Week 08 – Lab + Reading Reflection

1b Scheduled Interview

Ron Lewis (Class of 2017, Finance) — former Student Body President at UIUC, #BeingBlackatIllinois movement. Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, October 21 at 4 pm.

1c Survey Questions

How would you rate your familiarity and participation with social justice-based student activism movements on campus?

Choices: Poor, Below Average, Average, Above Average, Excellent

How do you think UIUC compares to its peer institutions in terms of social justice-based student activism?

Choices: Poor, Below Average, Average, Above Average, Excellent

How receptive is the University (as a system) to student activism in terms of change?

Choices: Poor, Below Average, Average, Above Average, Excellent

What do you think should be changed or implemented?

Answer: long form

Estimate the number of Black students at UIUC.

Choices of 1%, 3%, 5% (correct answer), 7%, 9%, 11%, 13%, 15%

The I-Connect Diversity and Inclusion workshop is required of all incoming freshmen and transfer students. “I-Connect Diversity & Inclusion Workshop is an experiential training designed to help incoming students embrace differences and recognize shared experiences in order to build a welcoming and engaged campus community.” How effective would you rate the workshop in providing last change?

Answers: Very ineffective, Ineffective, Neutral, Effective, Very effective

Currently, all University students are required to take both a Non-Western Cultural Studies gen-ed as well as a US Minorities gen-ed. What are your opinions on this?

Answer: long form

Have you taken a U.S. Minorities gen-ed? How useful or interesting of a class was it for you?

Answer: long form

1d Expanded Survey Distribution Leads

EWeek Newsletter

Rebecca Xun – student activist

Reading Response

What question(s) is the author looking to answer? What sorts of data/evidence (primary sources) do they use to answer those questions (i.e. how do they analyze, criticize, interpret or summarize their data)? What key figures, events, or places within or beyond the campus might they build their story around? How do you plan to use this for your project?

Throughout Catching the Spark, the authors try to answer how systemic transformation of universities can be brought about by innovations set into motion through the work of student activists and data — as illustrated the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. First, they highlight the general atmosphere and state of college campuses across the country in reference to diversity and equity before delving into the specifics of programs at the University of Illinois. The authors build their story around the Pathways to Results (PTR) Initiative, as they themselves are part of that initiative. They do this by highlighting the initial challenges and how the PTR Initiative addressed or imbued each of them into their university proceedings. I plan to use the PTR Initiative to represent a genuine interest by the University to address the concerns of student activists in moving innovations for equity to scale.

Through Housing Is An Epicenter For Change, the authors are looking to answer how University facilities and services in the form of housing can work hand-in-hand with student activism to empower Black students and other students of color. They are quick to point out how Social Justice and Leadership Education is situated in Residential Life with three full-time staff as well as other staffed groups like the Men of Impact and the Queer Housing Coalition (84). #BeingBlackatIllinois began with a single email from a sBlack student leader to university administrators as part of the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin death and subsequent tense relations at UIUC. As well, the article points out specific departments in the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations — Diversity Education and BNAACC — responding to the student activism and call to action meeting. The authors also highlight support from a Latinx student as well as a similar hashtag trending at the University of Michigan (i.e. #BBUM: Being Black at the University of Michigan). This entire article goes into showing how student activism via protests, demonstrations, and clear demands have since translated into large scale strategic work that has been institutionalized across the university.

There were a wide array of points from the Harvard survey design guidelines that could be taken, but I will particularly highlight the ones that were less-covered in my survey questions. One of them was that survey questions should be tested on an audience beforehand in order to demonstrate viability and understanding by the general public. A lot of times, the way that a question would answered in one’s head is not how it is interpreted by others so minimizing that gap is key to surveys where respondents cannot ask follow-up questions of the survey designer. From there, the survey creator should iterate and adjust the questions accordingly. Even though surveys are typically seen as simple, they can still be improved upon for clarity and achieving its purpose. As well, survey questions should provide reference frames so that participants can understand the scope of a question and what they should be evaluating since it’s generally up to interpretation. Additionally, the order of responses can influence answer choices, so for that reason, randomizing answer choices can help — depending. Context is still key as answer choices that are on a scale would make sense to be ordinal, but other question types may work in a randomized format. Finally, questions should be straightforward and non-double-barreled as participants may not agree with both statements.

1 thought on “Week 08 – Lab + Reading Reflection”

  1. Hey! Enjoyed your reading response and it had some interesting things that I learnt. One such tip that I found particularly useful was that – A lot of times, the way that a question would answered in one’s head is not how it is interpreted by others so minimizing that gap is key to surveys where respondents cannot ask follow-up questions of the survey designer.

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