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Diversity Assessment


The ULO project on Diversity Learning was conducted from 2008 to 2011. In 2008, a committee was formed and their charges were created based on the assessment of the Diversity Learning Objectives. Their charges were to: 

1) Provide a direct assessment of student learning, as opposed to a campus climate survey 
2) Measure the totality of diversity learning at Cal Poly, as opposed to the learning that takes place in one course 
3) Pay specific attention to measuring the "value-added" of a Cal Poly education to student attainment of the diversity learning objectives 
4) Identify clear recommendations for improvement in areas where students are falling short of expectations

Committee Membership

Members on the committee were composed of faculty and staff and were led by Daniel Villegas (Economics). Other members included Denise Campbell (Student Affairs), Kara Curcio (University Housing), Marni Goldenberg (Recreation, Parks, and Tourism), Trevor Harding (Materials Engineering), Devin Kuhn (Religious Studies and Women's & Gender Studies), Jane Lehr (Ethnic Studies and Women's & Gender Studies), Anika Leithner (Political Science), Camille O'Bryant (Kinesiology), Herlina Pranata (Counseling Services), Martin Shibata (Career Services), and Jason Williams (Psychology & Child Development).

Diversity Learning Objectives

All students who complete an undergraduate or graduate program at Cal Poly should be able to make reasoned decisions based on a respect and appreciation for diversity. 

Students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of relationships between diversity, inequality, and social, economic, and political power both in the United States and globally
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of contributions made by individuals from diverse and/or underrepresented groups to our local, national, and global communities
  3. Consider perspectives of diverse groups when making decisions
  4. Function as members of society and as professionals with people who have ideas, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that are different from their own


The diversity learning element involved the design and analysis of separate surveys for the first three of the four diversity learning objectives (DLOs), the use of focus groups to assess the fourth objective, and an analysis of the influence of service learning and the United States Cultural Pluralism (USCP) requirement on diversity learning. Each of the three surveys provided evidence of value added learning — both seniors and juniors scored higher than freshmen, although they did not differ from one another.

The focus-group responses revealed negative student biases against diversity learning that appeared to exist before students entered Cal Poly. Senior students were better able than freshmen to reflect on their diversity learning classroom experiences, but still gave mixed responses. Neither service learning nor USCP were found to have substantial influence on students’ diversity learning. These findings led to the information provided during the EER visit revealed that this recommendation is still under consideration. For more information, see the Summary Diversity Learning Report - August, 2011 (PDF).


  1. Coordinate diversity learning across the curriculum and co-curriculum to create a scaffold for the development of DLO-based skills
  2. Align the USCP requirement with the DLOs and review USCP courses to see whether they address the DLOs
  3. Align service-learning policies with the DLOs and review service learning courses to see whether they address the DLOs
  4. Challenge every major to develop an upper-division experience that addresses the DLOs


Committee Activities and Timeline 2008-11

Date activity
fall 2008 Development of a draft of assessment protocols (questions, instructions, and scoring rubrics)



  • Feedback elicited from Cal Poly faculty and staff on draft assessment protocols
  • Feedback incorporated into revisions of assessment protocols
  • Field test of assessment protocols in ECON 303
  • Feedback from field test incorporated into revisions of assessment protocols



  • Pilot assessment of graduating seniors
  • Scoring of pilot assessment of graduating seniors
  • Feedback elicited from scorers (Cal Poly faculty and staff) on pilot assessment protocol



  • Analysis of pilot assessment data
  • Revision and finalization of protocols for 2009-10 baseline assessment
  • Preparation and release of Preliminary Report on the Pilot Assessment of the Diversity Learning Objectives
fall 2009
  • The DLO committee initiated the collection of baseline DLO assessment data
  • Responses to the assessment questionnaires were obtained from freshmen students enrolled in ENGL 102 and GE Area A1: ENGL 134 and GE Area A3: ENGL 14
  • Responses were received from approximately 320 freshmen students
  • The questionnaire was in the form of both printed copies and online access; however, the majority of responses received from freshmen students were completed on the printed version during class sessions
winter 2010
  • The DLO committee collected baseline data from juniors and seniors enrolled in Area D: Society and the Individual upper-division D5 courses as well as engineering senior project courses
  • Three different versions of the questionnaire were developed: distinct versions for DLO 1, DLO 2 and DLO 3
  • The questionnaire included four brief essay questions dealing with the diversity learning objectives, questions pertaining to the importance a student places on the university's DLOs, and student demographic questions

Diversity Learning Objective (DLO) #1 (WORD Document)

Diversity Learning Objective (DLO) #2 (WORD Document)

Diversity Learning Objective (DLO) #3 (WORD Document)

spring 2010
  • The DLO committee conducted scoring sessions to evaluate the level of student learning with respect to Cal Poly's four diversity learning objectives
  • In addition, focus group sessions based on a protocol designed to assess DLO 4 were conducted among the approximately 80 freshmen students enrolled in the HNRS 100 course during the fall quarter
  • Focus group sessions were also conducted among the approximately 90 seniors enrolled in ECON 303 during the winter quarter. In order to extract qualitative findings from the focus group discussions the recordings have been transcribed

Diversity Learning Objective (DLO) #4 (WORD Document)- Sample questions for freshman and senior focus groups

fall 2010 Statistical analysis of baseline assessment data
winter 2011 Preparation of Preliminary Report on the Baseline Assessment of the Diversity Learning Objectives

spring 2011- spring


Distribution of Diversity Learning Report (PDF)



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