Using Collaborative Crowdsourcing to Give Voice to Diverse Communities

Dennis Di Lorenzo at Campus Technology: “Universities face many critical challenges — student retention, campus safety, curriculum development priorities, alumni engagement and fundraising, and inclusion of diverse populations. In my role as dean of the New York University School of Professional Studies (NYUSPS) for the past four years, and in my prior 20 years of employment in senior-level positions within the school and at NYU, I have become intimately familiar with the complexities and the nuances of such multifaceted challenges.

For the past two years, one of our top priorities at NYUSPS has been striving to address sensitive issues regarding diversity and inclusion….

To identify and address the issues we saw arising from the shifting dynamics we were encountering in our classrooms, my team initially set about gathering feedback from NYUSPS faculty members and students through roundtable discussions. Though many individuals participated in these, we sensed that some were anxious and unwilling to fully share their experiences. We were able to initiate some productive conversations; however, we found they weren’t getting to the heart of the matter. To provide a sense of anonymity that would allow members of the NYUSPS community to express their concerns more freely, we identified a collaboration tool called POPin and utilized it to conduct a series of crowdsourcing campaigns that commenced with faculty members and then proceeded on to students.

Fostering Vital Conversations

Using POPin’s online discussion tool, we were able to scale an intimate and sensitive conversation up to include more than 4,500 students and 2,100 faculty members from a wide variety of countries, cultural and religious backgrounds, gender and sexual identities, economic classes and life stages. Because the tool’s feedback mechanism is both anonymous and interactive, the scope and quality of the conversations increased dramatically….(More)”.