UMass Amherst YouMass People Finder
Community, Diversity and Social Justice (CDSJ)

More About CDSJ

The CDSJ Initiative is a long term, campus-wide institutional change process whose primary goal is to create a more inclusive and equitable teaching, learning, working and living community here at UMass Amherst.

For more than two decades, central offices at UMass Amherst have collected extensive data about undergraduates and their experiences on the campus, especially regarding social climate. Efforts to make changes based on this information often ran into difficulties, however, because key departments and individuals often didn't see the data as important since they hadn't had a hand in collecting it and thus didn't "own" it. To address this ownership issue, the CDSJ Initiative deliberately uses a model in which local teams in each of the five administrative or "executive areas" collect local CDSJ assessment data. The expectation is that "ownership" of the assessment results by executive areas will lead to local initiatives which address local shortcomings.

A campus-wide University CDSJ Team provides coordination, support and resources for this large scale, long term change effort. Each executive area on the campus (Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Administration and Finance, University Advancement and the Chancellor's Area) formed their own CDSJ teams in 2000 and 2001. Examination of the organizational chart of the campus details the five executive areas and what campus offices and departments fall within each of them.

Efforts have been made to make each team diverse, not only by social group membership, but also by roles its members play within the institution. Currently over 150 students, staff and faculty serve on CDSJ Teams throughout the campus.

Each of the five executive area teams is currently disseminating assessment results, and developing analyses which highlight strengths and areas of needed improvement. More specific information can be found on the Teams page. Focusing on the needed improvements, each executive area and the organizational units within them are currently developing change goals and specific change plans for meeting them which emphasize measurable results.

Since the five executive areas all vary with regard to size and their organizational cultures, this process has taken somewhat different forms in each of the executive areas and operates on different timelines. For example, in the two largest executive areas, Administration and Finance and Academic Affairs, a two-tiered system of teams is being utilized. In time, each executive area will perform a second cycle of CDSJ assessment, some as early as this coming spring, to see which CDSJ areas have improved and which still need more attention.