Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Assessment Initiative

NAfME Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Current-State Assessment Information and FAQ 

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) wants to live up to our core mission of advancing music education by promoting the understanding and making of music by all. We are seeking strategies that help our profession confront and conquer the challenges we face. NAfME has engaged Cook Ross, a diversity and inclusion consulting firm, to conduct a current-state assessment to gather and analyze qualitative and quantitative data about diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and overall culture within NAfME. We want to hear from you! Please read on for details about the initiative and how to participate. 

Frequently-Asked Questions

Q: What is a Current-State Assessment? 
A: It’s a process in which a third party (in this case, Cook Ross) comes into an organization to gather and analyze qualitative and quantitative data about diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and overall culture. The third party then shares findings and recommendations designed to help the organization be more diverse, equitable and inclusive going forward. Organizations conduct current-state assessments when they are starting out on their DEI journey and when they want to take the work to the next level. 

Q: Who is leading the current-state assessment? 
A: Cook Ross, a leader in organizational development and bias education, will be conducting the current-state assessment.  

Q: What does the assessment involve? 
A: The assessment methodology allows members and staff to share their perspectives on inclusion and diversity directly through an anonymous Questionnaire, focus groups and interviews. In addition to facilitating these, our consultants will examine the organization’s programmatic data, policy and processes. They will then identify themes, share findings and provide recommendations with NAfME leaders and the Board. 

Q: Why are we doing the assessment? 
A: The National Association for Music Education wants to live up to our core mission of advancing music education by promoting the understanding and making of music by all. We are seeking strategies that help our profession confront and conquer the challenges we face. To address these head on, we must understand the real needs of the field and overcome any conscious or unconscious biases that we may have.  

Q: What is the Focus Groups Volunteer Call for Action survey? 
A: Cook Ross will ask staff and members to volunteer for the focus groups by answering a few questions about identity markers that may apply to them (gender, race/ethnicity, age, sexual orientation etc.) as well as their location and membership function. This will allow Cook Ross to hear from people, including underrepresented individuals, who may not have had an opportunity to share from that perspective in the past. Only Cook Ross will have access to the results of this survey.  

Q: What types of Focus Groups will there be?  
A: Cook Ross will conduct both on-site focus groups and virtual WebEx conference call focus groups with the following: Advocacy Leadership Force; Collegiate; Council Chairs (band, orchestra, chorus, general, jazz, innovation); K-12 Music Educators; Higher Education/Teacher Educators; Music Education Policy Roundtable/External Stakeholders; NAfME Staff; State Leaders (a mix of Presidents and Executives, particularly from states pursuing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts).  

Q: How will Cook Ross group people within each focus group to ensure that a diverse set of voices will be heard?   
A: Cook Ross will first organize staff and members into eight focus group types that include the following: Advocacy Leadership Force; Collegiate; Council Chairs (e.g., band, orchestra, chorus, general, jazz, innovation); K-12 Music Educators; Higher Education/Teacher Educators; Music Education Policy Roundtable/External Stakeholders; NAfME Staff; and State Leaders. Then each focus group will include people who have both visible and invisible identity markers (i.e. race, gender, location, abilities, etc.) Since there are many dimensions of diversity, groups will not be homogenous. For example, a Collegiate focus group will likely have diversity of race/ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, abilities, location, etc.

Utilizing this method will help to create a safe space for individuals to share their honest thoughts and experiences. It also allows for Cook Ross consultants to see how questions are answered by one group type verses the other.  

Q: Will Cook Ross be able to speak with everyone interested in participating in the Focus Groups and are there other ways to provide input?  
A: Due to the large size of membership, Cook Ross will not be able to visit or speak with everyone in the organization or membership. However, everyone will have an opportunity to provide input in diversity, equity and inclusion matters about NAfME through the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Questionnaire, which will be distributed to members in the coming months.

Q: Who will see the results of the Focus Group analysis? 
A: Only Cook Ross will see the raw qualitative data, and all input will remain anonymous in the final report. Cook Ross does capture quotes from members, but ensures they are not attributed or able to be attributed to specific individuals. 

Q: Will there be communications to keep us abreast of the project?  
A: Yes; there will be periodic updates over the next few months to keep members, especially at the state leadership level, abreast of the project.   

Q: What is the timeline for the current-state assessment? 
A: We hope to have the research completed by summer 2019 and to receive the findings by fall/winter 2019.  

Q: How will we see the results of the findings? 
A: It’s important to us that our members partner with us on this journey over time. Members can expect to receive periodic updates on this initiative, which may include key findings from the final report.  

Q: How will the results of the assessment be used?  
A: The results of the assessment will be used in four major ways:  

  • As an important driver in the development of the next NAfME Strategic Plan;
  • As a set of data helping shape Board decisions;
  • As information that we can use to refine the way we listen to and communicate with the field;
  • As information that we can disseminate to state affiliates and to other education associations for the overall growth of the field 

Q: Who do I contact with questions about the assessment?  
A: Please contact the following:  

Mike Blakeslee (Executive Director and CEO) is the main point of contact at the national office for questions about the assessment: mikeb@nafme.org or 571-323-5891 direct line 

Paige Robnett (Project Manager) is our main point of contact at Cook Ross: paige.robnett@cookross.com or 301.329.8474 direct line