inclusion and equity and may be presented as training, speaker forums and/or interactive exhibits. Impact on of programs on systemic transformational change will be assessed in part through re-administration of disability focused climate survey.

Leadership team members: Dorothy H. Fancher, Jayne Fraley-Burgett, HESA practicum student

Sindecuse Health Center: $15,000

First, the committee would like to seek changes to the physical environment, as indicated by initial impressions and future assessment results. It has been found to be rather difficult to access parts of the building for those with physical disabilities. The second area of focus is in regard to leadership and professional development. All new and current employees must go through an orientation program with trainings repeated annually yet none of these trainings promote diversity issues as a necessary component of being a competent professional. Areas to explore include trainings that have proven successful or the development of our own healthcare related training program endorsing cultural competence as a required source of skill and knowledge for all employees. Thirdly, focus can be given to the equity and access of care for campus community members. Our hypothesis is that improvements in the above areas will lead to improvements in equity and access regarding health care services provided. 

Leadership team members: Will Arbogast, Geniene Gersh, Kris Hanson, Sue Kohlert, Lisa Marshall, Jim Middleton, Cari Robertson, Milke Shelden, Chris van Balen

Behavior Analysis in Urban Education: A project-based approach to minority student recruitment and retention: $ 12,800

The purpose of the project is to create a critical mass of talented undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in applications of behavior analysis to low-income students in minority communities. The project proposes to accomplish this by recruiting a diverse group of psychology majors who are interested in applying behavior analysis to children from low-income communities, and by using retention efforts to support psychology majors who are interested in working in urban communities. The specific objectives of this program are to: 1) develop an engaging course in behavior analysis that teaches undergraduate students to apply behavior analysis in low-income, minority communities; 2) establish community partnerships with schools where students can conduct service-learning projects with students from low socioeconomic backgrounds; 3) recruit diverse students interested in working with underserved populations from external undergraduate programs in psychology and education; 4) increase student interest in working with low-income, minority populations through a communication campaign; 5) develop a Behavior Analysis in Urban Education (BAUE) student interest group to support student research; and 6) increase the academic outcomes of recruited students during their first year as psychology majors at WMU.

Leadership team members: Denise E. Ross, Stephanie Peterson, Bette Ludwig, and Tomesha Manora

School of Interdisciplinary Health Programs Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Implementation Grant: $13,900

The School of Interdisciplinary Health Programs (SIHP) as a committee of the whole plans to spend the next fiscal year 2014/2015 involved in the implementation of the school’s diversity plan, which has five key components. This plan builds on the findings from the University Climate Study conducted in 2013. After obtaining results derived from the school’s assessment phase, we will develop new initiatives designed specially to address the distinctive SIHP constituency with the intention to add to the previously developed and the successful programming offered out of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (e.g., Everyone Counts Series, Campus Climate Initiatives, MLK Celebration). The SIHP members are committed to align ourselves around common goals while fostering a climate which values diversity.

Leadership team members: Susan Caulfield, John Coons, Janet Hahn, Kathryn Lewis Ginebaugh, Doris Ravotas, Melissa Villarreal, Delores Walcott

Expansion of the Bronco Study Zone: $15,000

This project supports an expansion of the Bronco Study Zone (BSZ), which is a collaborative, grassroots effort started by the Haworth College of Business (HCoB) Advising Office, University Libraries (UL), and the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Student Success Services division as a way to help academically under-prepared students negotiate the WMU academic success network. In order to succeed at WMU, these students need to take advantage of academic success assistance, but for reasons related to systemic cultural biases, many are currently floundering. Bronco Study Zone provides a location for and academic assistance to a growing number of academically underprepared students. This project focuses on improved coordination of the BSZ and expansion of content and writing tutoring, which are needed for us to validly assess the impact of the BSZ on student learning and retention of academically underprepared students.

Leadership team members: Carol Adams-Shearer, Kim Ballard, Rosie Capps, Katie Easley, Christine Robinson

Systemic Transformational Change Toward Increased Transgender-Inclusion: $14,082

This project will takes a three-pronged approach to transformational change at WMU. First, the project will provide capacity to the Student Preferred Name Initiative. Building on the work of the Student Preferred Name exploratory committee, convened under the leadership of Dr. Christopher Tremblay in March 2014, and with support from the Provost, a task force will be charged to recommend policy language and a multi-phase implementation process permitting students to use a preferred name at the university. Second the project will support Gender Identity Academic Integration through professional developmental opportunities to instructors designed specifically to support transgender student classroom inclusion. A train-the-trainer module will also be developed to build future capacity and delivery of trainings following the close of the grant. Third, students enrolled in the Fall 2014 section of GWS 2010 – LGBT Studies (taught by Codie Stone) will have an opportunity to participate in Service-Learning projects including a transgender education campaign on campus. Service-learning projects will be identified and designed by students enrolled in the course with support from Office of LBGT Student Services staff.

Leadership team members: Tracy Hall, Jen Hsu, Codie Stone, Shawn Tenney

English Department, Writing Center and Alpha Program Implementation Grant: $15,000

This project will include an assessment plan and related workshop-based education effort that will promote change in diversity, equity, and inclusion by broadening faculty and student awareness of post-structural, multi-media plagiarism theory and of writing pedagogy and assessment strategies that can help all students learn to understand the U.S. plagiarism construct, avoid unintentional and intentional plagiarism, and engage in their writing development. The initial step in our effort to bring about change in the WMU understanding of plagiarism and of why students plagiarize will consist of a multi-part assessment that will serve inclusion by providing data about (1) WMU student writers’ plagiarism insights and practices, (2) WMU instructors’ understanding of best practices in helping all students, but especially English language learners and academically underprepared students, engage with writing without plagiarizing, and (3) WMU instructors’ varied practices for dealing with perceived incidents of student plagiarism, which are not currently consistent, although our university does have an established academic integrity policy and related procedure in place. This project will also bring two related educational workshops about plagiarism and writing instruction to our WMU setting. The educational efforts will be developed specifically for our campus and by a ranking scholar in the plagiarism studies field, Dr. Sandra Jamieson from Drew University, and a ranking scholar in the TESOL and writing field, Dr. Tony Silva, from Purdue University. The efforts of these scholars on our campus will include structured workshops and talks specifically designed for students and workshops and talks specifically designed for instructors/staff/administrators as well as informal discussions.

Leadership team members: Staci Perryman-Clark, Kim Ballard, and Walter Malone

W.K. Kellogg Foundation diversity, equity, and inclusion assessment grant recipients awarded June 27, 2014

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Assessment Grant request for proposal elicited nine submissions.  Eight grants were awarded in the amount of $21,984. Below is a summary of the projects.

Assessing Minority and International Student Enrollment in the Lee Honors College: $1,950

The goal is to assess why the percentage of minority and international students enrolled in Lee Honors College is less than the percentages of minority and international students enrolled at WMU and what efforts can be made to increase enrollment diversity amongst Lee Honors College students.

Leadership team members: Jane Baas, Ashleigh Watson, and Kimberly Cho

College of Aviation: $2,234

This assessment project will revise a student climate survey that was conducted in the College of Aviation to appropriately target faculty, staff, and administrators. As a follow-up to the initial student survey conducted in the College of Aviation, student focus groups will be held. There will also be a review of the environment and marketing materials within the College to determine how welcoming it is for all students as well as current and potential faculty, staff, and administrators.

Leadership team members: Beth Beaudin-Seiler, Dave Powell, Raymond Thompson, and Gail Rouscher

College of Fine Arts: $2,800

This assessment project will focus on the Multicultural and Inclusive climate of the College of Fine Arts at Western Michigan University. The project will be a collaborative effort of all the units in the College of Fine Arts.

Leadership team members: Joan Herrington, Alexander Cannon, Kirsten Harvey, Dwandra Lampkin, and Yuanliang Sun

Disability Services for Students: Disability Climate Survey: $3,000

This project will pilot an assessment that is focused specifically on garnering more meaningful and detailed data from students, faculty, and staff with regard to their perceptions of equity and access on the WMU campus. An assessment will focus on all types of disability including mental illness. This project will also help to foster collaboration with Counseling Services improving knowledge and understanding of both student and faculty perceptions of mental health on campus.

Leadership team members: Jayne Fraley-Burgett, Kathleen Camire, and a HESA practicum student (TBD)

English 1050: $3,000

The purpose of this grant it to study how ethnic minority English language learner students experience ENGL 1050: Thought & Writing so the team may learn how this seminal undergraduate class 1) can become more accessible to these students and better prepare them to engage in a global economy; 2) can provide a more welcoming environment for all students to engage with their writing development and thrive in their WMU experience and beyond; and 3) can develop an innovative, more effective curriculum for ENGL 1050 students and class instructors.

Leadership team members: Staci Perryman-Clark, Kim Ballard, Iliana Rocha, and Tara Gonzales

Interior Design Undergraduate Program: $3,000

This project will assess issues related to the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students and the inclusive climate of the Interior Design undergraduate program, specifically recruitment and retention of African-American and Hispanic/Latino students, particularly in the professional third and fourth years of the program, and creating a welcoming and safe environment for all students in the program.

Leadership team members: Gary Bischof, Kathy Cummings, Sarah Drabik, Mary Beth Janssen, Beth Jarl, and Carol Reid

School for Interdisciplinary Health Programs Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Assessment Grant: $3,000

The School for Interdisciplinary Health Programs team will administer a survey for current faculty, staff, administrators, and students on their perceptions, overall experiences, knowledge and understanding of cultural differences among their peers and the associated impact on their lives. The assessment will occur at two different points in time. Faculty, staff, administrators, and students will be surveyed before and after individuals have participated in numerous activities and following a variety of program changes.

Leadership team members: Delores Walcott, Melissa Villarreal, Doris Ravotas, Janet Hahn, Kathryn Lewis Ginebaugh, Susan Caulfield, and John Coons

Sindecuse Health Center: $3,000

Sindecuse Health Center Diversity & Inclusion Committee will assess student and staff/faculty perceptions of the current multicultural and inclusive climate at SHC to gather data to drive system-wide change thereby ensuring that SHC is a welcoming and safe environment where all campus community members can fully participate, success and thrive. 

Leadership team members: Lisa Marshall, Sarah Good, Geniene Gersh, Jim Middleton, Cari Robertson, Kris Hanson, Mike Shelden, Will Arbogast, Chris van Balen, and Sue Kohlert

About the campus climate study

In a recent Western Michigan University campus climate survey, nearly 92 percent of the 5,615 participants positively endorsed the statement that "overall, diversity and inclusion are respected and appreciated at WMU." More than 80 percent agreed that campus leadership supports diversity and inclusion. 

The response rate to the survey invitation was nearly 20 percent, double the rate typical for such surveys. The respondents included 4,072 students, 493 faculty members, 924 staff members and 126 administrators. In addition to the survey participants, 81 people took part in campus focus groups.

Despite the positive results in defining the general or overall climate on campus, the research uncovered areas that need attention to make the University a place that is not simply focused on compliance with nondiscrimination guidelines, but one that is truly multicultural. The most serious of the issues uncovered related to experiencing and reporting unfair and inequitable treatment. The study found a reluctance to report such treatment and dissatisfaction with the way incidents reported were handled.

Of the people who participated in the survey, 6.5 percent reported that sometime during their time at WMU, they had experienced unfair or inequitable treatment. Of those individuals, fewer than a third made an official report of that treatment, and only 20 percent of those who did report such problems said they thought their report was handled with fairness.

"As we look at those percentages and the individual feelings of disappointment they represent, we have a clear imperative to move forward and reach out to our campus community in ways that reaffirm our commitment to diversity and inclusion and our determination to hear and treat each person with fairness and respect," says WMU President John M. Dunn.

2013 campus climate study findings

Executive summary

Full report