Recently the White House released a roadmap that will expand the federal collection of data about sexual orientation and gender identity in order to advance equity for LGTBQI+ Americans. However, advances in measurement will be needed at all levels, including at universities.
The management adage that you can’t improve what you don’t measure applies to achieving equity within organizations–without adequate measures, problems are ill-defined and rarely solved. However, human resource management, developed in response to equal employment opportunity legislation, can be limited in focus. This Inside Higher Ed article discusses the importance of measuring faculty diversity on dimensions not normally assessed, such as sexual orientation and gender identity. This is justified because of the need not only to have viewpoints represented but also to put in needed support structures and monitor whether faculty of different identities have equal opportunities for success.
We welcome these changes from the White House roadmap. Michigan Tech has allowed students, faculty, and staff to use preferred names since 2015, and a group of dedicated individuals is currently working on implementing a personal pronouns policy. Having these two policies and processes in place will facilitate the process of collecting non-binary genders once it becomes allowable for reporting by the federal government and available in the software (Banner). These changes will assist with equity and inclusion efforts because the AFEQT tool that allows department chairs and deans to analyze equity data relies on Banner data.
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