Director’s Corner: Creating Connections at the c3 Conference


On Saturday April 22, I had the distinct honor and pleasure of representing the work of the Bates IR office at the 2017 Creating Connections Consortium (C3) Summit, hosted by Williams College. The C-3 Summit gatherings offer a think-tank-like atmosphere for the presentation, critical analysis, and vigorous discussion of research concerning diversity and inclusion in higher education. To support this year’s theme of “The Transformative Power of Race in the Academy: Measuring Change, Charting Futures,” I spoke on an IR panel, alongside my dynamic IR colleagues at Middlebury, Smith, and Williams, about the current tools and techniques we are using to assess institutional transformation and climate.

In particular, I seized this moment as an opportunity to showcase the innovative research-based programming that Bates has recently developed to support the first-generation to college experience (Bobcat First!)  and to promote and foster connections across differences on campus (The Dinner Table) and the data analysis the IR office has provided to support the assessment of each program’s efficacy. While I cannot discuss the specifics of the data points, what I can offer is the general advice that was the crux of the presentation, which is that virtually all institutions have the capacity to measure diversity-related outcomes by leveraging data that is already being collected. In our case, we managed to cross-tabulate data from student records, annual student surveys, and program participant records to produce a rich comparative analysis of participant vs. non-participant outcomes (in addition to pre- and post-participation outcomes).

It was a very exciting panel session and after a deeply engaging  Q & A, in particular, I left feeling more energized and inspired about the work that Tom, Will, and I do here.