Published: Aug. 26, 2021

Editor’s note: This is part of a monthly series of campus updates on diversity, equity and inclusion. This series will continue throughout the year.

2021 Campus Culture Survey Coming in October

In October, the Campus Culture Survey will assess the extent to which students, staff and faculty feel respected, supported and valued at CU Boulder.

The survey is the primary means by which the university works to gain a better understanding of how to improve workplace cultures, how to expand programs and services to foster a greater sense of belonging, and how to build a more inclusive campus community.

The survey will also help CU Boulder gain insights into how employee and student experiences differ based on aspects of personal identity.

Starting the week of Oct. 18, undergraduate and graduate students, staff and faculty will start receiving email invitations to participate in the survey, which will remain open through Nov. 21.

Depending on their role at CU Boulder, participants will receive questions about their workplace and/or their classroom and social cultures on and off campus.

Questions will focus on sense of belonging, incivility and protected-class discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment.

Also—and this is critical to understanding the experiences of students during their time at CU Boulder—undergraduate and graduate students will be asked to respond to questions related to sexual misconduct such as sexual assault and exploitation, abuse in a relationship and stalking.

​​The survey is a collaborative effort among the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC), the Office of Data Analytics (ODA), the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (ODECE) and other campus partners.

Survey administrators say ensuring the anonymity and privacy of students, staff and faculty who participate in the survey and protecting the integrity of the data gathered through the survey are the campus’s “first duty of care.” Data gathered through the survey will provide a benchmark for the Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence in Academics (IDEA) Plan, CU Boulder’s blueprint for building a more diverse, equitable and inclusive campus community.

It will also support the work of the Academic Review and Planning Advisory Committee (ARPAC), which helps identify strengths and weaknesses and provides constructive options for program development and modification.

CU Boulder’s survey is part of a broader effort underway on all four CU campuses to improve the university's programs and services.

IDEA Council continues its work this fall

A campus advisory council of students, staff and faculty who are prioritizing recommendations in the campus’s Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence in Academics (IDEA) Plan will continue its work this fall. The plan is CU Boulder’s blueprint for building a more diverse, equitable and inclusive campus community.

After convening last fall, the IDEA Council set student, staff and faculty retention as their goals. Since then, the council has approved recommendations to support faculty-and-staff affinity groups, expand gender-neutral bathrooms, and asked the Boulder Faculty Assembly to begin the work of determining how best to incorporate a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) requirement into the faculty annual merit evaluation process.

The council is poised to discuss several new recommendations to address issues ranging from leadership accountability and faculty mentoring to enhanced support and professional development for staff.

New senior vice chancellor for DEI to join campus community this fall

Sonia DeLuca Fernández will join the CU Boulder community on Sept. 1 as the university’s senior vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

As a member of the chancellor’s leadership team, DeLuca Fernández will provide strategic direction for the university’s broader DEI initiatives, programs and strategies to improve the campus culture.

In a July 6 announcement, Chancellor Phil DiStefano said he was impressed with her scholarly work, change management experience, and her track record for building relationships with internal and external stakeholders to support institutional change.

Previously, DeLuca Fernández served as associate vice provost for educational equity at The Pennsylvania State University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in African American studies and a master’s degree in social foundations of education, both from the University of Iowa, and a doctorate in higher education from the University of Michigan.

In explaining why she chose to come to CU Boulder, DeLuca Fernández said she was “drawn by the authentic commitment of both leadership and the community to cultural change and by the campus’s willingness to invest resources, imagination and energy into that change.”

Sustaining our practice of inclusion

Campus efforts and investments to address pressing and painful inequities at CU Boulder are only a beginning. Creating a culture of belonging will take each member of our community practicing sustained personal work to truly embrace and support diverse perspectives and identities in our community.

This fall, Chancellor Phil DiStefano and other campus leaders urge every member of our community to join in learning more about diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism and to work continuously together to address these challenges more actively and in ways that can help authentically transform our campus culture in the coming year.

  • Resources: University Libraries offers a growing list of resources, including more information about this year’s Buffs One Read selection, American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures, by award-winning actress, producer, director and activist America Ferrera. Watch Ferrera’s riveting TED Talk, “My Identity is a Superpower—Not an Obstacle.”
  • Programs: The Center for Teaching and Learning offers programs focused on creating inclusive classrooms.
  • ODECE: More information is available via the ODECE website, and members of the campus community can subscribe to the office’s newsletter for updates on programs, events and initiatives.
  • Campus DEI: A wrap-up of the campus’s DEI initiatives is available online.

In case you missed them, read the following stories in the July DEI campus update:

  • Campus supports DACA recipients following federal ruling
  • Bill provides in-state tuition to Indigenous students with historical ties to Colorado
  • CU Upward Bound celebrates 40 years of supporting Indigenous students