More than 12,800 students, faculty and staff responded in the last month to Duke University’s first university-wide survey on diversity, equity and inclusion.
Results from the survey, which will be compiled and analyzed in the coming months, will be used as a baseline to assess the effectiveness of current and planned programmatic and policy changes designed to help Duke become a more just and equitable community for all its members. A written report will be issued to the Duke community later in the summer.
While participation varied among different groups, officials said the response rate offers a statistically valid sample that will be representative of each of the groups and the overall institution. The response rate was 24 percent for students, 53 percent for staff, and 41 percent for faculty.
“We knew we were assessing climate at a time when people are not working and studying on campus in traditional ways due to COVID,” said Kimberly Hewitt, vice president for institutional equity. “But we are really pleased with the number of people who participated. Their feedback will give us great insights into where we are as a community and where we need to focus more effort.”
The survey was sent to around 34,000 university faculty, staff and students in early April. While the School of Medicine and School of Nursing participated, the survey did not include the Duke University Health System, which conducted its own Checking in With You Survey in December 2020. Hewitt said the plan is to conduct an enterprise-wide survey eventually.
Results will be broken down by school and department where possible based on the local response rate. If too few people responded from a certain organizational or demographic category, results will not be provided at the unit level to ensure confidentiality of respondents; however, all responses will be incorporated in the overall results.
“Individual confidentiality is paramount,” said David Jamieson-Drake, assistant vice provost for institutional research. “These are challenging, hard issues. I’m really impressed with the courage of people sharing their perspectives, and we do not want to do anything to undermine the trust they have placed in us.”
As results are shared, a working group being led by Sherilynn Black, associate vice provost for faculty advancement, will assist schools and departments in understanding what the data means and identify gaps and opportunities for progress.
Hewitt said that Duke’s ongoing work toward expanding equity and inclusion will be overseen by a newly formed Racial Equity Advisory Council, which will include students, faculty and staff. The working group led by Black will be folded into the council, which will oversee the administration of future surveys to assess progress and make recommendations on taking action against systems of racism and inequality on campus to President Vincent Price, Provost Sally Kornbluth, Chancellor Eugene Washington, and Executive Vice President Daniel Ennis.