Initial Publication Date: May 21, 2014

Use Data to Assess Impact

The collection of quantitative data is important for establishing a baseline for your department's efforts at broadening participation. You don't know what the problem is until you know what the numbers are, and you don't know whether you're solving the problem unless you know the where you are starting from. Types of diversity data that you may wish to collect include:

  • racial identity
  • ethnic background
  • income status
  • first generation college
  • disability status
  • military/veteran status
  • sex, gender identity, and LGBT status

Some of these data will be available at your institution's office of institutional research, but others may need to be explicitly gathered by your department (surveys and/or exit interviews). The two key questions you need to ask are:

  • Do your department's incoming student numbers match your campus level of diversity? (i.e., baseline for recruitment)
  • Do your outgoing (graduating) numbers match your incoming numbers? (i.e., how effective is your retention?)

We recommend designating a person or group in your department to take responsibility for gathering these data and reporting them to the rest of the department on a regular basis.