Diversity is an important part of Adelphi University's identity, and a new survey shows that Adelphi students embrace their multicultural world better than their peers at other schools.
According to the recently released and definitive National Survey of Student Engagement, Adelphi students are taking on difficult topics like race and privilege and feel their own cultural and racial backgrounds are honored and respected on campus.
“I’m not surprised by this at all,” said Perry Greene, Ph.D., Adelphi’s vice president for diversity and inclusion. “The University’s leadership and faculty have placed a great emphasis on inclusion, and I think these positive responses reflect that.”
Adelphi administers the survey, known in academic circles as NSSE, every two years to first-year students and seniors. The purpose is to understand students’ views of the campus community in order to create an environment where all feel safe and welcomed.
Some 60 percent of first-year students said their coursework helped them develop “skills necessary to work effectively with people from various backgrounds.”
Likewise, 63 percent of first-year students said that Adelphi has helped them “recognize (their) own cultural norms and biases.”
Of the seniors who answered those questions, 70 percent said Adelphi helped them “develop necessary skills,” and 73 percent said they were now able to “recognize their own biases.”
That’s proof of growth, Dr. Greene said.
“Part of it, certainly, is students getting more mature. But certainly it’s also a reflection of what they are being taught and how they are interacting with others.”
Dr. Greene credits President Christine Riordan with setting the tone for making diversity and inclusion a priority on campus. He recalled that her first speech to the faculty included an emphasis on diversity. The faculty, Dr. Greene said, has clearly taken up that challenge, and that is reflected in the students’ survey responses.
The survey also found that Adelphi students receive a more inclusive education than their peers at other schools. While 61 percent of Adelphi students said they felt they can explore their own identities and backgrounds through their coursework, just 49 percent of students on average at other schools responded that they felt the same way.
And 65 percent of Adelphi seniors who took the survey said they were able to learn about other cultures over the course of their education, while just 50 percent of respondents at other schools on average felt that way.
Dr. Greene said that Adelphi is a changing campus in a changing world, and that it’s important for the University’s student body and faculty to reflect the increasingly diverse character of the United States.
Steady gains are being made. The incoming classes of first-year in the past two years have been the most diverse in Adelphi history. More women have been added to the faculty, and this fall, the University welcomed a group of new faculty members that included the largest number of people of color ever—13 out of the 28 new hires.