REBUILDING THE CAL POLY “XPERIENCE”
While the university is well known for its academic accolades, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo is challenged by a lack of ethnic, cultural, and fiscal diversity. The university is dedicated to cultivating a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse environment so that every student feels like they belong to a community. To achieve long-term institutional change, Cal Poly is embarking on a major diversity and inclusion initiative with the help of equity and inclusion expert Damon A. Williams.
In January, University Leadership launched an unprecedented year-long call to action to accelerate Cal Poly’s inclusivity efforts. Recently, the Verdin team was brought in to assist the Cal Poly Office of Diversity and Inclusion with a campus-wide effort to engage with campus stakeholders and get a better understanding of their issues around diversity and inclusion.
The effort is named “Cal Poly Xperience,” or “CPX” and includes Listening Sessions, an online survey, and events around campus. There will also be a report of all findings published later this year, that will inform an action plan to execute change. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is asking students, faculty, and staff to participate and be the voice that could shape the future of Cal Poly. The theme is “Share it. Shape it. Change it.” because the university needs the campus community’s involvement to successfully make change happen.
To get the best results, the office needs high response rates from staff, faculty and students, especially underserved communities. The more people that respond, the better the office can target and solve central issues that could be affecting diversity at Cal Poly.
In the past, surveys of this kind have had a lower response rates among students. The last survey, conducted in 2014, had a response of 25% for undergraduate students. Though this is good in the overall world of research and online surveys, Cal Poly wants a higher response to ensure all perspectives are heard. This year, with a higher response rate goal in mind, CPX comes with a wide variety of incentives to participate, they are being transparent and showing the direct changes the action plan could support, and are getting the word out everywhere to increase awareness.
The Verdin team is confident that this campaign will have much higher visibility than the last survey, with outreach through clubs, colleges, at on-campus dining establishments, the UU, posters and rack cards available all over campus, emails, social posts and more.
Through the efforts of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Verdin team, and the campus community, Cal Poly will see a future built by solutions shaped from this campaign.