Delving into Institutional Diversity Messaging: A Cross-Institutional Analysis of Student and Faculty Interpretations of Undergraduate Experiences of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in University Websites

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.10.10

Keywords:

inclusion, equity, diversity, institutional websites, students-as-partners

Abstract

Recognizing that university statements about equity, diversity, and inclusion are often cosmetic, performative, or at best, aspirational, rather than indicative of on-campus realities, this project analyzes interpretations of student identity and diversity through publicly available materials. The primary purpose of this research was to investigate how university messages about equity, diversity, and inclusion, available through public websites, are interpreted by faculty and students. Using a students-as-partners approach, we identified and analyzed themes based on our own perceptions and understandings of each of five university websites University of Calgary (Canada), University of Alabama (USA), Deakin University (Australia), University of Exeter (UK), and Portland State University (USA). While equity, diversity, and inclusion are signature initiatives at many universities, we found that analyses of their websites suggest that the ways in which those are operationalized differ. The patterns identified suggest that messaging through university websites can promote or detract from equity, diversity, and inclusion in university settings, and we observed differences in the ways in which institutions operationalized and represented initiatives related to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Exploring how these efforts at our five institutions are messaged to and interpreted by students provides a better understanding of the institutional priorities and the assumed values identified by student co-researchers. The use of student co-researchers proved an especially valuable contribution to this analysis to gain perspectives about presentations of student identity and diversity. Using this form of embedded research, we identify the limited presentations of and perceptions around diversity at institutions of higher education cited by student co-researchers.

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Author Biographies

Joanna C. Rankin, University of Calgary

Joanna C. Rankin is a Senior Instructor in the Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies program and the Associate Head of EDI for Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary.

Andrew J. Pearl , University of Alabama

Andrew J. Pearl is Director of Community Engagement Research and Publications at the University of Alabama.

Trina Jorre de St Jorre , Deakin University

At the time of this writing, Trina Jorre de St Jorre was a Senior Lecturer at Deakin University.

Moriah McSharry McGrath, Portland State University

Moriah McSharry McGrath is a Senior Instructor at the Department of Urban Studies at Portland State University.

Sarah Dyer , University of Exeter

Sarah Dyer is an Associate Professor of human geography at the University of Exeter.

Samiah Sheriff, University of Calgary

At the time of this writing, Samiah Sheriff was student in the Department of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies at the University of Calgary.

Roberta Armitage , University of Calgary

At the time of this writing, Roberta Armitage was student in the Department of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies at the University of Calgary.

Kerstin Ruediger, University of Calgary

At the time of this writing, Kerstin Ruediger was student in the Department of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies at the University of Calgary.

Anoushka Jere, University of Calgary

At the time of this writing, Anoushka Jere was student in the Department of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies at the University of Calgary.

Saania Zafar , University of Calgary

At the time of this writing, Saania Zafar was student in the Department of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies at the University of Calgary.

Shalaine Sedres, University of Calgary

At the time of this writing, Shalaine Sedres was student in the Department of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies at the University of Calgary.

Daania Chaudhary, University of Calgary

At the time of this writing, Daania Chaudhary was student in the Department of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies at the University of Calgary.

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Published

2022-01-31

How to Cite

Rankin, Joanna C, Andrew J. Pearl, Trina Jorre de St Jorre, Moriah M. McGrath, Sarah Dyer, Samiah Sheriff, Roberta Armitage, Kerstin Ruediger, Anoushka Jere, Saania Zafar, Shalaine Sedres, and Daania Chaudhary. 2022. “Delving into Institutional Diversity Messaging: A Cross-Institutional Analysis of Student and Faculty Interpretations of Undergraduate Experiences of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in University Websites”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 10 (January). https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.10.10.