In November of 2014, the Office of Human Resources invited Washington University faculty and staff to complete an anonymous Diversity Engagement Survey focused on the workplace environment. The results of this survey provide the university important baseline data to build and support a more diverse and inclusive community.

2014 Diversity Engagement Survey resources:

Message from Chancellor Wrighton
June 3, 2015

To the Washington University community,

Diversity is vital to the future of Washington University. It enhances our sense of community while it positively impacts knowledge creation, problem solving and productivity — all key to our mission as a world-class university. We know that we have serious work to do to make the university a more diverse and inclusive place. This is one of our deepest values and highest priorities.

As chancellor, I am committed to ensuring that we are up to this challenge.

Many of our faculty, staff and students have urged greater assessment of diversity and inclusiveness on our campuses. This past academic year, the Office of Human Resources invited you and your colleagues on all campuses to participate in an anonymous Diversity Engagement Survey focused on the workplace environment.

Between November 2014 and February 2015, 5,028 faculty and staff members completed the survey. This robust participation, representing a 38 percent response rate, gives the university important baseline data that will inform our efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive community.

This baseline information also will allow us to monitor whether our efforts are leading to real improvements in employee engagement and experience.

Survey questions focused on faculty and staff’s views of their connection to the mission, vision and purpose of the university, as well as camaraderie and appreciation in their work environment.

On the whole, employee responses to this survey were positive. However, the survey results show a considerable gap in engagement levels across various groups.

Underrepresented minorities responded less positively across all schools and all roles.
Females responded less positively than males overall, and this difference was significantly larger in the Danforth Campus schools and in the Central Fiscal Unit than in the School of Medicine.

Respondents who are non-Christian; who identify as LGBT; and who have been employed at the university more than 10 years were less positive than other respondents.

More detailed survey results are included in the executive summary. Leadership from your school or department will follow-up with specific data related to your workplace.

These gaps in engagement across various groups are concerning and offer clear areas for improvement. Washington University should be a place where all community members feel accepted, included, nurtured and welcomed. Our challenge as a community is to use these survey results to move forward and become a better place. This work will not be easy and it will not be quick, but I am fully committed to it.

We already have begun these important conversations through events such as the Day of Discovery and Dialogue. We will do more.

The recently appointed Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee is working to develop a proposed strategy for the university moving forward. Human Resources has begun offering expanded diversity training opportunities for managers.

It will take the effort and support of our entire community to get to where we want to be.

Thank you to all faculty and staff who took the time to respond to the Diversity Engagement Survey. A special thank-you also goes to a number of faculty and staff members who reviewed the survey tool and the survey data.

Please view resources above to learn more about the survey results and opportunities to engage.


Mark S. Wrighton