Campus Diversity Initiative
Download the Full Report
To increase access and success of underrepresented minority and low-income students in higher education in California.
Irvine established the Campus Diversity Initiative (CDI) to strengthen campus diversity efforts at 28 independent colleges and universities in California. Between 2000 and 2006, Irvine invested $29 million in the initiative to support a range of campus activities and institutional changes to increase access and success of underrepresented students in higher education. Success was defined as academic persistence and degree completion, as well as high achievement.
At the outset of the initiative, each participating institution identified a set of campus-wide diversity goals and strategies tailored to the institution’s unique needs. In the end, while these institutions represented a diverse group, and each had a somewhat different emphasis, they shared many of the same goals and strategies. The strategies fit into four categories:
- Programs to increase access and success of underrepresented students, such as admissions outreach, financial aid, gateway courses, summer programs and collaboration across academic units
- Efforts to improve campus climate and minority group interrelations, such as campus programs and events, communications on diversity issues from senior leadership, living-learning communities, and assessments of campus climate
- Initiatives to attract more faculty members of diverse backgrounds, provide faculty training workshops and professional development, make curriculum changes and offer grant programs for research and curriculum development
- Efforts to raise diversity as a core institutional goal through better ongoing accountability on diversity goals with participation from campus senior administrative and academic leadership
Irvine designed the Campus Diversity Initiative with evaluation as an integral strategy and adopted an organizational learning approach as its fundamental orientation in order to keep campus leaders involved and create long-lasting impact. (More details about this approach are available in the report The Campus Diversity Initiative: Current Status, Anticipating the Future (2004)) Participating institutions were required to collect and report on a common set of indicators annually to inform the evaluation and to assess achievements. Evidence of disparities in student outcomes, disaggregated by race and ethnicity, were an effective way to raise awareness and engage campus senior administrative and academic leadership to address the disparities. This evidence also promoted campus accountability on education outcomes to various constituents.
Twenty-eight independent colleges and universities participated in California in the
Campus Diversity Initiative:
- California Institute of Technology
- Pepperdine University
- California Lutheran University
- Pitzer College
- California College of Arts
- Pomona College
- Claremont Graduate University
- Santa Clara University
- Claremont McKenna College
- Scripps College
- Dominican University of California
- St. Mary’s College of California
- Fresno Pacific University
- Stanford University
- Harvey Mudd College
- University of La Verne
- Holy Names College
- University of Redlands
- Loyola Marymount University
- University of San Francisco
- Mills College
- University of Southern California
- Mount Saint Mary’s College
- University of the Pacific
- Notre Dame de Namur University (formerly College of Notre Dame)
- Westmont College
- Occidental College
- Whittier College
The evaluation component was designed to help grantees focus their diversity initiatives and track larger institutional goals. A team of researchers from Claremont Graduate University (CGU) and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) led the evaluation. The evaluation project team worked closely with grantees to develop each institution’s own evaluation expertise and mechanisms, measure success, make midcourse corrections and ultimately broaden and sustain diversity efforts beyond the scope and phase of the funded projects.
The evaluation identified four key objectives:
- Develop the evaluation capacity of participating institutions: Provide customized evaluation assistance in undertaking the following activities: 1) assess their current level of development on issues of diversity, 2) develop goals and assessment plans, and 3) assess and learn from their progress.
- Share information: Promote information exchange and learning across the institutions and create links to other campuses and researchers engaged in diversity work.
- Assess the overall impact of the Campus Diversity Initiative.
- Contribute to the broader knowledge base and theory about diversity in higher education.
2000 — 2006
Six questions formed the basis of the initiative-wide evaluation:
- What is the status of the success of underrepresented populations in CDI-funded institutions?
- What is the status of institutional capacity for diversity? Have institutions changed over time? Are the diversity efforts likely to be sustained?
- What was the impact of CDI-funded efforts?
- What goals and strategies were included in CDI-funded efforts?
- What mechanisms seem to facilitate and impede progress?
- What lessons have been learned in general?
In order to address these questions, the evaluation team developed a set of indicators that grantees used in their interim reports to the Foundation. These institutional data informed the impact assessment of the initiative across all the campuses. In addition to the data provided by each campus, the evaluation team conducted an extensive document analysis and site visits to about half of the campuses.
The evaluation findings provided important insights about the progress made by CDI campuses with regard to access and success of underrepresented students on their respective campuses, the success of specific diversity practices, and the applicability of an organizational learning approach to change in higher education and to diversity change in particular.
The evaluation team produced a final evaluation report in July 2006. In addition, based on the evaluation findings, Irvine issued three research briefs in 2005 and 2006. AAC&U also published a monograph and a resource kit on evaluation for use by campuses in 2005.
- Building Capacity: A Study of the Impact of The James Irvine Foundation Campus Diversity Initiative (2006) — Final CDI evaluation report describing the outcomes of the various diversity initiatives and highlighting lessons learned about building capacity for diversity.
- Executive Summary (2006) — An 11-page summary of the final CDI evaluation report.
- Using Multiple Lenses: An Examination of the Economic and Racial/Ethnic Diversity of College Students (2006) — An analysis of college enrollment data separated by race and ethnicity and by Pell Grant status, the federal assistance program for low-income students.
- The Revolving Door for Underrepresented Minority Faculty in Higher Education (2006) — A report on efforts at 27 private colleges and universities in California to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of their faculty.
- “Unknown” Students on College Campuses: An Exploratory Analysis (2005) — A report examining the dramatic increase in the number of college students who do not identify their racial or ethnic background on college admissions forms.
- Campus Diversity Initiative Evaluation Project Resource Kit (2005) — The Resource Kit is designed to help campuses create evaluation plans to measure outcomes related to their campus diversity initiatives. [NOTE: No longer available on AAC&U’s website]
- The Campus Diversity Initiative: Current Status, Anticipating the Future (2004) — An interim report, providing details of CDI, its approach and evaluation.
- CDI Impact Study Design (2003) — Evaluation design and protocol document, created by the CDI Evaluation Team, describing the overall evaluation framework, and purpose and methodology for the study.