This project built on previous DEI-focused work at Queens University and focused on the research questions: Are retention rates of BIPOC and Young Professional (under 40) faculty and staff different than the retention rates of the general population of faculty and staff? If so, how? If there a correlation? What impacts the retention rates of BIPOC and Young Professional faculty and staff on campus?
The following methods were used:
- Reviewed research on best practices for Employee Resource Groups.
- Held focus groups with BIPOC and YP Employee Resource Group members and leaders, senior leadership, and peers who are not persons of color or young professionals
- Conducted key informant interviews with Human Resources
- Analyzed data, including faculty/staff turnover data and HEDS DEI climate survey (retention and sense of belonging survey development in process)
Our project will improve retention and sense of belonging for BIPOC and young professional faculty and staff at Queens University (including differences in outcomes for both group leaders and group members so faculty and staff with these identities have professional development opportunities, feel supported by their peers, and want to be a part of the Queens community.
Lessons learned during this project implementation include:
- Need dedicated staff for DEI work (also consider DEI staff dedicated to employees).
- Disaggregating data poses challenges at small institutions because it can "out" someone and we need better disaggregated data to track trends for BIPOC employees and to share out to necessary stakeholders.
- Faculty and staff have different needs and paths (limited opportunity for growth for staff, particularly under 40; equity is different between faculty and staff - promotion structures impact retention; age has a higher correlation with retention, and there are various contributing factors - supervisory involvement, opportunities for advancement, salary, policies (e.g., parental leave), overall dissatisfaction).
- Need more than one faculty/staff with diverse identities to ensure belonging and prevent tokenism.
- Many BIPOC faculty/staff take on additional emotional/unpaid labor, mentoring students and junior employees that is not factored into compensation or promotion, but impact workload.
- Time is crucial! (We were ambitious... these issues are structural and longstanding.)