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Assessment Details & Data

Executive Summary | Prepared by Ivy Planning Group

We engaged Ivy Planning Group to conduct an organizational assessment to identify hidden and apparent barriers to belonging. The following is the Executive Summary of their process and findings:

View or download a PDF of the Executive Summary.

If you have questions or would like to see the full report, contact Bobbi Jo Stevens at [[bcstevens]] in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.

Assessment Objectives
  • Examine and assess William & Mary community, workplace, and marketplace performance through a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) lens.
  • Identify barriers and opportunities for William & Mary to advance its work in DEI.
  • Inform a DEI Strategic Plan and Roadmap to drive accountability and change.

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Assessment Methods: Quantitative
Datasets: HRIS
  • Time period 2018-2020
  • Workforce representation vs. CLF benchmarks
  • Promotion and performance increase rates
  • Separation, with reason categories
  • Student representation
Datasets: Applicant Tracking
  • Time period 2018-2020
  • Hiring – selection rates at each step
  • Diverse slates
Datasets: Surveys
  • 2018 Employee Climate Survey
  • 2021 Student Survey
  • Analyses by gender, race/ethnicity, gender x race/ethnicity
  • Breakdowns by year, department, occupation, and occupation subtype
  • Gaps quantified using difference scores, utilization ratios, adverse impact ratios
  • Gap sizes evaluated using statistical significance testing and the 80% Rule

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Assessment Methods: Qualitative
16 Focus Groups
  • 142 participants
    • 50% of full possible capacity for employee focus groups
    • 17% of full capacity for student focus groups
    • The typical rate across Ivy clients is about 55%
    • “Full capacity” = 20 people per focus group
  • Groups by gender, race/ethnicity, roles, etc.:
    • Employees, LGBTQ+
    • Employees, Women:
      • BIPOC/AAPI, Admin& Staff Prof
      • White, Admin& Staff Prof
      • BIPOC/AAPI, Staff Hourly, Classified & Operational
      • White, Staff Hourly, Classified & Operational
      • BIPOC/AAPI, Faculty
      • White, Faculty
    • Employees, Men:
      • BIPOC/AAPI, Admin& Staff Prof
      • White, Admin& Staff Prof
      • BIPOC/AAPI, Staff Hourly, Classified & Operational
      • White, Staff Hourly, Classified & Operational
      • BIPOC/AAPI, Faculty
      • White, Faculty
    • Students, Women:
      • BIPOC/AAPI
      • White
    • Students, Men:
      • BIPOC/AAPI
      • White (cancelled due to lack of response)
41 Interviews
  • Tailored questions for William & Mary leaders by function
  • Topics included your role, top business priorities, views on DEI at William & Mary, how you apply a DEI lens to your own role and function
  • Participants included Administrators, Faculty (Tenured & Non-Tenured), Staff, and Student
  • Policies and procedures
  • Areas include: employee engagement, talent acquisition and management, procurement, marketing, and community
  • Student and employee climate surveys, DEI reports, affirmative action reports, work group reports
  • William & Mary website and career pages, etc.
Notable Quotables
  • Sourced from focus groups and interviews
  • Lightly edited for length and to protect confidentiality

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Assessment Findings: The Stage and Severity of Race and Gender Gaps in the Hiring Process
People of Color have significantly lower chance of reaching the referred and offer stages.

1. Applied  >>  2. Met Minimum Requirements  >>  3. Referred/Interview  >>  4. Offer  >>  5. Hired

1. Applied

Applicants were:

  • Staff: 34% POC & 59% Women
  • Faculty: 41% POC & 28% Women
  • Administrators: 26% POC & 55% Women

Compare to current Employees:

  • Staff: 28% POC & 61% Women
  • Faculty: 22% POC & 45% Women
  • Administrators: 9% POC & 55% Women

(No Gaps Between 1 & 2) All race/gender groups meet minimum requirements at similar rates. This means that gaps in overall hiring cannot be explained by a lack of qualified applicants.

2. Met Minimum Requirements

(Many Gaps Between 2 & 3) 
Gaps moving from Step 2 to 3 for:

  • Staff: No gaps
  • Faculty: Black Women & POC Men
  • Administrators: Asian & Hispanic/Latino Men

Race-diverse slates do not consistently reach Step 3.

  • 29% of job requisitions had 2 or more POC candidates referred
  • 63% of job requisitions had 2 or more White candidates referred
3. Referred/Interview

(Many Gaps between 3 & 4)
Gaps moving from Step 3 to 4 for:

  • Staff: Asian Women & Hispanic/Latino Men
  • Faculty: No gaps
  • Administrators: POC Women & POC Men
4. Offer

(Very Few Gaps Between 4 & 5) Almost no gaps at this stage, meaning gaps cannot be explained by different rates of accepting offers by race/gender. One gap:

  • Faculty: Asian Women
5. Hired

Overall, White candidates made up 64% of Applicants vs. 71% of new hires.

  • Staff, Faculty, and Administrators: White women fared the best, followed by White men

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Assessment Findings: There are Gaps for People of Color in the Makeup of the Workforce

Compared to relevant labor force benchmarks, People of Color are underrepresented in William & Mary’s workforce:

  • Postsecondary Teachers: the following groups are underutilized at William & Mary vs. US benchmarks:
    • Asian Women
    • Hispanic/Latina Women
    • Hispanic/Latino Men
    • Black Men
    • Other POC Men and Women (includes American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, & 2 or More Races)
  • Across 13 specific occupations* that are mapped to relevant benchmarks (US or region), William & Mary’s workforce underutilizes groups as follows:
    • Hispanic/Latino workers are underutilized in all 13 occupations
    • Asian, Black, and Other POC are underutilized in 5-11 occupations each
    • White workers are underutilized in 1 occupation: Grounds Maintenance Workers

*These were the occupations with at least 30 employees and US Census civilian labor force benchmarks available for comparison.

Within William & Mary’s workforce, representation by race and gender varies depending on occupation groups:

Six column data table. Top row cells are headings for each column.
2020-21 Employees Staff (Hourly,
Classified, &
Non-tenuretrack Faculty Tenure-track &
Tenured Faculty
Women of Color 20% 12% 12% 8% 6%
Men of Color 12% 8% 7% 12% 3%
White Women 43% 47% 37% 31% 53%
White Men 26% 34% 44% 49% 38%
Promotion Patterns Vary by Race and Occupation Group
Three column table. First row is header cells for each colum. Last row is merged to a single cell applying to all columns.
Staff Faculty Administrators

Lower promotion rates for:

  • Black vs. White Staff
  • Hispanic/Latino vs. White Staff

Lower promotion rates for:

  • Asian vs. White Faculty

Promotion base rates are very low; numbers too small to evaluate differences.

Retention patterns need additional study
After analyzing retention data, it became clear that the dataset wasn’t well-suited to evaluate separation rates by race and gender. Specifically, the separation data included faculty and staff who terminated from one position but continued working at William & Mary in a new position or appointment. Thus, the results did not isolate true terminations from position/appointment changes.

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Assessment Findings: Key Themes
Two column table. Cells in the first column are a header for each row.
#1 William & Mary has several current-state conditions that can enable DEI success.
#2 A lack of accountability for DEI execution, along with organizational autonomy, has hindered DEI progress.
#3  Too few leaders understand DEI is an imperative and opportunity enabler.
#4 People of Color have different experiences at William & Mary compared to their white peers.

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Assessment Findings: Summary of Evidence for Each Key Theme

This section summarizes evidence supporting each key theme of the assessment. Evidence was integrated across all assessment methods (data, documents, interviews, focus groups, and content analysis). The quotes are representative examples of experiences and perceptions shared in the W&M focus groups.

Key Theme #1: William & Mary has several current-state conditions that can enable DEI success.
Two column table. Cells in the first column are a header for each row.
Leadership commitment to DEI The tone from the top conveys genuine commitment to DEI. Employees and students are hopeful there will be real change. Leaders are eager to learn and do their part.
DEI infrastructure & accomplishments William & Mary has some DEI structures and governance in place to be able to drive success. The CDO, Diversity Officers (in place in some Schools), and the collective Diversity Leadership Council provide leadership and help drive DEI initiatives across William & Mary.
DEI awareness and education Within and outside of William & Mary, efforts to build a cohesive DEI culture are evident. Through policy, programs and events, training, and recognition, a DEI culture is emerging. The adoption of COLL 350 Diversity, Equity, Justice course requirement for students, plus a variety of disciplines developing courses to support embedding diversity into the curriculum, are major accomplishments.
Responsive to students and their prospective employers Administration and Faculty are highly student-focused, and students demand DEI actions and improvements. Additionally, employers seek students who are prepared and skilled at operating in a diverse environment.

"Since Katherine Rowe has been here and taking the lead on this, there seems to be more openness and more of a responsiveness to the things happening around the country and the university in relation to DEI that was not there before."

Key Theme #2: A lack of accountability for DEI execution, along with organizational autonomy, has hindered DEI progress.
Two column table. Cells in the first column are a header for each row.
There is not a consistent high-accountability culture across leadership related to DEI The tone from the top conveys genuine commitment to DEI and there has been progress. William & Mary has proven itself capable of creating and executing, both externally imposed and self-regulating mandates, when they are regarded as important. The development and implementation of DEI tactics has not been consistent across William & Mary.
There is employee skepticism that promises/hopes will be fulfilled While employees are hopeful there will be real progress, many are skeptical or fearful that gains will be lost, and progress will stop. Some are afraid to be emotionally invested and then disappointed.
Most employees consider the culture to be no or low accountability, or one that varies by difference William & Mary has a strong tradition of faculty governance, and many tenured faculty consider self-discipline and self-motivation to be sufficient accountability.
In William & Mary’s polite, thoughtful culture, it is common for employees to avoid difficult conversations.

Lack of skill in having difficult, DEI-related discussions leads to avoidance, delay, and inaction.

“William & Mary niceness” was described as an outwardly friendly and supportive demeanor, masking a culture of conflict avoidance, hidden disapproval, and deference to power. People described fear of retribution and loss of community support for speaking up, pushing traditional or outdated norms, or being different.

"I don’t even think I’m cautiously optimistic about where this is going. We’ve done this before. You keep banging your head on the wall – we have done this before and said this before and the only thing that changes is us experiencing the pain."

Key Theme #3: Too few leaders understand DEI is an imperative and opportunity enabler.
Two column table. Cells in the first column are a header for each row.
Too few leaders recognize the coming demographic trends for college enrollment While many participants understand some aspects of the business case for DEI, few indicated any recognition of demographic changes that may greatly impact the financial modeling and projects for William & Mary and most schools of higher learning. As a result, they tend to be less engaged in DEI efforts.
Participants know that alumni funding is important and influential Some participants attribute the lack of more aggressive progress on DEI initiatives to attempts to retain and satisfy alumni donors. Participants are not aware of the relative amount of giving and influence from alumni supporters of William & Mary’s DEI efforts vs. detractors of those efforts.
Needed private foundation funding sources will measure and evaluate William & Mary on its DEI pace and results Employees, particularly, Faculty and Administrators, recognize the funding need for DEI initiatives.

"There’s not enough of an awareness on the importance of diversity, beyond state/federal requirements. Perhaps it’s the culture of the donors, alumni. There’s a lack of strong focus in believing this is something they need to care about. It’s also a funding problem. The university relies on sources that aren’t strong advocates of DEI."

Key Theme #4: People of Color have different experiences at William & Mary compared to their white peers.
Two column table. Cells in the first column are a header for each row.
The Employee Lifecycle
There are a number of significant gaps for people of color in the talent lifecycle

People of Color (POC) are consistently underutilized compared to relevant benchmarks in the 13 occupation classifications comprising the assessment.

Race-diverse candidate slates do not consistently reach the Referred/Interviewed stage.

Hiring gaps for POC cannot be explained as a lack of qualified applicants or POC not accepting job offers.

New training and techniques are being launched to improve equitable treatment Diverse slates, trained search advocates, and diverse interview panels have recently been launched.
Applicant screening and evaluation practices are vulnerable to bias

There is a lot of room for bias to impact hiring decisions. For example, decision-makers often consider “culture fit,” which is poorly defined and subject to bias.

William & Mary provides Implicit Bias training for recruiters. Many participants were totally unaware of their biases.

Many employees said there are limited advancement opportunities; they have to leave to advance

During focus groups, some POC noted they heard career strategies from others that they had never thought about. Noting that POC are underrepresented at higher levels of leadership, contributing factors may include:

  • Limited mentoring and development discussions
  • No experience in self-advocacy
  • No exposure to career development or skill development planning
"A lot of it has to do with the pool of people who are qualified to do the work. I’m in a public facing niche career field. We do hire people other than career professionals, e.g., IT people and those kinds of folks. Other than that, it can be a struggle to get people who are qualified and have the right required experience but aren’t necessarily white."
Two column table. Cells in the first column are a header for each row.
Culture and the Student Experience
Geography negatively impacts the experience of POC and LGBTQ+ groups

The history of Williamsburg and William & Mary continue to negatively impact the experience of employees and students.

Some participants described the community as unwelcoming to POC and LGBTQ+.

POC are underrepresented within the student population Students described that diverse voices are largely underrepresented on campus due to low diversity within the student body.
Students and Students of Color (Black, Asian, Latin/Hispanic), in particular, perceive administration leaders are not proactive, responsive, and committed to their concerns.

Students perceive that if they want to see DEI-related changes on campus, they need to be the ones that initiate and drive them.

Students of color expressed that future DEI progress relies on them.

"As a Black person on campus, there are not going to be any cultural events for you that are put on unless you host it yourself or people from that group host it themselves. This is the same for any group. Any progress in diversity initiatives was student-led. So, there is a disconnect between student interest and the administration, who would then take credit for those initiatives."

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Overview of DEI Strategic Plan
Leadership: Summary of Findings
  • DEI infrastructure is only partially in place.
  • Accountability structures and process are inconsistently implemented.
  • Many employees express hopefulness and skepticism that expectations will be fulfilled. Past history, not being aware of accomplishments, accomplishments that do not relate to their priorities, and the amount of time for bodies to research, digest, collaborate, and get decisions made are contributing factors.
  • Employees across difference indicated the Office of Diversity & Inclusion is underresourced.
Leadership: Overall Recommendations
  • Require timetables and accountability.
  • Increase available DEI resources to ensure funding for DEI is allocated or acquired.
  • Establish accountability process. Increase the transparency of data and DEI plan as part of communication plan.
  • Establish DEI metrics for all operating units and include performance measures as part of annual reviews.
  • Cabinet level and next levels of leadership must know the expectations, accountabilities, and opportunities they have for driving DEI results.
Culture: Summary of Findings
  • The collaborative, collegial, close knit, values-driven culture is not experienced consistently across difference, with more People Of Color lacking a feeling of inclusion (more experience of hostility, disrespect, exclusion, than their White colleagues).
  • Employees at all levels avoid difficult conversations regarding DEI cultural norms, expectations, and accountabilities in part from avoidance, fear, and lack of experience. This inhibits developing new cultural norms.
  • Preferences, biases, lack of relationships across difference, and lack of accountability for expected behaviors disadvantages People Of Color, resulting in a shortage of vocal advocates for underrepresented groups.
  • Too few employees recognize DEI as a business imperative and opportunity enabler. They frequently undervalue its importance and their responsibility 
Culture: Overall Recommendations
  • Faculty are key to improving both qualitative and quantitative outcomes with multiple modes of intervention. Emphasize the importance of vulnerability, authenticity, and continuous learning and adaptation for teachers and learners of every background.
  • Continued learning and development around DEI knowledge (e.g., Difficult Conversations, Unconscious Bias, MicroTriggers®) is needed, with more emphasis on skill building. Embed skill growth in multiple modes for all levels of communications and meetings.
  • Ensure programs focused on diverse groups are implemented inclusively.
  • Partner with other forward-looking parts of the organization to tell the story of how DEI enables success and prepares William & Mary to thrive in the future.
Talent: Summary of Findings
  • William & Mary moves qualified POC applicants to the Referred/Interviewed Stage, and to the Offer Stage at a disproportionately lower rate than what would statistically be expected.
  • Employees at all levels are disturbed by the low income among the lowest paid workers including those in Facilities Management. Some employees indicate that paying staff below what they perceive as a living wage is inconsistent with William & Mary’s values.
  • Relationships and networks across difference are lacking.
Talent: Overall Recommendations
  • Embed DEI into William & Mary’s talent management systems.
  • Focus efforts on removing opportunities for bias from selection process in hiring, including Faculty hiring, by implementing evidence-based practices at each selection stage.
  • Increase the inclusion and retention of People Of Color.
  • Update programs to accelerate the pipeline development and identification of POC into management and above positions.
  • Increase referral rate of racially/ethnically diverse professionals.
  • Complete the compensation study that is in progress, then communicate findings with employees. Create an action plan to address pay disparities, if any, (particularly among the lowest compensated staff including facilities management staff), and/or employee perceptions of pay disparities.
  • Increase career programs and accessibility to programming for staff at all levels.
  • Create informal and formal ways to build relationships across difference.

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