Credit: Sofia Clark | Mustang News

Today, the campus-wide Cal Poly Experience (CPX) Survey went live and will remain open for the next month. The survey is intended to form a basis for Cal Poly’s next diversity and inclusion action plan.

The survey is accessible through a campus-wide email sent by Diversity Specialist Damon Williams and is open until May 7.

The survey is a part of $234,000 partnership with Williams and his Center for Strategic Diversity Leadership and Social Innovation Team, which began Feb. 28. The Center for Strategic Diversity Leadership and Social Innovation is not associated with Cal Poly.

The joint email was sent out by Armstrong and De Leon, citing the university’s desire to hear the authentic experiences of students on campus. The email said administrators need to know what is not working in order to make changes for the future.

The first stage of the initiative involved listening sessions that took place March 12-14, where students were encouraged to share their university experiences in a confidential environment. About 50 different sessions took place and focused on various student populations, with the goal of creating meaningful dialogue among participants.

The CPX Survey is the another step of the two part action-plan aimed at building an evidence-based understanding of the experiences of students, staff and faculty at Cal Poly, according to the Office of Diversity and Inclusivity website. Invited participants should receive a personalized email from Williams and his research team.

“I think the survey does have the power to make change, specifically because it is a campus-wide survey. It’s really one of those things that could help in guiding what we do next as a campus,” Bryan Hubain, assistant dean of students and director of the Cross Cultural Centers, said.

The survey is expected to take about 15 minutes to complete and addresses the university climate as a whole. There are four specific themes the survey is intended to address according the Office of Diversity and Inclusivity website: to assess the current campus climate, better understand the experiences of everyone, create an empirical database and create an action plan based off results.

The last campus-wide climate survey was completed five years ago in 2014. According to a university news release, 85% of students were pleased with their academic experience. But, more than 20% of the Cal Poly community claimed to experience some form exclusionary treatment on campus. Due to an extremely low response rate of less than 30%, very little could be done with this information, according to administrators.

“I think Cal Poly is right on track to really shift the campus, because it is literally best practice to do this. So I think we’re on track and we’ll be seeing a lot of really great changes in the future,” Hubain said.

Although the the two-part initiative is a step in the right direction, students like construction management junior Cristian Ayala, a student coordinator at the Cross Cultural Center, still feel as though the university can do more.

“I feel like Cal Poly can do a lot more here on campus, but they are taking those baby steps to create a campus where everyone does feel included, where everyone does feel like they do belong and that they’re valued by the university,” Ayala said.

Information gathered from both the CPX Listening Sessions and CPX Survey will be used to help build action plans to try and make an equitable, inclusive campus community for all. The aggregated data will be released to the general public sometime Fall 2020, according to the Office of Diversity and Inclusivity.

Correction: The survey is only accessible through an email from Dr. Damon Williams, not the email sent by President Jeffrey Armstrong and Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Jozi De Leon.

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