On September 28, an email was sent to all Concordia College students regarding taking a survey. The survey is about the racial climate of the campus that is administered by the National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climates (NACCC).
This is the first time this survey has been sent out. The survey is focused on student responses and other surveys will be sent out in the spring for faculty and staff.
Concordia is a part of an organization called Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA). One of the expectations of the liberal arts colleges that are a part of this organization is to send out the racial climate surveys.
“We are trying to get as much information as we can on our campus climate as it relates to race and racial interactions on campus,” said Edward Antonio, chief diversity officer for Concordia. “The college is committed to making a welcoming and inclusive environment.”
The survey is about 15 minutes long. Students tend to not be appealed to long surveys. To help get the attention of the students and bring an appeal to the survey, prize drawings were added.
Concordia is trying to get the word out about this survey. Social media campaigns, email reminders, tabling in the Atrium and emails to faculty and staff to encourage students to participate are all ways the college is making sure they are reaching the students.
The results of this survey will help better the racial climate of the campus and help bring programs to light.
“We want to hear from our students about what their experiences are which might lead to new kinds of programming, opportunities and different professional opportunities for faculty and staff,” said Susan Larson, Dean and Provost for the college.
According to Data USA, the student population at Concordia is 82.1% white, 2.55% Black or African American, 2.5% Hispanic or Latino, 1.86% Asian and the other 10.99% being Native or other.
Those statistics show that Concordia is not a very diverse campus, but the college is determined to change that.
“You are never where you want to be. There is always an opportunity to grow and to be better,” said Antonio.
Antonio also states that Concordia has its share of racial tensions and problems, but the college has opportunities to learn from each other and grow together. To become a better community as a whole.
He, along with many others around campus, wants to see white students and students of color learn to work together, to be better together and to communicate positively and constructively together.
“I will have a better sense of what the racial climate at Concordia looks like after the survey has come in and is analyzed,” said Antonio.
Concordia has seen a slight rise in enrollment from diverse students nationally and internationally. But there are still reports about the environment on campus from those students.
“I do hear reports from students who do not always have a very positive experience in all of their interactions,” said Larson. “I think there are opportunities to pay attention to students’ experiences and to improve them so everyone can have the best learning and living experiences they can get at college.”
Through the college’s alliance with LACRELA, Concordia leadership will be a part of a series of learning experiences. They will focus on scenarios of the racial problems on campus and them and future ones from happening effectively.
“In the United States, we are divided (among other things) by race and this is the case on college campuses, in churches and the corporate world. Racial interactions are everywhere,” said Antonio.
Concordia is using the survey to establish a baseline of where they are as a campus so they can better understand how the students are interacting with each other in regards to race.
The results from the survey are still coming in. Antonio said he would like to see more progress but he is encouraged by the results they have seen so far.