Faculty, staff, students, and administrators at Texas A&M University came together on April 20 to examine and learn from campus climate survey data and provide recommendations for a more inclusive campus community.
This forum, which began in 2011, featured remarks from President Michael K. Young, Provost and Executive Vice President, Dr. Karan L. Watson, and Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity Dr. Christine Stanley. Dr. John August, Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost, Dr. Karen Butler-Purry, Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Studies, Dr. Barbara Abercrombie, Vice President for Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness, and Dr. C.J. Woods, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, shared key findings for their respective units, including questions to be addressed further through dialogues in working groups.
To begin the forum, Young underscored the seriousness of the day’s activities to the approximately 180 students, faculty, staff, and administrators in attendance.
“One of the great elements of today is that it is one of those moments in which we know we have a very important issue and we also know we can know more about it, learn more about it, take the data and be very intentional about doing things that demonstrably make a difference,” Young said. “Creating this kind of climate at Texas A&M is absolutely critical to what we do. It has all sorts of dimensions to it, but at the end, it comes down to making sure we can create the best climate possible for the work that needs to be done at this university: the teaching we do as young people come in to this university.”
Watson followed up Young’s remarks by noting the difference between an organization’s “artifacts,” the data and history an organization has, and its “espoused values,” the type of identity an organization wants to take on. She noted the challenge for Texas A&M is to close the gap between Texas A&M’s espoused values and its artifacts.
“We have espoused for a long time that we want to be great at diversity,” Watson said. “But the artifacts, the actual numbers, how our processes work, why people stay or leave, succeed or thrive, don’t always seem to align with our espoused values.”
Before heading into survey data presentations, Stanley outlined what needed to be accomplished during the forum. “Our goal today is to share the results of our assessment data and even more important, in small working groups, engage in dialogue to generate specific, concrete, and actionable recommendations,” Stanley said. “We need your ideas because we create the climate at Texas A&M, and, I want us to lead the nation in being a campus that models a sense of belonging to all.”
Information on the presentations can be found at: http://diversity.tamu.edu/Campus-Climate/Presentations. At the conclusion of the forum, recommendations offered included: more experiential learning opportunities for students; programs and activities to reduce bystander behaviors and attitudes; more campus dialogues among and between faculty, staff, and students; and sharing best practices across the campus community to model and influence change.
Media contact: Sam Peshek, 979-845-4680, firstname.lastname@example.org