Perspectives

Intellectual Diversity and the University

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

By John Coleman, dean, College of Liberal Arts

The university’s Campus Climate Report, issued in January 2015, provides a wealth of information to explore climate on the Twin Cities campus. In addition, the report details a number of diversity efforts at the university over the past 10-15 years. The report is tremendously rich, well worth reading, and we can all learn much from it. I would also recommend reviewing the university’s helpful Improving Campus Climate site, which pulls together analysis, news reports, and university news on climate-related issues.

One of the less-noted aspects of the student survey results in the 2015 climate report concerns the expression of political and religious beliefs on campus. These results were obtained in the annual Student Experience in the Research University survey over several years preceding the climate report. Response rates range from 24 to 34 percent across the years of the survey. The respondents are not necessarily a representative sample of the entire population of students.

Between 1/3 and 2/5 of our students convey concerns about their ability to express their political or religious beliefs and convey skepticism about whether students are respected regardless of their political and religious beliefs. When an instructor is looking at his or her class of 50 students, on average 20 of those students would say they do not agree or only somewhat agree that they feel free to express their political or religious views on campus. Read the full post.

Perspectives

"Perspectives" stories are the views and opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect any official position of the University of Minnesota.