UCSD Releases Official Diversity Statistics Online

The Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion released interactive dashboards detailing demographic data about UCSD’s student and staff population on Oct. 15 to increase its transparency to the public.
These online dashboards use categories such as gender, ethnicity, appointment and major to organize current information on UCSD academic personnel, staff and students. Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Becky Petitt told the UCSD Guardian that diversity can improve student education.

“Transparency is of key importance to the Chancellor, Executive Vice Chancellor and the EDI office,” Petitt said. “Because students are here to pursue education, it’s our job to make sure they can do that in a diverse environment. Research suggests that a teaching and learning environment — including students’ educational experience — is enriched the more diverse it is.”

She explained that these statistics did not only benefit the administrators, but UCSD students as well.

“I really see administrators as the primary users of the data, but at the end of the day, students are the primary beneficiaries,” Petitt said. “The goal is that they can have diverse classmates, diverse faculty and diverse administrators in a really robust and energetic learning community.”

Sixth College senior Majdi Tashman explained that the data reinforced what he already felt was true about the university’s diversity.

“Before these statistics were released, I saw UCSD as a place where all races and all types of people are accepted with open arms,” Tashman expressed to the Guardian. “As an Arab-American, I have been racially profiled and marginalized many times, but at UCSD I have never felt that way and that is why I’m proud to be a Triton. With these statistics, they only solidify how I feel and how many others feel about this racially-diverse university.”

The Vice Chancellor also detailed that understanding the statistics is particularly important for UCSD and the general public.

“This data will be used to share UCSD’s progress in creating an inclusive campus, and share awareness about our efforts,” Petitt stated. “The other utility of the tool is that it not only shows our trends, but it shows our current status and gives a glimpse at what our future would look like if we did nothing.

A website about United States higher education, called Best College Reviews, ranked UCSD the 11th most ethnically diverse college in America earlier this month. The metric used was based on four criteria: no race may have more than 45 percent representation, at least three races are represented by over 12 percent, the number of scholarships, clubs, organizations and associations available for ethnic groups and the percentage of total minorities that graduated in 2012-13. Petitt commented that the Office for EDI was pleased by the acknowledgment, but that there was still progress to be made.

In addition, Petit explained to that awareness of what the data entails is key in their decision making and clarifying misconceptions.

“We have to be strategic; we have to know where our pressure points are and where the opportunity lies,” Petitt said. “The data we collect can also be used to clear any misconceptions that people might have. For example, Asian and Pacific Islander students, often unified as ‘Asians,’ are in fact very heterogeneous, and understanding this diversity in a more nuanced way is important.”

Petitt also described her plan to ultimately put forth a campuswide diversity initiative in conjunction with their Strategic Plan.

“One of my longer term goals is an institution-wide diversity plan that is grounded in and based on data to align our diversity outcomes with our Strategic Plan,” Petitt said. “Diversity not just in presence, but also diversity in curriculum, in access, in our staff and faculty.”

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