About: 2011 Campus Climate Survey
Tool for Diversity Planning
A campus climate survey can be an important and helpful tool both in the assessment of the experiences of employees and students and in the development of diversity plans, policies, protocols and curriculum. Climate surveys can also provide strategic direction. Understanding how the University of Vermont community experiences workplace climate is important. Research in this area can contribute to the knowledge of discrimination, harassment, bullying, retention, sexual harassment, and other issues related to the well-being and job satisfaction of an institution. With a goal to be among the nation’s premier small research universities, UVM’s academic and administrative leadership must be willing to engage in a resolute assessment of accomplishments and challenges. This kind of self-reflection is important to change the status quo and become a more inclusive, equitable and just institution. This level of awareness can only serve to help the institution understand its community and provide a baseline for future priorities and needs.
Three Surveys: One Goal
By way of a background, the University of Vermont (UVM) attempted to provide such clarity when it conducted the 2005-2006 Campus Climate Survey that examined ways in which different groups experienced UVM, including women, persons of color, and lesbians, gays, and transgendered individuals. The steering committee for the survey, however, identified shortcomings in the project related to sample size and survey design that raised significant questions about the validity and reliability of some findings. As a result, President Daniel Mark Fogel and then-Provost John Hughes stated in a May 14, 2007 communication to the campus community, “We hereby commit the University to this kind of follow-up, to be completed no later than the end of the ’09 fiscal year, and we charge the Vice Provost for Multicultural Affairs and the Executive Director of Equity and Diversity to work together, in consultation with the presidential commissions and with us, to ensure that this mandate is carried out.” In the end, this effort was spearheaded by the then Executive Director of the Diversity and Equity Unit. Due to a variety of circumstances, the climate survey was not done by the 2009 fiscal year. Eventually, through the commitment and hard work of the Executive Director of Affirmative Action, the Presidential Commissions and several dedicated faculty and staff members three separate campus climate surveys were developed -- one for each campus constituency, i.e., faculty, staff, and students.
2011 Survey Roll Out
All three surveys were scheduled to be deployed in October of 2010. However, before that time President Daniel Mark Fogel appointed the University’s first Chief Diversity Officer in September of 2010. Among the responsibilities outlined for the position was the oversight of the university’s campus climate survey agenda. In a review of this charge, the Chief Diversity Officer chose to postpone the administration of the surveys. The decision to postpone was supported by the Presidential Commission Chairs and the President’s Senior Leadership Team. Through discussion with Presidential Commission Chairs, representatives from the Office of Institutional Studies and faculty with expertise in survey research methods, a new process was established. The new process involved a set of smaller, more focused climate surveys offered over time. The survey was rolled out in 2011.
FAQs: 2011 Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I take the survey?
You received an e-mail on April 4, 2011 from The Center for Rural Studies that has a link that will enable you to participate in the 2011 Campus Climate Survey.
What is the purpose of the campus climate survey?
The purpose of the campus climate study is to gather data on the campus community experiences on campus. The data is to help inform the university’s efforts to create a welcoming, respectful, and inclusive campus community.
What is the survey process?
Every employee will receive an e-mail invitation to the take the campus culture survey. This email will contain instructions, as well as a link to the survey. Respondents are only allowed to complete the survey once. A hard copy of the survey is available in the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, 428 Waterman Building.
What role did students, faculty and staff have in creating the campus climate survey?
Over the past 1½ years there has been a core committee of students, faculty scholars and staff with expertise in statistical analysis help to create the survey tools. The Chief Diversity Officer, Presidential Commissions, Director of Institutional Research provided feedback on the process, survey design and implementation process.
What areas will the survey focus on?
The survey solicits feedback on a broad range of topics such as discrimination, multicultural competency, personal beliefs and attitudes, sexual harassment, physical access, work/life balance and harassment and bias.
How much time will it take to complete the survey?
Prior testing of the survey indicated that it will take you approximately 25 minutes to complete. If you are unable to complete the survey after you begin, you will have the option to save your responses and access them later. The survey is a mixture of multiple choice and a couple of open ended questions. There are several demographics questions at the end of the survey (gender, age, race, ethnicity, etc).
Summary of Measures put in place to insure that your responses are confidential:
Names and e-mail addresses will be stored separately from the survey data and there will be no ability to match survey data to e-mail addresses or names. All data will be stored securely on the research team’s server. No one other than members of the research team has access to the database. Data will only be reported in aggregate form and never in a way attributable to you as an individual.
Why is my participation important?
As a student, faculty and staff member of the University of Vermont, your opinion matters. We need to hear from you in order to address concerns and reinforce successes. The higher response rates give a more accurate picture of the University. This is a great opportunity for you to share your ideas, opinions, and solutions by participating in the survey.
Who is eligible to participate in the survey?
All full and part-time Faculty and Staff as well as all undergraduate and graduate students.
Are my survey responses confidential?
Yes. We want to get honest feedback. All responses will be completely confidential.
Who will be administering the survey?
The Center for Rural Studies at the University of Vermont. It works with people and communities to address social, economic, and resource-based challenges through applied research, community outreach, program evaluation, and consulting. Please visit their website at http://www.uvm.edu/crs/
Highlights: 2011 Survey Results
Highlights of the Campus Climate Survey Results
Chief Diversity Office
• A Campus Climate Survey (CCS) was administered in Spring 2011 to faculty, staff, and students to assess the campus climate.
• The Campus Climate Survey was designed to gather information and help identify areas needing to be addressed to enable UVM to flourish as a welcoming and inclusive university for all individuals.
• All faculty, staff and students affiliated with UVM at the time of the survey were eligible to participate. Approximately 3,900 faculty and staff and 11,600 students were emailed a link to the survey. Over 1,900 faculty and staff, and over 2,700 students completed surveys.
• The survey was primarily conducted as an online survey. Paper surveys were available for anyone who preferred to complete them on paper. Surveys were also translated into three languages (Chinese, Vietnamese, and Bosnian).
• The survey’s development was supported by the Presidential Commissions, coordinated by the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), and administered by the Center for Rural Studies at UVM.
Some Key Findings:
• 78% of faculty, 84% of staff, and 86% of students are satisfied with their UVM experience.
• Students, especially, feel a sense of respect from other students (90%), faculty (93%), and staff (92%). On the other hand, 63% of faculty and 67% of staff believe that senior administrators treat them with respect.
• Very few faculty, staff or students reported having been sexually harassed in the past year; however, a significant minority of faculty, staff and students has reported experiencing bias and/or discrimination during their time at UVM.
• Faculty and staff of color and LGBT faculty and staff are twice as likely to report having experienced sexual harassment as their peers. Female students are twice as likely as male counterparts to report having experienced sexual harassment. Faculty and staff of color and LGBT faculty and staff are also more likely to report having experienced bias. Faculty are more likely than staff to report having experienced discrimination, and older faculty and staff are more likely to report having experienced discrimination than their younger peers.
• A significant minority of faculty, staff, and students report having observed or experienced discriminatory or disparaging remarks.
Some Key Findings
• Among students, 1st & 2nd year students often have different experiences than upper class undergraduates and graduate students.
• The prevalence of disparaging and insulting remarks and the low ratings of adherence to Our Common Ground taken together suggest a general lack of civility, perceived most acutely by faculty and staff, especially those in underrepresented categories (such as non-white and LGBT).
• The CCS results revealed a number of positive sentiments by the university community and also identified a number of areas needing improvement.
• Satisfaction with the overall UVM experience is high among faculty, staff and students; faculty, staff and students also feel that UVM is an inclusive place to work and study. 78% of faculty, 84% of staff, and 86% of students are satisfied with their UVM experience.
The completion of the CCS is only the first step towards achieving our goal of building a diverse, globally aware, and welcoming university community.
• Share the results of the campus climate survey with the campus community.
UPDATE: Fall 2011 and Spring of 2012, presented results to the Presidential Commissions, Board of Trustees, and Administrators of Senior Leadership.
• Conduct focus groups to address the areas where there were contradictory findings in the CCS.
UPDATE: Spring of 2012, focus groups conducted by Drs. Lynne Bond (Psychology) and Judith Aiken (Education). The CDO will use the results of the focus group to make further recommendations to the President and Board of Trustees, Fall 2012. Focus group results are available at
• Develop a comprehensive diversity assessment plan.
UPDATE: Summer of 2012, a group consisting of individuals who have responsibility for assessment and who need benchmarking data shared ideas on focus areas to the CDO to help develop strategies for future assessments. The CDO will work with the Director of Institutional Studies to develop and present a comprehensive diversity assessment plan to the President and Board of Trustees, Fall 2012.
• Develop a comprehensive diversity professional development program for students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
UPDATE: Summer of 2012, The Chief Diversity Officer formed a workgroup consisting of individuals who are responsible for professional development opportunities for students, staff, faculty, and administrators worked during the summer to compile a list of best practices, models, opportunities, and challenges to present to the President, Provost, and Board of Trustees, Fall 2012.