2016 Campus Climate Report Planning

The original campus study was two years in the making, and started in September 2014, when then President Wendy B. Libby formed the University Task Force on Diversity and Inclusive Excellence (the Task Force), charging them to provide insight, direction and guidance for the University-wide effort to “Be a Diverse Community of Inclusive Excellence.”

Nearly two years later, that work came to fruition with the late September release of the survey results at a Town Hall meeting in DeLand and another the following day in Gulfport.

Before the town hall meetings, an executive summary of the report was posted on the university website and on the College of Law website.

Following the town hall meetings in both locations, a copy of the report was posted, and a hard copy was available through each campus library.

The Task Force began its work in 2014 by reviewing previous studies and efforts in order to understand Stetson's progress in our history of pursuing inclusive excellence.

The group saw that past efforts provided a great context of history, but seeing the importance of understanding the campus, the University engaged Rankin & Associates Consulting to guide the Stetson community in a University-wide campus climate assessment. That took place in the spring of 2015-2016. The aim was to listen carefully to the voices in our community so we could all work together to plan for the future with the aim of improving the climate for inclusivity at Stetson.

Our chief consultant at the time, Dr. Susan Rankin, is a leading national expert in campus climate assessment and action planning, and she has conducted multi-location institutional climate studies at hundreds of institutions across the country. Dr. Rankin visited Stetson in 2014 as part of the inaugural year of the Social Justice Lecture Series.

The sixteen-month engagement included focus groups, a detailed survey distributed to all University community members, an analysis of all data and a detailed report regarding the University climate on our campuses and the development of an action plan.

In Fall 2015, nearly 300 students, faculty and staff participated in twenty-three focus groups conducted by Dr. Rankin and her associates in DeLand and Gulfport.

In Spring 2016, all current students, faculty and staff were invited to participate in the survey, an opportunity to lend their voice to this important conversation. The online survey was hosted by Rankin & Associates Consulting to ensure high standards of security and confidentiality.

The results of the survey helped the university learn how students, faculty and staff experience and perceive the climate for living, learning, and working at Stetson and how our community responds to that climate (e.g. governance issues, pedagogy, curricular issues, professional development, inter-group/intra-group relations, respect issues, etc.). Importantly, this information and insight informed the work of the university in continuing to strengthen and advance inclusion. President Libby and senior leaders at the time, as well as the Task Force on Inclusion, committed themselves to using the results to plan for an improved climate at Stetson.