Report of the Diversity Subcommittee

Winter Policy Council Meeting, January 2005

Submitted by Deborah Campbell and Peter Hovmand

Presented by Roberta Spencer



The Diversity Subcommittee was formed by the Policy Council in summer 2004 at the Oxford conference.  Its members are Deborah Campbell, Peter Hovmand, Roberta Spencer, Deborah Andersen, Rohita Singh, and Nicholas Georgantzas.


The subcommittee took two actions during the fall.  First, we implemented a voluntary survey to collect initial diversity information about our members.  This survey was linked with the membership drive.  As a result, we had limited time to develop it, so it was designed as a starting point.  Through the survey, we collected information on gender, age, and, if a student, what type of degree was being pursued.  Several members raised issues about how diversity was being conceptualized.  Although we discussed including other dimensions such as language, race, field of focus, to name just a few, we felt that (1) we needed more time to develop a comprehensive and more meaningful survey, and (2) having some survey data would help us design a more appropriate survey for the following year. As of January 25, we have received 314 surveys out of 578 memberships (a 54% response rate). Of the 314 surveys, 81 were completed online and 233 were either mailed in or faxed in. We intend to broaden the information we collect and monitor membership as we clarify and define the SDS strategy. 


The second action was to begin work on our diversity plan, which will include our recommendation for how the SDS should conceptualize diversity with respect to membership and plans for future surveys. We plan to present it at the Boston Policy Council meeting in July.