Conceptual Framework for Diversity at Texas A&M University
Colleges and universities that commit to the successful implementation of diversity should be guided by a sound conceptual framework. While there is no absolutely objective way of laying out a single framework for diversity especially across varied institutional types, it is possible to identify a cluster of characteristics that are associated with “best practices” or successful institutions. Moreover, this conceptual framework for diversity should be closely linked to the more general framework for successful institutional change and transformation. Therefore, the conceptual framework for diversity at Texas A&M University will be guided by the following:
Organizational Structure and Change – diversity efforts should be connected to major plans for organizational change in those areas where such a connection is appropriate. Such conditions could involve initiatives associated with re-visioning, re-engineering, a structural reorganization of existing positions, the development of a new strategic plan, etc.
Academic and Administrative Polices – diversity practices should be reviewed relative to both existing and projected academic and administrative policies. More attention should be given to those that have a significant impact (positive or negative) on diversity.
Climate (classroom and campus) – this represents one of the more pervasive areas of diversity review on many campuses and can range from cursory surveys on climate to more sophisticated environmental scans.
Curricular Transformation – the impact of diversity efforts on student learning is closely linked to the degree that diversity is infused into the general education curriculum and the discipline.
Teaching and Learning Outcomes – the best indicator that diversity is affecting educational outcomes in a positive way is to evaluate its impact on teaching and learning outcomes. Included in this framework is the way that diversity is accounted for in the structure of the learning environment.
Assessment (program and student learning outcomes) – fundamental to the conceptual framework for diversity is the ability to think about how “evidence” is both generated and used. A formal assessment plan for diversity can help to shape the conceptual framework and vice-versa.
Few institutions can provide equal attention to all six areas simultaneously. However, institutions can conceptualize their long term and short-term goals for each and the expected interrelationships.