Diversity & Democracy: Civic Learning for Shared Futures
Diversity Innovations Institutional Leadership and Commitment
Diversity Digest Volume 7, Number 4

Diversity Digest
Volume 7,
Number 4

Download our print issue (PDF)
Institutional Leadership and Commitment
Learning Through Evaluation: The James Irvine Foundation Campus Diversity Initiative (CDI) Project
James Irvine Foundation’s Campus Diversity Initiative
Diversity Climate Surveys:
Worth the Effort
Unleashing the Power of Metaphor: Pepperdine University
Implications of Prop 54
Faculty Involvement
Enhancing Diversity: University of Southern California
More than Bittersweet Success: University of the Pacific
Curricular Transformation
Institutionalizing Diversity: Occidental College
Educating for a Just Society: University of San Francisco
Making Diversity News
Media Watch
Teaching Students Media Skills
AAC&U Evaluation Resources
Irvine CDI Evaluation Resources
DATA: Capturing Hopes

Learning Through Evaluation:
The James Irvine Foundation Campus Diversity Initiative (CDI) Project

By Heather D. Wathington, editor, Diversity Digest
and director of programs, Office of Diversity, Equity and Global Initiatives*

Over the last decade, AAC&U has sponsored many diversity initiatives and has stressed the importance of assessing those initiatives so that practitioners have a better idea of what works and can communicate effectively about their impact. Evaluation and assessment are critical to amassing evidence about the value of diversity work and demonstrating the efficacy of transformative diversity initiatives. But, evaluation can do much more than prove the worth and value of an innovation. Evaluation is vital to improving programs, achieving larger institutional goals, and providing concrete evidence about the links between diversity and student learning.

Colleges and universities have implemented all types of diversity initiatives to make a difference in the lives of students, staff, and faculty, and to demonstrate that diversity is deeply valued and important to institutional mission. So many innovative diversity initiatives have sprung up across campuses that the dilemma today is coordinating them and structuring them in complementary ways. In addition, while institutions may know what was gained from individual initiatives, they often have little time to ascertain what the institution can learn collectively from implementing multiple diversity initiatives. Evaluation can answer these questions. The campuses featured here can attest to the multiple virtues of evaluation. This issue illustrates how evaluation promotes organizational learning and change.

Funded by the generous support of the James Irvine Foundation, this issue of Diversity Digest describes the emerging results of a dynamic, multi-institution project, the Irvine Campus Diversity Initiative (CDI). As part of the CDI project, institutions have been engaged in diversity evaluation, first as a way to monitor progress in underrepresented students’ success, and as a way to bring about organizational change. Six of the thirty-four CDI institutions are highlighted: the University of Southern California, Mount St. Mary’s College, Occidental College, Pepperdine University, the University of San Francisco, and the University of the Pacific.

We hope that you will find this issue to be useful and engaging. The work represented here makes a compelling case that evaluation is much more than an afterthought or a perfunctory, mandatory program report. Rather when thoughtfully designed and implemented, and the results used for decision-making, evaluation can be a powerful impetus for organizational change and creatively rethinking the ways in which we educate today’s students.

We thank the James Irvine Foundation for its generous support for this issue.


Questions, comments, and suggestions regarding Diversity & Democracy should be directed to Kathryn Peltier Campbell at campbell@aacu.org.
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