Campus Climate Initiatives

Request for proposals

The campus climate for diversity, equity, and inclusion tactical action community is inviting proposals from WMU faculty, staff, and administrators interested in implementing transformational diversity change initiatives derived from internal division/college/unit assessments and recommendation. The application deadline is Oct. 3, 2014 by 5 p.m.

Diversity Change Initiatives: Internal Implementation of Assessment Recommendations

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