The Office of Institutional Research (OIR) is issuing a two-question survey to collect ethnic and racial data from students and employees, as part of a federal mandate to acquire this information across the country.
An indirect result of the ethnic/racial survey could be a positive impact on the College’s initiative to be designated a Hispanic Serving Institution, which requires a 25 percent Latino student population, according to OIR Coordinator Ellen Boswell.
The first question is whether the respondent is Hispanic/Latino. The second question is whether the respondent is from one or more races using the following five racial groups: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and White. Respondents will not be offered the choice of selecting a specific “two or more races” category, though they can choose as many races as necessary.
“We encourage everyone to respond to both questions so that Metro State can provide a clearer picture of our campus diversity,” says Boswell. “If a student reports they are of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, that result will be reported first for anyone reporting race values."
The survey questions were placed on student admission applications this summer, so Boswell has been able to access preliminary results for new applicants or readmits for the fall 2010 semester. “The new information already in Banner as of Aug. 9 shows 1,421 students classified as Hispanic in the new ethnicity field, where 275 of these were not classified as Hispanic earlier,” she says. “If this process continues then the Hispanic ethnic classification should increase and the other ethnicity categories, particularly ‘White’ and ‘Other,’ should decrease.”
The form itself can provide individuals of diverse heritage the opportunity to better define themselves, according to Judi Diaz Bonacquisti and Luis Torres, co-chairs of the HSI Task Force.
“With going to a two-question format, we may see an increase, especially from people who previously were forced to ‘choose’ between Hispanic and something else,” says Bonacquisti, who serves as associate vice president for enrollment services. “My children, for example, would likely have had to choose between 'Latino' and 'White', and quite logically may have chosen ‘Other.’ ”
According to Deputy Provost Torres, “The history of Latin America is a very complex one… So, the emphasis on this new form on ethnicity first (Hispanic/Latino) and then the race will more likely accurately reflect what many Hispanics/Latinos consider themselves: Hispanic/Latino identifying with their ancestors’ national background, and then a race—if a race at all. I think in fact that many Hispanics/Latinos probably have not and will not even identify with a race, or may have indicated ‘Other.’”
Boswell says the early data support Torres' point: data as of Aug. 9 show 97.8 percent of the 1,421 students who selected "Hispanic" as their ethnic group did not report a racial category.Survey timeline
With the new questions, Bonacquisti adds, “We hope to have a better analysis of our student's self-reflection and self-identification. We may see a decrease in the percentage of ‘Other’ and a more accurate reflection of these students' characteristics with the new question.”
Boswell "conducted a comparison of ethnicity between our old method and our new method (with new-method data collected this summer for less than 10 percent of the student population) and noted that even with such a small percentage of new-method data, the percent of students who are (self-identified as) Hispanic as of Aug. 9 grew from 13.6 percent last year to 14.7 percent for fall 2010."
The survey will be available online the week of Aug. 10 - Dec. 5, 2010 for students. (The student's 900 number will be required to enter the survey site.) The employee survey will be available Sept.1 - Oct. 30, to ensure all new contracts have been posted in Banner.
There is a big push this month, says Boswell, to collect data for census date reporting, with the first results reported as of census date for fall 2010 on Sept. 9. To encourage students to complete the surveys, postcards are being mailed to their homes this week, and information tables will be available at the Welcome Back Ceremony and during the first week of classes with locations on the first floor of Central Classroom Building and in the Tivoli near the Campus ID Program.
Data will be collected through Dec. 5. Monthly reminders will be e-mailed through November. To meet the mandate, the results of the survey are due in January and during spring 2011.
Students can click here to take the survey now. Watch @Metro for a reminder to faculty and staff to take the survey after Sept. 1.
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