University launches campus climate survey

UC Berkeley is launching an unprecedented survey, which will query all faculty, students and staff about the campus’s climate and the extent to which they feel welcomed, valued and supported in their work, studies or research.

The survey will provide an opportunity for members of the campus community to share what they think about the campus environment and where improvements can be made.

Take the Climate Survey!

The ultimate goal of the survey is to help the university develop or change policies and programs to foster a more welcoming, inclusive and healthy campus climate. The survey began Tuesday, Feb. 5, via an email invitation. The survey also can be directly accessed on the campus website:

“We need to hear from everyone. We want to know what needs are being met as well as any areas where there are issues,” says Gibor Basri, vice chancellor for equity and inclusion. “Everyone should enjoy the best chance to succeed in their goals at the university; that is a core value for us as a university.”

All 10 campuses in the UC system are participating in the campus climate survey; some launched their surveys in fall 2012 and others in more recent months. No other university system the size of the University of California is believed to have attempted a climate survey that polls its entire campus community, says Jesse Bernal, UC interim diversity coordinator.

“UC is committed to creating a positive environment for our students, staff and faculty,” Bernal adds. “In order to do that, we need to know what the climate is like now. That’s why we’re undertaking this enormous and important survey to gather the data. We’ll be working with our campus communities to ensure the best turnout possible for the survey.”

Incentives for students, faculty, staff

As an incentive for participation, the UC Office of the President is offering a chance to win one $10,000 undergraduate student scholarship; two $5,000 stipends for graduate students, professional students, and post-docs; two $5,000 research grants for faculty; and five $2,000 professional development grants for staff. In addition, two winners from each campus location will receive iPads.

The survey takes approximately 25 minutes to complete.

Officials at UC Berkeley are also offering local prizes, including five (5) six-month parking passes for faculty or staff; 10 $100 cash awards applied to student and staff Cal 1 Cards (all student and staff cards include a debit card feature for campus and local UC Berkeley vendors); 10 pairs of Cal men’s basketball tickets; 10 pairs of Cal women’s basketball tickets; two (2) one-year memberships at the Recreational Sports Facility (RSF) for faculty or staff; four semester-long RSF memberships for faculty or staff; eight $25 RSF gift certificates for students, faculty and staff; and five pairs of Cal Performances tickets.

Data gathered from survey participants will build on information from previous campus surveys, says Basri, and help provide a broader database of information useful in assessing policy and programs.

Later this year, once all campuses have completed the survey, an outside consultant will provide summary data to all UC campuses. Summary data also will be posted online.

Study methodology

diverse group in conversation

Your campus-climate experiences? “We need to hear from everyone,” says VC Gibor Basri.   (Cathy Cockrell/NewsCenter photo)

The consultant, Susan Rankin, a Pennsylvania State University education professor with the consulting firm Rankin & Associates, has extensive experience with institutional climate assessment. Her firm has administered campus climate surveys at more than 100 colleges and universities across the country.

Rankin developed the study in close collaboration with the UC Office of the President and with senior administrators, students and faculty from all UC campuses. The survey is sponsored and funded by UCOP.

The survey has two sections. The first part involves a standard set of questions that participants on all UC campuses will be asked to answer. The second section, which must be completed to win UC Berkeley incentive prizes, contains questions developed by UC Berkeley faculty, students and staff for participants in the Berkeley campus survey only. . Each campus designed its own second section.

All participants will be asked such questions as whether they have experienced discriminatory or exclusionary behavior and whether they feel their voice matters to the campus administration. Staff questions include whether they feel supported by their manager. For students, questions include whether they have felt excluded from study groups. Faculty questions include whether they have requested a career equity review or reconsideration of a negative decision.

Confidentiality is vital to the success of campus climate research, particularly as sensitive and personal topics are discussed. Confidentiality in participating will be maintained to the highest degree permitted by the technology used. (For example, IP addresses will be stripped when the survey is submitted). Basri said the decision to use an outside consultant was made, in part, to ensure that identities of the survey takers would be confidential.