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About Demographics and Diversity

Demographics and Diversity

Demographics are an unnuanced proxy for the rich identities of our students, faculty, and staff. Further, UAIR must balance the desire for transparency in reporting with the need to protect individual privacy. Within these constraints, UAIR is working towards equity-minded data visualization and analysis in several ways:  

  1. While imperfect, we disaggregate data for reporting by currently-available demographic information to share the unique experiences of our students, faculty, and staff and to illuminate inequities experienced by marginalized groups. 

  2. We work with campus partners who collect demographic data, as advocates of richer and more nuanced data and as users of the demographic data in our internal reports, dashboards, and analyses.  

  3. We encourage decision makers to use qualitative data to compliment quantitative data when understanding, changing, and developing policies and procedures.

  4. We collaborate with staff and students on the development of public dashboards, with an eye towards data transparency, privacy, demographic data concerns, and dashboard usability.  

  5. We are active members of professional groups and organizations that work towards equity-minded data presentation and analyses in the field of institutional research and in higher education. 

Our public dashboards currently make use of three sets of demographics. These include sex and race/ethnicity groups for domestic residents as used in federal reporting, and United Nations country groups for international groups. Additonal datasets and demographics will be added as public dashboard development continues.

Small numbers and personal identification risk 

When the number of individuals in a given group is small, personal identification in reporting is a risk. UAIR currently addresses this issue in two ways:  

  • Potentially identifiable information is suppressed, and/or
  • Multiple smaller groups are aggregated into a single larger group 

Neither of these approaches are ideal and risk the erasure of unique experiences. Given the potential harm, we limit use of these techniques in our reporting to when there is risk of personal identification. What constitutes a "small number" differs by the analysis, so the number used is defined in each dashboard or report. 

At the same time, we are partnering with key campus offices to explore new demographic data that is being collected. We are determining how and when we can use the data to give a richer picture of our campus community.  

Faculty and staff, who have FERPA certification and UAIR training on data use and interpretation, can access additional demographic information on Flagship Analytics. These demographics frequently lead to very small numbers of individuals that amplify privacy concerns and are therefore only available with certification and training. 

Group aggregations 

When listing individual races and ethnicities (or gender identities or sexual orientations) is not possible due to individual privacy risks, group aggregations are sometimes used instead of suppressing the information. The names used for groupings evolve over time as our collective understanding and language shifts. 

What is listed here are the groups and aggregations currently used in UAIR public dashboards and reports.   

Race/ethnicity:  Domestic (which includes citizens and permanent residents of the U.S.) students, faculty, and staff may self-report using a single category or multiple categories from the federal Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).  

Self-report race/ethnicity options include: 

  • American Indian/Alaska Native
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
  • Black/African American
  • Hispanic/Latino
  • Asian
  • White

Following federal guidelines, If individuals choose multiple race/ethnicity categories and one is "Hispanic/Latino," they are reported as "Hispanic/Latino." All other students choosing more than one race/ethnicity category are included in "Two or more races." 

The aggregated group ALANA includes domestic individuals who identified as American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian and two or more races. 

The aggregated group URM includes domestic individuals who identified as American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and two or more races that are not Asian and White.