UCSF Community Reports Positive Work and Study Climate

UC-wide Climate Survey Highlights Strengths, Weakness for Each Campus

By Leland Kim on March 19, 2014

The majority of UC San Francisco faculty, staff and students who responded to a survey said they are “comfortable” or “very comfortable” with their work environment on campus, but there is room for improvement, according to a new systemwide study conducted by Rankin & Associates consulting firm, on behalf of the University of California. It is the first such effort by UC and is believed to be the largest institutional climate survey in the nation.

Click the image above to get comprehensive answers to your questions about the Climate Survey.

The UC project surveyed more than 104,000 students, faculty and staff about institutional climate, inclusion and work-life issues across the 10 campuses, as well as the Office of the President, five UC medical centers, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The goal was to better understand the learning, living and working environments within the UC system.

UCSF was the first UC campus to participate in the survey and had the highest response rate, at 47 percent, with results showing a high level of satisfaction with the campus work environment. These results, as well as initiatives already begun on campus, will be the main topics of discussion at this year’s Chancellor’s Annual Leadership Panel on Diversity and Inclusion, which will be held at noon on April 30, in Cole Hall.

Click the image above to find out how many people participated in the survey at UCSF.

High Level of Satisfaction

In addition to overall climate, the UCSF survey reflected positive attitudes about work-life issues and, for students and trainees, positive sentiments about their overall academic experience. Roughly 78 percent of respondents said they felt UCSF values a diverse faculty, and 85 percent said the campus values a diverse staff.

I am heartened by the positive sentiments that came out in this survey and pleased to see that some of the efforts we have already made are paying off."

Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH

Respondents also reported a welcoming classroom climate regarding gender identity and race, little difference in those ratings by gender, no difference by religion, and an inclusive LGBT environment.

“I am heartened by the positive sentiments that came out in this survey and pleased to see that some of the efforts we have already made are paying off,” said UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH. “When I became Chancellor, one of my priorities was to expand on UCSF’s long-standing institutional commitment and investment in diversity, equity and inclusion. We did that by creating an Office of Diversity and Outreach in 2010, and I personally appointed Vice Chancellor Renee Navarro, MD, PharmD, to lead that team. Her appointment underscores how important diversity is at UCSF.”

Respondents also reported a welcoming classroom climate regarding gender identity and race, little difference in those ratings by gender, no difference by religion, and an inclusive LGBT environment.

Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH

Overall, 76 percent of all respondents at UCSF were comfortable with the climate at UCSF while 9 percent were uncomfortable, according to survey results. Within individual units or departments, 72 percent were comfortable with the climate for diversity, while 13 percent reported being uncomfortable.

Likewise, 77 percent of graduate and professional students, and 73 percent of post-doctoral scholars and trainees were “satisfied” with their academic experience at UCSF. Furthermore, 81 percent of graduate and professional students, and 74 percent of post-docs and trainees reported they were “satisfied with the extent of their intellectual development since enrolling at UCSF.”

UC-wide, 79 percent of respondents were satisfied with the overall campus climate at UC, and three-quarters of respondents reported being comfortable with the climate for diversity in their work unit, academic area, or clinical setting.

Room for Improvement

The survey identified several opportunities for improvement. Ethnic minority members, for instance, felt “less comfortable” with the overall climate for diversity at UCSF and in their respective work units or classes than non-minorities.

In order to maintain excellence in research, patient care and education, we need to have a diverse set of voices at the table."

Renee Navarro, MD, PharmD

“In order to maintain excellence in research, patient care and education, we need to have a diverse set of voices at the table,” Navarro said. “Overall UCSF is supportive of having a diverse community.  We have made a concerted effort to create a holistic approach in our admissions policy, in order to attract students who bring a diverse set of life experiences. We know that having different points of view strengthens the learning environment as well as research innovation and patient care.”

In a separate section of the survey, 43 percent of all faculty members and 37 percent of all staff members said they seriously considered leaving UCSF in the past year. These numbers are consistent with systemwide rates.“In order to maintain excellence in research, patient care and education, we need to have a diverse set of voices at the table,” Navarro said. “Overall UCSF is supportive of having a diverse community.  We have made a concerted effort to create a holistic approach in our admissions policy, in order to attract students who bring a diverse set of life experiences. We know that having different points of view strengthens the learning environment as well as research innovation and patient care.”

Renee Navarro, MD, PharmD

“Our people are heavily recruited from other institutions because they are stellar in their respective fields,” Navarro said. “We are thrilled that UCSF faculty, staff, post-docs and trainees continue to have an upward trajectory in their careers. While we cannot assume that the survey response is a direct correlation to job satisfaction, it will be important to further examine the survey data in regard to both faculty and staff.”

In the category of “micro-aggressions,” 29 percent of the UCSF community said they had personally experienced “exclusionary, intimidating, offensive or hostile conduct.” Systemwide, that percentage is 24 percent.

And 12 percent of the 29 percent at UCSF felt that conduct interfered with their ability to work or learn. A higher percentage of staff reported experiencing micro-aggressions than faculty or students, and a higher percentage of ethnic and racial minorities reported experiencing this conduct as compared to non-minorities. In the category of “micro-aggressions,” 29 percent of the UCSF community said they had personally experienced “exclusionary, intimidating, offensive or hostile conduct.” System-wide, that percentage is 24 percent.

“This shows that while we have made progress, there’s still more work to be done. We have to nurture our existing internal pipeline, expand our outreach and improve our recruitment process,” Navarro said. “We will discuss the survey’s findings at the upcoming Chancellor’s Annual Leadership Panel on Diversity and Inclusion, which is scheduled on April 30.”

Steps Already Taken

UCSF already has increased integration of climate and diversity indicators into campus metrics and leadership accountability, such as the UCSF faculty climate survey in 2011 and staff engagement surveys in 2011 and 2013.  It also has increased support for mentorship, leadership development, and management training opportunities for UCSF staff. Specific steps are outlined in the list of UCSF's Ongoing and Recent Initiatives to Promote Diversity and Inclusion.

Click the image above to learn more about UCSF's ongoing and recent initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion.

Navarro said the survey was the first of two major phases. The second phase will focus on developing strategic initiatives and action plans based on the survey results. Steps are outlined in the list of UCSF's Ongoing and Recent Initiatives to Promote Diversity and Inclusion.

The complete climate survey for UCSF and all other UC campuses, laboratories and institutions can be found at the UC Office of the President website. Navarro said the survey was the first of two major phases. The second phase will focus on developing strategic initiatives and action plans based on the survey results.