Beyond Individual Stories: Evaluating Diversity Quantitatively

Andover will employ the National Association of Independent School’s (NAIS) Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) tool to evaluate inclusivity and multiculturalism in the coming year, according to Linda Griffith, Dean of Community and Multicultural Development.

To begin, a 20-minute survey that will be sent out to students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and trustees on May 16.

“This survey is going to help us by giving us quantitative data. I think we have a lot of qualitative data from conversations and from how we live, but it’s going to help us better plan what we need to do to ensure that we have an inclusive community that engages people in a respectful level, where people can be themselves. This will give us tangible results from which we can base future planning towards a sustained, inclusive school community,” said Griffith.

The Campus-Wide Climate Survey will include questions relating to comfort and inclusion on campus. Results from the survey will be confidential, and the survey itself will be administered by an external vendor. Griffith said the timing of the AIM is pivotal with regards to the strategic planning process.

“As we look at what it means to have core values such as equity and inclusivity, we need to know where we stand, what the climate currently is, in order for us to determine what education-awareness tools we need to bring. What, when, where and why, and we’re going to get the why from the results, and then it’ll be what, when and where, and whether that can happen in dormitories and classrooms,” said Griffith.

In fall 2014, focus groups called Discovery Committees will hone in on topics such as school governance, student life, faculty life, teaching, learning and athletics.

Steering committee members and trained faculty facilitators will write a full self-assessment of the school, which will guide the planning of diversity initiatives to ensure progress where the survey indicates is needed.

Griffith began planning this process last year with the AIM Steering Committee. Mike Barker and Griffith are the Co-Chairs of the committee. Tracy Ainsworth, Fernando Alonso, Leeann Bennett, Maureen Ferris, Peg Harrigan, Aya Murata and Rachel Skiffer are also members of the committee.