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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Survey seeks student feedback on diversity at Guilford

Students at Guilford may have noticed recent announcements about a survey being collected by the Diversity Action Committee— the Community Climate Survey. But what is the Community Climate Survey exactly, and what does it mean for Guilford students?

According to David Hammond, professor of theatre studies and co-chair of the Diversity Action Committee, the Community Climate Survey is “a broad-ranging survey that seeks information on the campus experience of all members of the Guilford community.”

The results of the survey will provide background information in assessing how well Guilford College does in making everyone feel welcome.

Hammond said that the idea of the Community Climate Survey evolved from an earlier survey aimed at a specific campus group.

It occurred to the committee that the results of the survey of one particular group should be placed in context in relationship to the entire campus, faculty and staff included.

The Diversity Action Committee was the result of Guilford’s implementation of its first Strategic Long-Range Plan. This plan, which was endorsed by the college community, included the creation of the Diversity Plan.

The Diversity Plan, according to junior and Community Senate Diversity Action Chair Tim Leisman, was “designed to help guide Guilford College to keep up with the diverse national environment we live in, and to keep up with the standard of an effective academic institution which ensures students are educated in a diverse environment.”

The committee includes faculty, staff and student representatives, and meets every other week to ensure that steps are being made toward implementing that goal in a timely manner.

The committee also consists of six subcommittees that meet on weeks that the large committee does not and focuses on specific areas.

While many students may not give the survey a second thought, members of the Diversity Action Committee want them to know that it is important.

“We need to get feedback about how we can better serve students, faculty and staff,” said Leisman. “We need to know what we are doing well and where we can improve.”

The goals of the committee, according to Leisman are not “a one-way relationship.”

“We need students to be a part of it,” said Leisman. “Getting diversity on campus has to be an everyday thing, not just on Martin Luther King Day.”

Director of Residence Life Susanna Westberg sits on the committee and also sees the importance of student feedback.

“Because this pertains to the entire Guilford community, we need responses from as many perspectives as possible, and the student perspective is crucial,” Westberg said. “This survey will hopefully guide us in improving the overall student experience and in ways to better carry out the Diversity Action Plan and achieve equality and diversity at our institution.”

Hammond agrees.

“We want to know how each individual perceives the Guilford experience,” said Hammond. “The survey is not cumbersome. It has many questions that can be answered by checking a box, but it also has open-ended questions. I like very much that it asks respondents how they identify themselves rather than requiring them to ‘pick a category.’”

Hammond said that the survey is an opportunity to be heard as an individual voice in the community.

“It’s a chance to tell Guilford who you are, how you see yourself, what you think is here for you, how you ‘fit in’ or would like to ‘fit in,’ what you like about your experience and what you think can be improved,” said Hammond. “Doing the survey will also give you a lot of information about our community and the diversity of its membership.”

“One way to start being more involved in Guilford is through participation in this really important project,” said Hammond. “Don’t sit on the sidelines. Join in. Participate.”

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