Primer on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Living location for St. Olaf specific data, trends, and terms/definitions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Definitions

Student and faculty demographic information collected by St. Olaf is listed and defined in the following document: Demographic Category Definitions

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Glossary of Terms presenting definitions of key terms for efforts in diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Data

The demographic codes used in the data presented below (e.g., domestic multicultural students, low income students) are defined above under “Definitions.” Where applicable, data are withheld for groups of fewer than five students to protect student privacy.

Enrollment, Graduation, and Retention Rates and Religious Affiliations

Question: How do enrollment, graduation, and retention rates compare across different demographic groups and how have these changed over the years?

Data: The first set of tables linked below show breakdowns by race/ethnicity and TRIO eligibility status (low income, first-generation, or both) of each incoming first-year cohort (full-time, first-time students only) from 2001-2018. The accompanying graphs show only the trends for the historically underrepresented groups to make it easier to “zoom in” on these trends. The second set of tables and graphs show the religious affiliations represented among each incoming first-year cohort since 2001, along with a more detailed breakdown of the religious affiliations of the most recent incoming class. The next set of tables and graphs show four- and six-year graduation rates for each of these demographic groups for the same time period (excluding cohorts for which four or six years have not yet transpired). The final set of tables and graphs show first-to-sophomore and first-to-junior year retention rates across each of these groups for the most recent cohorts (2013-2017).

Note that much of this data is already tracked by St. Olaf and reported on our Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment website.

Key Points – Enrollment Rates:

  • While the proportion of international students and domestic multicultural students has increased fairly steadily since around 2008, this has not been the case for all individual racial/ethnic groups for domestic students. The proportion of Hispanic/Latino students has grown most rapidly, though has somewhat leveled off in recent years; along with students who identify as Asian, these students make up the greatest proportion of domestic multicultural students at St. Olaf. The proportion of Black or African American students has grown only modestly, and the number of American Indian or Alaska Native students has remained quite low across the years. The proportion of students who identify as more than one race has consistently fallen somewhere in the middle since this option was introduced in 2007.
  • The proportion of students identified as low income, first-generation, or both has varied. Generally, there has been a somewhat higher proportion of students per cohort who are low income only, though the gaps between these three groups have narrowed in recent years.
  • Two additional graphs show the growing proportion of underrepresented students in the entire student body over the years.

Enrollment Data

Key Points – Graduation Rates:

  • Graduation rates for international students, though variable for earlier cohorts due to their low overall representation in the student body, tend to be closer to those of domestic white, non-Hispanic students. Four-year graduation rates for domestic multicultural students tend to fall below those of domestic white, non-Hispanic students, but their six-year graduation rates have been more comparable for the most recent cohorts.
  • Four- and six-year graduation rates for Black or African American students improved for a time but have fallen again in recent years. Four- and six-year graduation rates for Hispanic/Latino and multiracial students have also fluctuated throughout the years, though six-year rates tend to match those of domestic white students for recent cohorts.
  • Students who are both low income and first-generation tend to have the lowest four- and six-year graduation rates, while students who are low income only tend to graduate at similar (or higher) rates to students who are neither low income nor first-generation, particularly for recent cohorts. The latter is also true for six-year graduation rates for students who are first-generation only, while their four-year graduation rates have fallen in recent years.

Graduation Data

Key Points – Retention Rates:

  • Retention rates have varied across all racial/ethnic groups, but have often been lowest for Black or African American students, particularly sophomore retention rates. Hispanic/Latino students and to some extent multiracial students also have lower sophomore retention rates compared to domestic white, non-Hispanic students, but their first-year retention rates are similar or higher.
  • International students tend to be retained at a higher rate than domestic students.
  • First-generation students tend to have the lowest retention rates, though this has improved in recent years (particularly the most recent cohort’s sophomore retention).

Retention Data

Key Points – Religious Affiliations:

  • The most notable trends are the decrease in the proportion of students identifying as Lutheran, and the increase in the proportion of students selecting one of the “No Affiliation” options. The large jump in the number of students with no religious affiliation (and consequent drop in the number of “Unknown” students, i.e., non-respondents) in 2011 suggests a change in the way this category was coded and/or presented to students on the Common Application, and should therefore be interpreted with caution. Nevertheless, the fact that the number of students with no religious affiliation now surpass those identifying as Lutheran is noteworthy.

Religious Affiliation Data

Diversity in Academic Majors

Question: How are students from historically underrepresented groups represented across different majors?

Data: The tables and graphs linked below show the representation of domestic multicultural and nonresident international students, as well as those meeting the federal TRIO designation for low income, first-generation, or both (referred to as “LIFG”), across majors. Specifically, the data are summarized by the Faculty in which each major is housed (i.e., Humanities – HUM, Interdisciplinary and General Studies – IGS, Fine Arts – FA, Social Sciences – SSF, Natural Sciences and Mathematics – NSM). Double- or triple-majors are counted in each of the relevant Faculties. Similar analyses were not done with concentrations as most are housed in IGS or NSM.

Key Points:

  • The representation of first-generation students has varied greatly for most Faculties across the years.
  • Domestic multicultural, international, and LIFG students have all generally been underrepresented among Humanities majors.
  • Domestic multicultural students have been slightly underrepresented in NSM majors, and often in Fine Arts majors as well.
  • LIFG students have often been underrepresented in Fine Arts majors and NSM majors.
  • Low income students are slightly underrepresented in NSM majors, and often overrepresented in Fine Arts majors.
  • Domestic multicultural, international, first-generation, and LIFG students have tended to be overrepresented in Social Sciences majors. Domestic multicultural and LIFG students have also often been overrepresented in IGS majors.

Academic Majors Data

Access to High-Impact Practices (HIPs)

Question: How are students from historically underrepresented groups represented across different high-impact practices (HIPs)?

Data: The following graphs show the degree to which participation rates of domestic multicultural, international, low income, and first-generation students in HIPs–specifically, undergraduate research, learning communities (i.e., conversations) and off-campus study–matched their representation in the student body from 2010 to 2017.

 Key Points:

  • There was a large drop in the representation of students identified as low income and/or first-generation in learning communities beginning in 2014-15, but this has narrowed again over recent years.
  • Aside from this, participation of underrepresented students in these three HIPs has generally been equitable and/or improved across the years.
  • Several projects for To Include is To Excel will continue to address not only equity of access to HIPs, but equity of experience within these practices. The participation data linked below is also being tracked as part of St. Olaf’s strategic plan goals
  • Equity of student participation in ACE courses can be found here, as part of one of the grant-funded projects under To Include is To Excel.

HIPs Data

Faculty and Staff Diversity

Question: How has the diversity of St. Olaf’s faculty and staff changed over the years?

Data: The tables and graphs linked below draw on data St. Olaf submits to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The faculty category includes all full-time instructional faculty, excluding individuals with faculty appointments if more than 50% of their time is devoted to administrative or other non-teaching duties. The staff category includes all full-time non-instructional staff, as well as the administrative/non-teaching faculty excluded from the instructional faculty counts. As reporting methods changed significantly in 2012, the data cover only the academic years from 2012-13 on. As with student enrollment data, the graphs depict only the trends for domestic multicultural and international faculty/staff.

 Key Points:

  • Increasing the diversity of faculty and staff (along with students) is one of the college’s strategic plan goals. We hope to see the results of these efforts reflected here over the coming years.

Faculty and Staff Data

Survey Data

Question: How do the experiences of students from historically underrepresented groups differ at St. Olaf?

Data – NSSE: The tables linked below show selected results from the 2018 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which is administered to first-years and seniors every three years. This survey measures various aspects of student engagement via student self-reports. The data below have been disaggregated for domestic, white, non-Hispanic; domestic multicultural; and international students, as well as for students who are low income; first-generation; both first-generation and low income (LIFG); or neither first-generation nor low income. The full NSSE results for 2018 are available on the IE&A website. Additional disaggregated data from the 2018 survey can be found in the Assessment Committee’s report to the Board of Regents.

Key Points – NSSE:

  • Domestic multicultural and international students tend to rate their interactions with students, faculty, and staff less positively than domestic white, non-Hispanic students. Low income students tend to report more favorable interactions with students, faculty, and staff, while the patterns for first-generation and LIFG students are more mixed.
  • Domestic multicultural, international, and low income students (as well as first-generation and LIFG seniors) perceive less institutional emphasis on encouraging contact among students from different backgrounds. Overall, first-years perceive greater emphasis in this area than seniors.
  • Domestic multicultural, international, first-generation, and LIFG seniors are less likely to indicate that their experience at St. Olaf contributed to their ability to work effectively with others. Additionally, fewer domestic multicultural, first-generation, and LIFG seniors believe St. Olaf contributed significantly to their ability to understand people from different backgrounds.
  • Domestic multicultural and international students rate their overall experience at St. Olaf lower than domestic white, non-Hispanic students. Domestic multicultural seniors are additionally less likely to respond that they would choose St. Olaf again if they could start over. Low income, first-generation, and LIFG seniors are also less likely to indicate that they would choose St. Olaf again, though low income students rate their overall experience at St. Olaf much more favorably.

NSSE 2018 Data

Data – HEDS Alumni Survey: The document linked below shows selected results from the 2018 HEDS Alumni Survey, which is administered every three years to St. Olaf alumni who graduated five to six years earlier. The survey asks alumni to reflect back on the impact of their experiences at the college. In the spring of 2019, the Assessment Committee conducted additional analyses of the HEDS Alumni Survey data from 2018 focused on the decline in alumni’s self-reported development of intercultural knowledge and competence from the 2015 administration of the survey. The full HEDS Alumni Survey results for 2018 are available on the IE&A website, and the complete Spring 2019 Assessment Report to the Board of Regents (the source of the data linked below) can be found here.

Key Points – HEDS Alumni Survey:

  • There were larger decreases from 2015 to 2018 in perceived development of intercultural competence among male alumni and alumni who studied abroad at St. Olaf
  • Alumni who participated in diversity or cultural awareness workshops and those who took two or more courses focused on intercultural competence (defined in the document linked below) were more likely to report that St. Olaf contributed to their development of intercultural knowledge and competence.

HEDS Alumni Survey 2018 Data