NASHVILLE, TN — Lipscomb University commissioned the Racial Justice and Unity Center or RJUC to conduct a campus climate survey. The survey aimed to assess the university’s racial and ethnic climate, gather information and insights and provide essential training invaluable to the university’s leadership in addressing racial and ethnic issues.
The survey was launched in early 2021 and distributed to all Lipscomb University personnel, staff, and students. According to William Lofton Turner, special counsel to the president on diversity and inclusion, the response was high, with 921 students and more than 500 professors and staff completing the questionnaire, significantly beyond the percentages experienced at comparable colleges.
“No one knows our university better than our own faculty, staff and students,” said Turner. “A climate survey allows us to quickly and easily gather their input, analyze the data and determine action steps.”
“This survey will provide a better understanding of the racial dynamics at Lipscomb and in our society and will equip us with motivation, knowledge and the skill to do our part to bring about change,” said Turner. “The survey is designed to help Christian leaders to measure how equipped they are to work toward Biblical racial justice and unity.”
The university also hired RJUC to conduct on-campus focus groups and executive leadership training based on survey results.
In March, 42 participants took part in focus group discussions, including students and staff survey respondents of various races and ethnicities chosen at random.
“All student groups reported having more overall positive experiences than negative experiences,” Turner said. “However there were negative experiences experienced by certain groups and they differ according to groups. We’ll be able to take that data to figure out better ways of addressing these issues.”
RJUC is collaborating with Lipscomb’s Executive Leadership Team to create a training program that will incorporate these findings. The training will be delivered to executive, senior leadership and trustees this summer and then to academic leadership, faculty, staff and students later in the year.
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