Four faculty members at the University of Kansas have developed a new scale to measure the commitment to diversity of a university’s faculty. The ACES scale measures Attitudes toward diversity, Career activities related to diversity, Environment of diversity and Social interaction with diverse groups.
The survey consists of 100 questions and asks respondents to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 (from strongly disagree to strongly agree) statements about diversity as it relates to their particular campus. In a test sample, women tended to have more positive attitudes to diversity on their campus than men. Those who were not tenured or had been on campus for less than 15 years were more positive than long-time faculty members. The survey also showed that those who reported that their work dealt specifically with diversity issues were likely to give a lower score to their university than those who did not deal directly with diversity issues.
Lisa Wolf-Wendel, professor of educational leadership and policy studies and one of the four developers of the tool, stated, “Understanding how faculty view diversity is a very important piece of the higher education puzzle. I think we were able to come up with a concise, sound tool that institutions can use to measure faculty perceptions of diversity. Certainly our goal would be to get other institutions to try the instrument and find it useful.”