It’s hard to take a good look at yourself and acknowledge areas you need improving. It’s even harder to put together an actionable plan that goes far enough to correct these issues. Despite the difficulty in self assessment, I believe Columbia University is well on its way to completing the hard task of improving upon its weaknesses.
Columbia University recently released a 151 page internal “Equity Report’ where the educational institution found that, when it comes to diversity and inclusion among its workforce, there is much to be desired. In response the organization is now “proposing solutions to “close salary gaps” and address “race disparities” in the university workforce.”
“The report’s major findings include a lack of diversity in the senior leadership of academic departments and centers; insufficient transparency about how important decisions are made; and unclear policies and decision-making processes,” according to an announcement by the university. “There also was evidence of differences in workload and salary among women and underrepresented minorities and the persistent problem of harassment and discrimination.”
The report comes only a few weeks after Campus Reform reported that “Columbia University spent $185 million in recent years on “faculty diversity.””
Despite this investment, the report “found “considerable differences” in male and female faculty experiences. “In surveys, women described department climate as far less supportive and inclusive than men did, and reported having experienced or witnessed discrimination far more often,” the report explains, adding that “[i]n interviews, many women spoke of the ‘old boys club’ environment.””
The report gave several suggestions to fix these issues and with Columbia University’s recent history it appears that they are committing resources to fixing this. Rome wasn’t built in a day and inclusion efforts with the Ivy League institution appear to have just gotten started.