Letter from the President
In the previous edition of the DU Quarterly, I shared that I would focus my upcoming letters on the Fraternity’s progress in the three key elements of our current strategic plan. Last time, I offered my personal assessment of the progress made in the area of brand consistency. My focus now turns to another critical component: alignment with higher education.
As you may recall, the genesis of our current strategic plan was the 2009 President’s Task Force led by our immediate Past President, Bernard Franklin, Kansas State ’75. That group concluded that fraternities could not be truly successful without building a strong alignment with higher education professionals at campuses where our members reside. In effect, our role is to be a relevant, value-added and safe supplement to the collegiate experience. If colleges and universities do not see us living up to that fundamental premise, there is really no reason for them to support us as a recognized student organization.
Given the current, negative narrative surrounding fraternities, it is imperative that higher education (and society in general) see two important things. One is strong, accountable leadership. The other is convincing evidence that fraternity programming is positive and impactful.
As it pertains to leadership, I am encouraged with the direction of the recently revamped North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC). We have highlighted the work of the NIC team in a number of previous DU Quarterly publications. Most significantly, this new leadership team is compromised of higher education professionals who are aligned with and have the respect of their campus peers—very much like our own IHQ staff. Delta Upsilon is one of a handful of organizations most committed to the NIC and its efforts to help establish campus-wide reforms, especially at large “Power 5” campuses.
Regarding documented, positive programming results, we continue our work with the Membership Outcomes Assessment initiative. In partnership with Dyad Strategies, LLC (a research, educational assessment and strategic planning firm), each undergraduate and associate member is annually asked to complete the assessment survey. The goal is to statistically analyze the Fraternity’s impact on a member’s personal development throughout his college experience and use results to tailor educational programming and operations to members' needs. The results are then compared to national collegiate assessment data, as well as our own results from previous years. Survey questions have been specifically designed using DU’s educational learning outcomes, mission and Four Founding Principles to measure personal development.
Our undergraduate men recently took the 2018 assessment, and we will have data to share later this spring. Last year, one major takeaway was that our Loss Prevention programming has seen members’ tolerance for hazing significantly decrease, alcohol use decline, and attitudes toward sexual assault improve. Similarly, the new Associate Member Education Program saw improvement in the same three areas, as well as a number of others. While still early, this is precisely the type of data that will be critical going forward.
As Delta Upsilon looks toward the future, data-driven decision making and our relationships within higher education will continue to be a key component to our success. In the next issue of the DU Quarterly, I look forward to sharing some thoughts on the Fraternity’s progress in alumni/volunteer engagement.
E. Bruce McKinney, Missouri ’74
President, Delta Upsilon International Fraternity