Mesa Community College’s (MCC) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) survey is a student opinion questionnaire created to understand what students think of the institution’s social progress. This survey will offer insight into the progress of MCC’s five year strategic goal to become a Guided Pathway Institution, specifically its goal to provide an equitable and inclusive college experience to its diverse student population.
Successful implementation of this DEI survey is goal number one of four in MCC’s diversity, equity, and inclusion segment of their Strategic Priorities 2018-2020 plan. Subsequential goals include: eliminating student achievement gaps, fostering inclusive college climates and recruiting and maintaining a diverse workforce.
In a response to MesaCC Legend’s questions, Dennis Mitchell, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness at MCC, wrote, “The data from this survey, along with the DEI focus groups conducted in fall 2019, will be used to inform our work to improve the MCC experience… Without this data, we are blind to knowing what initiatives or programs we need to create in order to help the college create a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse environment for faculty, staff and students.”
Still some students wonder whether or not a survey can actually address topics such as diversity and inclusivity. Survey responses from questions like, “Within the past twelve months have you observed or experienced discrimination while at Mesa Community College…” could vary widely based on personal background, political belief or simply by which groups of students are interested enough to respond.
“I see what they are trying to do, but I think that a 25 minute survey is kind of a lot. It’s a long time, and students are going to skip over it anyway. I think if they incorporated something during school it would be beneficial. Something they could take part in,” said student Kari King.
When asked if he had heard of the DEI survey, Noah Pederson, student, replied, “No, not until today.”
When asked his opinion on the survey’s goal Pederson replied, “I’m not sure, I don’t think it’s entirely my place to say, but I do believe that there is something important there that they are trying to figure out, and so maybe a survey is worth doing, but I think that something more hands on might be the better course of action.”
The DEI survey was planned to be released in December of 2019, but due to delays during the focus groups conducted during its inception, it was delayed to the second week of January and had a new deadline of Jan. 31 declared. As of Jan. 28, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness reports 600 students have completed the survey, just three percent of MCC’s student body.
“We are hoping to get over 4,000 students to respond,” Mitchell wrote. “…the information will be very helpful for the college to help improve the MCC experience for everyone.”
With much of MCC’s future strategy dependant on the information taken from this poll, it is likely the future of the school’s DEI policies will depend on responses from less than 10 percent of students.