Kennesaw State University-Marietta Campus (formerly Southern Polytechnic State University [SPSU]) affirms that diversity and inclusion are crucial to the intellectual vitality of the campus community. It is through freedom of exchange over different ideas and viewpoints in supportive environments that individuals develop the critical thinking and citizenship skills that will benefit them throughout their lives. Diversity and inclusion engender academic engagement where teaching, working, learning, and living take place in pluralistic communities of mutual respect.
In September 2013, then President Dr. Lisa Rossbacher appointed SPSU's Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion. Chaired by Kami Anderson (Professor) and Jill F. Forest (Associate Director of Career Services) the task force was charged with exploring two sets of questions:
- How can we understand and describe diversity and inclusiveness for this University in ways that are consistent with the University's values and mission?
- How can Southern Polytechnic build an inclusive environment for all faculty, staff and students?
The Task Force was given the latitude to determine its own scope of work, which could include a campus climate assessment. After the first two meetings, the Task Force was unanimously in agreement that a campus climate survey was both necessary and important. In November 2013, the Consolidation with KSU was announced. The Task Force met two additional times and determined a climate assessment was still needed but plans would be deferred.
The OWG for Diversity and Inclusion began meeting January 2014. The Co-chairs were Jill F. Forest and Erik Malewski, Chief Diversity officer, KSU. After discussion, it was determined that conducting a climate survey at SPSU needed to be administered and completed before the consolidation in order to capture SPSU specific data.
The KSU-Marietta survey was available via a secure online portal from November 4 through December 5, 2014. Campus community members completed 919 surveys for an overall response rate of 12%.