Campus Climate Report FAQ's
Researchers define university climate as "the current attitudes, behaviors, standards and practices of employees and students of an institution." The climate is often shared through personal experiences, perceptions and instructional efforts.
Positive personal experiences with university climate and positive perceptions of university climate generally equate to successful outcomes. Example successful outcomes include positive educational experiences and healthy identity development for students, productivity and sense of value for faculty and staff, and overall well-being for all.
This is the second Climate survey Stetson University has conducted and is a follow up, a measurement of movement, to the original student conducted in 2016. That first study originated with interested students, faculty and staff who believed data from such a survey might be useful in planning for the future and improving the climate at Stetson.
The 2019-2020 survey was implemented by Pryor Education Insights, a national research agency with deep experience in higher education. Founder John Pryor directed the largest and longest running study of higher education in the United States: the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) for eight years. He also established the office of Student Affairs Planning, Evaluation and Research at Dartmouth College, using the CIRP and other national surveys as well as local surveys he created, to examine the student experience at Dartmouth.
In reviewing efforts by other universities to conduct comprehensive climate studies, several best practices were identified. One was the need for external expertise in survey administration. The administration of a survey relating to a very sensitive subject such as campus climate is likely to yield higher response rates and provide more credible findings if led by an independent, outside agency. Members of a university community may feel particularly inhibited to respond honestly to a survey administered by their own institution for fear of retaliation.
The consultant has administered climate assessments to many institutions and worked directly with the university’s office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness to develop this year’s survey and analyze the results.
It is important in campus climate research for survey participants to "see" themselves in response choices to prevent "othering" an individual or an individual's characteristics. Some researchers maintain that assigning someone to the status of "other" is a form of marginalization and should be minimized, particularly in campus climate research which has an intended purpose of inclusiveness. Along these lines, survey respondents will see a long list of possible choices for many demographic questions. However, it is reasonably impossible to include every possible choice to every question, but the goal is to reduce the number of respondents who must choose "other."
The primary investigator from Stetson for the IRB process is Angela Henderson, executive director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness. An IRB application was submitted, and approved, for the project.
Although the committee believes the survey process itself is informative, the data will be used to plan for an improved climate at Stetson. All stakeholders — faculty, staff and students — will be invited to participate in the development of post-survey action initiatives.
Target participation in the survey is all students, faculty and staff at Stetson. Every response matters and is valuable in providing the most beneficial feedback and results. The response rate for this survey was 35%. The 2016 survey was 26%.
Confidentiality is vital to the success of campus climate research, particularly as sensitive and personal topics are discussed. While the survey cannot guarantee complete confidentiality because of the nature of multiple demographic questions, the consultant will take multiple precautionary measures to enhance individual confidentiality and de-identify the data. No data already protected through regulation or policy (e.g., Social Security number, campus identification number, medical information) is obtained through the survey. In the event of any publication or presentation resulting from the assessment, no personally identifiable information will be shared.
Confidentiality in participating will be maintained to the highest degree permitted by the technology used.
Participation in the survey is voluntary, and participants do not have to answer any question — except the first positioning question (staff, faculty) — and can skip any other questions they consider to be uncomfortable.
The consultant will provide a final report that will include: an executive summary; a report narrative of the findings based on cross tabulations selected by the consultant; frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations of quantitative data; and content analysis of the textual data. The reports provide high-level summaries of the findings and will identify themes found in the data. Generalizations for populations are limited to those groups or subgroups with high response rates.
The data from online participants was submitted to a secure server hosted by the consultant. The survey is run on a firewalled web server. Pryor Education Insights will have access to the raw data. The researcher will provide Stetson with an aggregated data file at the completion of the project.
The survey will be administered to all faculty, staff and students at Stetson in DeLand and at the College of Law. Climate exists in micro-climates, so creating opportunities to maximize participation is important as well as maximizing opportunities to reach minority populations. Along these lines, not using random sampling ensures the university doesn’t “miss” particular populations where numbers are small. Since the goal of the project is inclusiveness and allowing invisible “voices” to be heard, this sampling technique is not used.
Thursday, Sept. 17, 4 - 5:30 p.m. – John Pryor open forum, DeLand
Tuesday, Sept. 22, 5 - 6:30 p.m. – John Pryor open forum, College of Law
Sept. 1 - 28 – Information and community feedback, DeLand and College of Law, provide thoughts and suggestions
Week of Sept. 28 – Decision on the subgroups, decisions by Cabinet with feedback from Equity and Inclusion Group, College of Law Diversity & Inclusion, Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence and general community
Oct. 5 - 16 – Subgroups sign up and recruitment
Oct. 26, 2020 - Feb. 26, 2021 – Subgroups work
Monday, Nov. 30 – Status reports due, review of interim reports by the working groups, Equity and Inclusion Group, College of Law Diversity &Inclusion and President’s cabinet
Monday, Dec. 14 – Status report released by Diversity & Inclusion leadership team
Monday, Mar. 1, 2021 – Final reports due including goals with measurable outcomes
April 2021 – Final report with goals and structure for Diversity and Inclusion work moving forward