Doane sets itself apart when it comes to campus diversity

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When compared to its peer and aspirant schools, Doane holds its own when it comes to campus diversity.

College Factual, a site that rates colleges and universities across the country, gave Doane a score of 68 out of 100 when it came to the university’s “overall diversity”, labeling it as “above average”. The site examines ethnic diversity and looks at gender, geographic and age diversity. It compiles scores from all these areas to come up with a college or university’s diversity score.

For comparison, Doane’s closest aspirant school, Nebraska Wesleyan University, received a 58 out of 100 for its diversity by the website. This earned the “average” label. Other peer and aspirant schools for Doane include Augustana University (South Dakota), Buena Vista University (Iowa), Coe College (Iowa), Hastings College, Luther College (Iowas), Rockhurst University (Missouri) and Saint Ambrose University (Iowa). Among all nine schools, Coe College received the highest overall diversity score with a 74 out of 100.

Raja Tayeh, Institutional Research director, presented the Owl with more detailed information about diversity at Doane. According to Tayeh, the student gender difference on campus is nearly split down the middle. With 1,011 students in the Fall of 2018, 45 percent of them self-reported as female, while 55 percent self-reported as male. Out of 89 faculty members, 54 percent identified as male and 46 percent identified as female.

When it comes to ethnic diversity, Doane is predominately white. 86 percent of female students and 78 percent of male students self-identified as white. 94 percent of male faculty members and 98 percent of female faculty members also identified as white.

Tayeh also said that the majority of Doane students ranged between the ages of 18 and 23. The average age of a Doane student is 20 years old. She added that for the 2018-2019 academic year, 30 percent of female students and 27 percent of males students were considered low-income students. These students were eligible to receive the Federal Pell Grant of $6,095.   

 Chief Diversity Officer Luis Sotelo said that it was encouraging that Doane was labeled as “above average” in diversity. It has been a process to increase diversity numbers at the university, though. This is Sotelo’s second year at Doane and he said that initially he spent an entire year just observing the atmosphere and status of diversity at Doane. He said that there were promising programs focused on increasing diversity when he got to the university. It was only happening on small scales and in individual departments, though.

 “I saw a lot of great initiatives, a lot of powerful leaders leading these initiatives, but again it was, for the most part, done within silos,” Sotelo said. “At that point, Doane had not made diversity and inclusion an institutional strategy. It was not necessarily seen as mission-imperative.”

Sotelo said that Doane had made strides in diversity and inclusion during the time he’d been here, though.

 “To truly be an outstanding institution, you need to have diversity and inclusion,” Sotelo said. “So, fast forward two years and I think that that’s where we are at now. We are really beginning to embrace it as a university-wide imperative. That is not just a nice thing to have, ‘it’s great if you do it’, but it is, ‘we must do it.’”

Sotelo also said that Doane has created new initiatives to continue increasing diversity at Doane. These include a cultural competency assessment sent out students and faculty to see how well they are aware of other cultures. Based on their results, individuals would then go through workshops to increase their cultural competency.

Sotelo said that with the help of Doane’s enrollment team and financial aid, they have also been able to launch a new scholarship called, The Students of Promise Award.

Sotelo said this award focused on increasing economic diversity and was tailored toward low-income students. He said if a low-income student was eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, they would also be eligible for the Students of Promise Award, a scholarship of $25,000.

Freshman Henrique Sakoda, an international student from Sao Paulo, Brazil, said that he enjoyed the effort that Doane was taking to increase diversity.

“Compared to other colleges in the United States, there are not a lot of international students studying here, but that is one thing that Doane is trying to improve,” Sakoda said.

“They’re (Doane) working along with us international students to try to expand Doane throughout the world,” Sakoda said. “Jake (Hoy-Elswick) in the international office is always talking with us, trying to talk with our friends.”

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