Cssa 506 Assessement Report


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Cssa 506 Assessement Report

  1. 1. Final Assessment Report: Multicultural Competency 1 Assessment Proposal: Multicultural Competency Running head: Final Assessment Report: Multicultural Competency Multicultural Competency of Incoming and graduating CSSA Students Wendy Alemán Oregon State University
  2. 2. Final Assessment Report: Multicultural Competency 2 Needs Assessment Overview If “educating and preparing graduate students in students affairs to work effectively with a multicultural student body is an ethical and professional responsibility…” (McEwen, M.K, & Roper, L.D., 1994) for those in profession, what can a graduate program in students affairs do to ensure that its students have an understanding of their biases, cultural history, and are able to work with others different than themselves? In this respect, how can programs help students at all levels move along a continuum that nurtures their level of self-awareness and understanding of others? In an effort to understand the need for a multicultural competency in the College Students Service Administration (CSSA) program, a needs assessment was conducted to gain knowledge regarding the multicultural awareness (including self-awareness), knowledge and skills of incoming CSSA. Because a multicultural competency requirement does not currently exist in the CSSA program, outgoing students were surveyed for comparison data. The purpose of this needs assessment was to generate ideas for future program development and to document perceptions and attitudes of students incoming and graduating from the CSSA program. As a framework for infusing multiculturalism training into student affairs, Pedersen, P. (1988) suggests a needs assessment as one of five steps in infusing multiculturalism into programs. Moreover, other authors agree that a needs assessment is an important step in developing a multicultural focused training program. In fact, Pope, Reynolds, and Muller (2004) state the following: Systematic and thorough assessment of individual attitudes, needs, and perceptions of students and faculty is a necessary first step in creating a multiculturally inclusive academic program. Exploring the overall
  3. 3. Final Assessment Report: Multicultural Competency 3 environment-curriculum, practicum experiences, examinations, research, and any support services –is also essential. For the scope of this assignment, current CSSA faculty and students in the 2004 cohort were not assessed. While it was not in the original proposal, the importance of assessing current students in the program was revisited after rereading the Pope, et al. statement aforementioned. Hence, outgoing students were asked to answer similar questions as the incoming students. Revisiting the rationale for conducting a needs assessment, this assessment was intended to be exploratory in nature and will hopefully provide an understanding of students’ attitudes and perceptions regarding their own biases, cultural history, and awareness. According to Pope et al, the perceptions and attitudes of faculty, staff, and current students of the program should be assessed. However, because of the scope of this needs assessment (i.e. an in class assignment), only incoming and graduating CSSA students were asked to participate in this assessment. Methodology The method chosen for conducting this assessment was an online survey. This method of delivery provided students with easy access to the instrument. Moreover, conducting an online survey allowed results to remain anonymous. The selected sample (i.e. incoming and graduating CSSA students) was sent a link to the website, which they could click to begin the survey hosted by www.questionpro.com. An advantage of using an online survey is the ability to collect and sort data in one location as individuals compete the survey versus spending time doing data entry. Questionpro.com collects the data as people reply to the
  4. 4. Final Assessment Report: Multicultural Competency 4 survey and has features that allow data to be transferred to excel. Finally, questionpro.com also creates graphs and tabulates data. While Questionpro.com offers tools to collect, view, and analyze data, all survey data was exported to Excel. Exporting data to Excel allowed greater flexibility for creating comparative graphs between incoming and graduating students in the CSSA program. Findings Overall, there were a total of 21 respondents to the online survey. However, the overall sample was broken up into incoming or graduating CSSA students. 13 students in the incoming class of CSSA 05 responded to the invitation to participate in the survey, a 62% response rate. Eight students in the graduating class of CSSA 03 responded to the invitation to participate in the survey, 100% of these respondents were female. Approximately, 61% of the graduating cohort responded to the survey (this is based on full-time enrollment and number graduating). Of the incoming cohort (CSSA 05), 54% of the respondents were female, while the remaining 46% were male. Following is a table of the ethnic/cultural background of all respondents. African- Asian/Pacif Chicano/Lati Native White/Ca Multiracial/ Total America ic Islander no/Hispanic America ucasian Other Responden n/Black n/Alaska ts Native CSSA 05 2 0 0 0 10 1 13 CSSA 03 0 0 1 0 7 0 8 According to the data collected, most CSSA students who replied to the survey have grown up in neighborhoods that have been predominately white, 76% of the incoming cohort and 87% of the graduating cohort respectively. Of those respondents graduating from the
  5. 5. Final Assessment Report: Multicultural Competency 5 CSSA program, 100% attended an all white high school while only 61.54% of the incoming respondents have attended an all white high school. While living in an all white neighborhood or attending an all white high school is not implicit with lack of exposure to individuals different than self, these numbers provide a picture of the students’ history. It is especially important to note that only four of the 21 respondents grew up in neighborhoods that were either culturally/racially diverse or mostly Chicano/Hispanic/Latino. This number corresponds with the number of students of color who participated in the survey. All respondents (100%) from in the incoming cohort have had opportunities to discuss diversity issues either often or sometimes, of these 90% have had positive experiences in these discussions. In contrast, 50% of the CSSA 03 respondents have had opportunities to discuss diversity issues either often or sometimes, of these CSSA 03 respondents 100% have had positive experiences. However, of the 03 respondents at least one responded they had never had an opportunity to discuss diversity issues and another three of the 03 respondents chose not to answer. When asked about their self-awareness when communicating with others, 54% of CSSA 05 respondents either strongly agreed or agreed that their racial/cultural background impacted they way the thought or acted when working with others different than self. Approximately, 15% felt neutral about the way they interacted with others different than themselves, while the remaining 32% felt that their background did not impact the way they interacted with others different than themselves. Respondents from the 03 cohort generally agreed that their background had an impact on their communication (88%), while one of the 03 respondents felt that their background had no influence on their communication with others different than self. 100% of the incoming cohort has had an experience (or
  6. 6. Final Assessment Report: Multicultural Competency 6 experiences) being in a room as the minority, while only one respondent from the 03 cohort said they had never had such an experience. When asked to respond to the statement “I am uncomfortable in a room full of people acting or speaking a different way” 23% of the 05 respondents said they either agreed or strongly agreed. Approximately 31% of the 05 cohort felt neutral about this statement, and another 46% of the 05 respondents felt they either disagreed or strongly disagreed with this statement. A majority of respondents in both cohorts agreed that they have knowledge about diverse cultures and underrepresented groups (69% of CSSA 05 and 87.5% of CSSA 03). When asked “do you feel you have a culture?” 100% of the incoming cohort respondents said “yes”, while only 75% of the 03 respondents said “yes” (the other 25% said they had no culture). Of the survey responses, the open-end questions regarding good or negative aspects regarding the respondent’s culture are perhaps the most interesting and also the most difficult to assess. All CSSA 05 respondents were able to list something positive about their culture; however, all except one defined their culture. One of the 05 respondents mentioned that he has white culture and that many things positive associated with it are results of privilege associated with being white, straight, and male. Of the CSSA 03 cohort, four mentioned race or ethnicity as an influence in their culture in either a negative or positive way (see appendix for replies). Participants in the survey were also asked questions regarding barriers or good practices to building an inclusive campus. Most of the respondents agreed that ignoring ethnic or cultural backgrounds was not a good practice to building an inclusive campus. However, when asked if they agreed with the statement that “students who congregate into groups by culture or race do not contribute to campus diversity,” at least 6 respondents from
  7. 7. Final Assessment Report: Multicultural Competency 7 the incoming cohort responded in the neutral and at least one member of the 03 respondents agreed to the statement. When asked if they agreed or disagreed with the idea that “As predominately white colleges admit more students of color, problems dealing with prejudice will decline” most students (61%) of the 05 respondents disagreed. The remaining respondents either felt neutral about this statement and one agreed with it. In contrast to the incoming cohort, of the 03 respondents 87% disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement (one decline to answer). In terms of developing as a professional in student affairs, most of the respondents (65% of all respondents) overwhelming felt it was most important to “understand the challenges faced by students different than myself” while only 15% (of all respondents) felt it was most important to learn about their cultural biases and prejudices. Initial recommendations/implications for practice While I feel that I have collected some interesting data, it is difficult to make any significant recommendations from the collected data. For example, while most students said they felt they had some knowledge about diverse cultures and underrepresented groups, I never asked students to detail this knowledge or to weigh this knowledge on a scale. For example, if they agreed they had knowledge in this area how much knowledge did they have and specifically, what do they know and about whom? While the most interesting responses came from the open-ended questions, the incoming cohort was never asked to define their cultural background. Hence, comments that refer to “our” culture are meaningless on their own since it is impossible to assess what culture group is being referenced. However, it is significant to note that most students felt they had a culture and that only 2 students felt they had no culture. Taken as a whole, the open-ended questions seemed indicate that students have not truly explored the positives or negatives of their culture backgrounds/histories. In
  8. 8. Final Assessment Report: Multicultural Competency 8 this respect, it would be helpful for incoming students to have opportunities to explore their cultural history, especially as it compares to others different than themselves. Moreover, it seems like students could find it useful to have discussions about what means to have culture (e.g. if white, what is white culture?). Moreover, since most of the 05 respondents either felt neutral or did not feel comfortable in a room with others speaking or acting different than them, it would be helpful for students in the program to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves to experience being with people different than themselves on the OSU campus. Finally, most students felt it was more important to learn about others different than themselves before learning about their own biases and prejudices. In this respect, should CSSA adopt a multicultural competency, it may be worth a thorough discussion regarding the reasons why a person (student, faculty, or staff) should make an effort to learn about himself or herself before learning about others. In this regard, it seemed that most students did not feel their background impacted they way they interacted with others different than themselves. Given the responses, an exploration of how cultural backgrounds influence communication and perceptions of others may be necessary component of student affairs graduate program. Overall, while I feel this assessment was exploratory, I feel it would be worthwhile to have a pre and post-assessment for each cohort. This would provide students and faculty with useful information regarding the success of infusing multiculturalism into the curriculum. Reflection of the process In studying the results of my assessment, I realize there were several things I could have done differently to improve the process. First, I could have consulted with people that
  9. 9. Final Assessment Report: Multicultural Competency 9 have some experience in measuring cultural competency prior to delivery the survey. While the survey was tested with a few of the members of my cohort, I could have done further testing to make sure the questions were clear. After the survey was sent out and I started getting results, I realized that I could not use some of the data from the open-ended questions since the information was vague and did not answer the question “what culture are you speaking of?” Since I had decided to survey the graduating CSSA cohort after the incoming CSSA survey was delivered, it made sense to repair this mistake in the CSSA 03 survey. Second, in measuring perceptions and attitudes, I think it would have been more useful to have more open-ended questions and maybe some follow up questions to those that were asked. Another thing I realized in the initial development of the survey was my terrible biases. Apparently the first two times I edited my survey, I forgot to include the ethnic background for white students as an option (one time in the demographic section and the second time in the neighborhood section). Students testing the survey for me asked “why am I not represented?” When I told other students of color about this initial mistake, they asked “did you ask them [the white students that tested] how it felt not to find themselves represented on survey?” While I did not initially leave out any student group, the question raises other questions about survey design and the impact of mistakenly lumping ethnic groups together or not even listing them as an option. Overall, I had trouble getting over my own biases. It was very difficult for me to write the questions in a manner that were not leading or reactionary. The process of actually coming up with questions was my biggest barrier. It was hard to develop the questions because I realized that I could not accurately assess the multicultural competency of students in the program with a quantitative survey.
  10. 10. Final Assessment Report: Multicultural Competency 10 Moreover, I have never assessed anyone’s knowledge, awareness, or skills in this area, or for that matter, ever attempted to measure or assess anyone’s feelings or thoughts. Hence, I felt very lost and frustrated. The best method available to assess any aspect of multicultural competency was to look at students’ attitudes and perceptions. However, to truly get at someone’s understanding of their knowledge, awareness, and skill in the area of multicultural competence would require many more open-ended questions and maybe some focus groups to discuss these issues. Overall, to truly provide administrators with a picture of the current perceptions and attitudes of CSSA students more research needs to be conducted to develop an assessment tool that can measure this. Creating a tool that is accurate and valid requires some team work and discussion around the questions, the method of questioning, and overall design. In sum, I would recommend a mini-committee to work on this type of assessment. As I realized in the process, this is not a one person task (especially if that one person’s biases are not put into check!). References King, P.M. & Howard-Hamilton, M. (2003). An assessment of multicultural competence. NASPA Journal, 40, 119-133. McEwen, M.K. & Roper, L.B. (1994) Interracial experiences, knowledge, and skills of master’s degree students in graduate programs in student affairs. Journal of College Student Development, 35, 81-87. Pedersen, P. (1998). A handbook for developing multicultural awareness. Alexandria, VA: American Association for Counseling and Development. Pope, R.L, Reynolds, A. L., Mueller, J.A. (2004). Multicultural Competence in Student Affairs. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.