We want to hear from you!
The Baruch College community is a diverse community – with community members representing a wide range of diversity, including but not limited to race, linguistic background, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, military service history and, disability. In order to harness and build on the strengths of diversity (and in support of Goal five of the College’s strategic plan), the Presidential Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is engaging our community in a series of focus group discussions. These discussions will capture the experiences of various constituents across the campus community which will help the council identify themes and issues through the voices of stakeholders. All of this will inform recommendations the Council will put forward to President Wu.
Q: What is a listening session?
A: A listening session is a small focus group where we will listen to your experiences regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion at Baruch. We are following the example of our CUNY colleagues at BMCC who held a series of these sessions at their school to inform their strategic plan on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We hope these sessions will help us better understand how equity does or does not show up in our Baruch Community.
Q: What is the purpose of these focus groups?
A: The purpose of this research study to gain an understanding of how multiple members of the Baruch community – faculty, staff, students, from a range of identities – experience diversity, equity, and inclusion at Baruch in order to inform Baruch PACDEI’s engagement on these issues.
Q: What is the format of these sessions?
A: We will hold several 75-minute zoom sessions, each with 4-7 participants and facilitated by a volunteer community member. During these sessions, participants will be asked 3 questions regarding their experiences with equity and inclusion at Baruch. We hope participants will share their experiences as well as engage with other participants about their experiences at Baruch.
Q: What does “DEI” stand for?
A: DEI is an acronym we use to mean “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion”. See the next question for further definitions.
Q: What do you mean by equity and inclusion?
A: For these focus group discussions, we are using the following definitions (borrowed from the University of Washington):
- Inclusion – the act of creating involvement, environments, and empowerment in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. An inclusive and welcoming climate with equal access to opportunities and resources embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people.
- Equity – is the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all students, faculty, and staff, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.
- For a helpful distinction between equality and equity, please see the image below.
Q: What are the three questions we will be asked in the focus groups?
- To what extent do you agree with the following statement: Baruch College is an inclusive and equitable environment for all members of the College community. Please elaborate.
- Given your role at Baruch, how do you experience equity?
- If you were president of the College and there were no political or budgetary restraints, what is the first thing you would do to promote an equitable and inclusive college community?
Q: Will these sessions be recorded?
A: Yes. Each session will be assigned an official “recorder” who will be a member of the President’s Advisory Council or a trained Baruch facilitator. Only audio recordings and deidentified transcripts will be used for analysis. The Recorder will immediately work to take out any identifying information in the transcripts provided by Zoom before sending them to the research team, who will code and analyze the data. Video recordings and original transcripts with identifiable information will be permanently deleted following the deidentification process. Audio files and deidentified transcripts will be stored in a password-protected folder only accessible to Recorders and the research team.
Q: Who else will be in my focus group?
A: You will be able to select your focus group based on your role at Baruch (e.g. student, staff, or faculty) and however you identify in various types of diversity (e.g. race, sex, LBGTQ, veterans, among others). We hope you will select the group that you will be most comfortable sharing with.
Q: What are my rights as a participant in these focus groups?
A: By agreeing to participate, you understand that we will audio record this focus group to ensure that we truly capture what you have to say. The transcripts of these recordings will be de-identified as soon as they are made. That is, your name will not appear on any of the transcripts beyond the initial recording and transcripts, which will be destroyed as soon as any identifying information is removed. Any data used in publication will be attributed to “Student” or “Staff” or “Faculty” at Baruch College.
It is your decision whether or not you turn on your camera for this session. We also ask that each participant in these focus groups agree to keep the identities of other participants confidential.
Your participation in this research is uncompensated and voluntary. You may refuse to answer any question and/or leave the zoom session at any time with no penalty to you or your status at Baruch College.
In this way we believe your risk to be minimal, however, we do understand that the topic of these discussions might make sharing experiences or hearing the experiences of others uncomfortable.
Q: What is the difference between a “listening session” and a “focus group”?
A: For our purposes, our listening sessions are focus groups – we use the terms interchangeably. We like the term “listening session” because we think it tells people the purpose of what we are doing. Technically, each session takes the form of a “focus group” which is a gathering of people to discuss a specific topic. “Listening session” tells you the function of these groups; “Focus groups” are how we are forming these sessions to inform our work.
Q: Who can I contact with any questions I have?
A: If you have any questions, you can contact Cristina Balboa (Cristina.email@example.com or 646.660-6841) or Leslie Ann Hunt (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant or if you would like to talk to someone other than the researchers, you can contact CUNY Research Compliance Administrator at 646-664-8918 or HRPP@cuny.edu.
Q: Who is on the research team?
A: Cristina Balboa, Associate Professor, Marxe School of Public and International Affairs Rachel Fester, Assistant Provost for Assessment, Accreditation and Institutional Effectiveness Leslie Ann Hunt, Director of Graduate Programs, Weissman School of Arts and Sciences Sam Johnson, Professor, Psychology Robert Kunicki, Assistant Director for Student Success, Assessment and Enrollment Initiatives Kenya N. Lee, Chief of Staff.
Q: How do these focus groups fit with other activities the President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is doing this year?
A: These Listening Sessions are one of many steps to be taken, and will take place in two sets of sessions. The first sessions this semester will generally inform us on the broad range of experiences with diversity, equity, and inclusion at Baruch. This information will help us refine the discussions that will take place next summer and fall, which will focus on specific actions, programming, and next steps.
Information gathered will be used to guide the work of the Council moving forward, and to strategize and prioritize the recommendations made to the President. For more information, and additional steps outlined to implement goal five, please see the Strategic Plan Implementation Phase One document.
Q: How are these listening sessions different from the Community Meet and Greets PACDEI is organizing?
A: The purpose of the Meet and Greets is to create a community around the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. While we hope these listening session/focus groups will result in a stronger Baruch community as well, the primary purpose is to hear and record the experiences of community members regarding DEI, in order to inform our planning and prioritization of the policies and practices we recommend as PACDEI.
Q: I already filled out a survey earlier this year on diversity, why should I attend this focus group, too?
A: First, thank you for filling out the survey! While survey information is very informative, we hope you will also join a focus group session. Surveys are designed to ask you a series of questions with very short answers – and in the case of multiple-choice survey questions, these answers are provided to you by the survey team. Focus groups are designed to assume that the organizers do not already have the answers to the questions and give us much more detailed information about your experience. We want to learn about the broad range of experiences at Baruch to understand more clearly the context, policies, and practices that either help or hurt equitable engagement in Baruch’s Diverse Community.
Q: Do I need to do anything to prepare for these sessions?
A: Not really, just come ready to engage with these questions. We hope you will share examples of your experiences with the group to help inform us of our work on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Q: Where can I register?
A: You can register here.