Following the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, higher education institutions saw an exponential increase in technology use. At the same time, colleges and universities put a greater emphasis on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts as a result of the racial reckoning brought on by the tragic incident of May 2020 in Minneapolis.
In January 2022, Hanover Research surveyed more than 1,000 undergraduate students nationwide about their perceptions of DEI at their institutions. The findings show that there is room for improvement:
- 88% of students believe it’s critical for universities to give financing priority to initiatives and resources that aid historically underrepresented student subgroups.
- Only 66% of institutions agree that closing success gaps for student groups with limited resources is a top priority at their institutions.
- Only 69% of students concur that the faculty and staff at their institutions are diverse in terms of race and ethnicity.
The need to bolster a sense of belonging and diversification has been felt across all industries. DEI is not just a buzzword anymore. It is an issue that is particularly pertinent to the field of education and is distinctive in that it involves more than just employees. It’s crucial that students perceive DEI as a top priority at their institution or university.
For instance, it has been demonstrated that emphasizing DEI during faculty recruitment might affect a school’s student outcomes. Diversity on campus enhances critical thinking and cultural awareness. Students from historically underrepresented backgrounds can benefit from a special type of support that a diverse faculty community can provide.
As a result, technology is being leveraged to help implement and promote DEI initiatives in higher education both as a tool and as a means to achieve DEI objectives of campuses across.
- Implementing technology that promotes DEI can attract a wider range of students. Students from underrepresented groups are more likely to enroll in institutions that actively promote diversity and inclusion.
- By leveraging technology, institutions can showcase their commitment to diversity and inclusion, which can make them more attractive to diverse job candidates. Additionally, technology can be used to create inclusive hiring processes, such as using software that removes identifying information from resumes to reduce unconscious bias.
- Creating more inclusive and accessible learning environments, which can improve student success and retention would aid students from underrepresented groups who are more likely to face barriers to success. Inadequate access to technology or lack of representation in course materials – such challenges can be addressed with technologies that can improve student outcomes and retention rates. For example, using assistive technologies such as screen readers and captioning software can make course materials more accessible for students with disabilities, while incorporating diverse perspectives and voices into course content can create a more inclusive learning environment for all students.
- Tracking and analyzing data related to diversity and inclusion can offer institutions a wealth of information that identify areas for improvement and measure the impact of their DEI initiatives. This data can be used to make informed decisions related to enrollment, retention, and program development, which can ultimately lead to increased revenue for the institution.
Sanmita Admissions software takes DEI seriously
This being said, Sanmita Admissions is a leading admission software tool that was developed specifically for higher education. It not only automates recruitment and admissions but also has demographic filters that help to identify underrepresented applicants from the data collected before the application is even submitted. This is a big plus for admissions teams and a unique offering in the marketplace.
It also features the capability to streamline the processes with automated modules that are designed for each of the user groups, including a reviewer module. There are tickler/reminder systems in place, templates, rating systems, and ways to share information- or not – among other participating reviewers. This could be used to avoid biases among colleagues when rating an applicant. After admissions is complete, the software securely stores the data which makes any DEI reporting accurate and easier.
Sanmita Admissions has been very well received as it continues to add more features that make it highly customizable for any processes that the institutes follow. The ease of use, no need for IT departments to get involved, no software to download nor licensing fees nor contracts makes this software the only real automated option that exists for college and university admissions teams.
If you are managing recruitment and admissions and would like to better target applicants who meet DEI criteria along with a smooth workflow, you can always book a personalized demo.
Sanmita is an award-winning strategy, design and technology firm with over 15 years’ experience working with higher education.