UCSF to Conduct Online Survey to Assess Campus Experience Relating to Respect, Diversity and Inclusion

Faculty, Staff, Students Can Take Campus Survey Beginning November 5

By Lisa Cisneros

Beginning November 5, UCSF will join the University of California system to survey all faculty, staff, students and trainees about their experiences with campus climate relating to respect, diversity and inclusion.

The entire UC system, including all 10 campuses, the UC Office of the President, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Agriculture & Natural Resources, is conducting what is believed to be the largest institutional survey of its kind to collect data related to campus life experiences and the University environment.

The results will be used to enhance the atmosphere of inclusiveness, appreciation of diversity and respect at every UC campus and location across the statewide system. Concerns about campus climate and civility came into focus at UC during the past two years after a series of highly charged racial, religious and cultural incidents at some UC campuses.

"Each of our campuses is committed to promoting and defending a learning environment that values and supports each student, faculty and staff member in an atmosphere that is open, civil, fair, caring and respectful," said UC President Mark Yudof at the time. "These values are enshrined in the 'Principles of Community' each campus adheres to and that clearly outline our expectations for behavior on our campuses. We expect that all members of our university community, including our visitors, will be respectful of differing views, opinions, experiences, and background."

Members of the UC community can find details about the confidential online survey — including how it is being administered and how results will be used — at a new campus climate website created by UC's Office of the President. 

The survey will be administered on a location-by-location basis from November 2012 through February 2013. The survey project is funded by the UC President's Initiative Fund, an endowment for special projects. No tuition or taxpayer dollars are being used. The University plans to re-administer this survey every four years, depending on resources.

UCSF will conduct its online survey beginning Monday, Nov. 5 through Monday, Nov. 19. Once completed, the survey is expected to provide the first comprehensive, systemwide assessment of campus climate at UC. Final survey data will be available sometime in spring 2013.

Fostering a Culture of Inclusiveness

Survey results will provide UC with a view of each location as well as an overview of the system.  It will help focus campuses on what is going well and where improvement initiatives are necessary. Working in collaboration with UC President Yudof's Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion, as well as with other campus committees, the goal is to foster a culture of inclusiveness for an enriched educational and work environment. 

To help with the survey, UC retained the consulting services of Sue Rankin, a faculty member in education policy studies and college student affairs at Pennsylvania State University and a senior research associate at the Center for the Study of Higher Education. Rankin and her firm, Rankin & Associates Consulting, has extensive experience in institutional climate assessment and institutional climate transformation based on data-driven action and strategic planning. She has conducted multi-location institutional climate studies at other university systems across the country.

Rankin defines climate as the “current attitudes, behaviors and standards of faculty, staff, administrators and students concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities and potential.”

The framework of the UC survey is grounded in Rankin’s social science research. [PDF]

It’s important that a broad cross section of the UC community participate — the more people who take the survey, the better the results.

"UC is committed to creating a positive environment for our students, staff and faculty," said UC Interim Diversity Coordinator Jesse Bernal.

To encourage participation, survey takers who answer at least half of the questions in the 20- to 30-minute survey will be entered automatically into a random drawing for prizes.

Systemwide, two graduate academic or professional students/postdocs/trainees will receive $5,000 stipends, two faculty members will receive $5,000 research grants and five staff members will receive $2,000 professional development grants. Each location also will give away iPads to two survey participants.

Harry Mok, principal editor at the UC Office of the President, contributed to this report.