Skip to main content

Provost Persis Drell: A clear picture of who we are

Dear colleagues,

Welcome back! I hope you were able to have a restful winter break and that you feel a sense of hope and renewal as we begin the New Year. In the months ahead, as we continue to cope with the pandemic, let’s do all we can to stay safe and to support one another. The health and safety of our community members is our foremost concern.

We start the New Year with continued enthusiasm and commitment to advancing our diversity efforts. Over the last several months, we have launched new initiatives, such as the IDEAL Staff Advisory Committee, expanded training programs, the IDEAL Fellows program and the faculty cluster hires initiative. In order for Stanford to be most effective in meeting the needs of our diverse populations, we must have a clear picture of who we are. Today, I’m asking for your help with that effort – specifically, I am asking that you update or confirm your race and ethnicity information in Axess by Jan. 15, 2021.

Why I am asking you to share this information

One of our most important university-wide goals is to promote diversity and inclusion. We want to ensure that a diversity of cultures, races and ethnicities, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, beliefs, abilities, backgrounds, and identities is thriving at Stanford and that diversity of thought, experience, and approach is represented in all aspects of our education and research mission.

By understanding how each of us identifies, we are able to improve transparency about who we are and monitor our progress toward all forms of equality, including racial equality. The IDEAL Dashboard, which launched last year, allows us to see who we are today, where we’ve come in the last decade, and where we need to improve. The dashboard will be updated in February, using the most recently collected race and ethnicity information, along with data from other sources. Currently, the dashboard does not reflect the richness of the diversity of our employee community, because not everyone has self-identified. Therefore, as we implement and then measure our work, using dashboard data may give us a false sense of progress because not all of us are represented.

In addition, as a federal government contractor, Stanford University is required to request information and periodically report on the gender, race, and ethnicity of our employees. The collection of this information allows us to assess the effectiveness of our equal employment opportunity and affirmative action efforts.

At this time, we aren’t requesting information beyond race and ethnicity. Through the IDEAL initiative, Stanford will work toward developing inclusive methods of collecting and reporting on gender identity and other demographic characteristics, so that we may more fully represent the diversity of our community.

How your self-identity designation information will be used

The data may be used in representations, such as the IDEAL dashboard, that illustrate the demographics of our community. These data displays will never identify your name or other identifying characteristics. However, in cases of very small group sizes, identifying data could be deduced by some viewers. The information also will be used for analysis and reporting, as required by the federal government.

Participate between Jan. 5–15, 2021

We ask that you login to Axess to update your self-identification, specifically your race and ethnicity, between Jan. 5–15 so that we can complete the updates and enhancements to the IDEAL Dashboard by February. Note: you are able to select more than one race or ethnicity to reflect how you self-identify.

Once you log in to Axess, click on the Employee Center tab and scroll down to the Personal Information section. Here you will find the link to update your race and ethnicity status.

While providing this information is voluntary, I hope that you will choose to participate in this opportunity to self-identify. We need to better understand who we are in order to define where we are, and where we need to go, to reach our goal of creating an inclusive, accessible, diverse, and equitable university.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact [email protected].

With gratitude,

Provost Persis S. Drell