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Campus Climate Survey Preliminary Report A focus on race and

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Campus Climate Survey Preliminary Report A focus on race and Powered By Docstoc
					     Assessing Campus Climate


                 Anita Davis
                 Chris Wetzel

Public Distribution of the Presentation made to
 ACS Council of Deans on February 17, 2007
                 Rhodes College
                                           Revised 3-26-07
     Today’s Goals
   Part 1: Give historical context and survey
            construction details

   Part 2: Explain how we are using results

   Part 3: Discuss opportunities for ACS
            collaboration
    Historical Data
   President Troutt commissioned a Diversity Task Force his
    first year (1999) at Rhodes with the charge of
    investigating perceptions about and barriers to diversity
    on our campus
   Diversity Task Force was comprised of:
       Faculty members
       Student Affairs Staff
       Students
       Board of Trustee member
   Forty-two recommendations were made that continue to
    serve as a benchmark for assessing progress in the area
    of diversity on our campus
    Reacting to incidents involving
    diversity
   Use them as the impetus for change

   But what to change and how to change?

   Need to go beyond anecdote and incident
    and obtain comprehensive and systematic
    information about the campus climate
    What is Campus Climate?
   Defined as student attitudes about
       the value of diversity on campus
       particular student subgroups
       how well Rhodes addresses diversity issues

   How comfortable different subgroups feel
    in various campus contexts
    Designing the campus climate
    survey
   Summer, 2004: ad hoc committee of administrators
    (Dean of Students, Dean of Multicultural Affairs, Dean
    of Information Technology), 3 faculty (2 psychologists
    and a sociologist), and a few students who were on
    campus took it upon themselves to create a climate
    survey
   We consulted the literature on climate, collected
    surveys done at other campuses, and wrote our own
    items tailored to our campus. Over the course of 4
    meetings we reduced our pool of questions to about
    80.
   Obtained Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to
    do the campus-wide survey
      Refinement
   Fall 2004: we performed an online pilot study where we contacted 300
    students, 200 White American and 100 minority students, randomly selected.
    Our inducement was a chance to win either a $25, $50, or $100 prize. 170
    students took the survey, and they could indicate whether they would be
    interested in participating in focus groups about the campus climate and the
    survey (68 did).

   Conducted 3 focus groups composed of students intentionally chosen to be
    demographically diverse. These groups not only discussed the survey but
    also their experiences with diversity issues on campus.

   In light of the statistical analyses of the pilot survey (which revealed a host
    of interesting and surprising findings) and the focus group findings, we made
    the final modifications of the survey in spring of 2005. The survey contained
    numerical rating scales as well as open-ended, narrative responses about
    their positive and negative experiences with diversity on campus and their
    suggestions for improving the campus climate
    Survey Logistics & Details
   We encouraged our student contacts (our majors and
    student leaders) to talk up the survey a few days before
    the Dean of Students sent an email to the entire student
    body requesting participation:
      Rhodes College wants to know what the climate is among
      students on this campus. It is VERY important that you
      participate in this survey so that we can obtain a representative
      sample of students. Let your point of view be known! The survey
      takes students around 30 minutes to complete online. In order to
      partially compensate you for your efforts, you will receive a
      Middle Grounds beverage coupon as well as 5 opportunities to
      win a $100 credit at the bookstore
   Three days later we sent out a second, “prod” email to
    students who had not responded. Three days after that,
    we sent out a final email stating that the survey would
    close in 24 hours.
    Details continued
   We used Survey Monkey to deliver the survey and collect
    the data. Over 600 students participated both years
    (42% response rate).
   Student responses were anonymous the first year; in the
    second year we gave students the option to provide their
    ID# so we could link their responses to future surveys
    and to college records (70% did). This year the survey
    will automatically record their ID# unless they explicitly
    refuse permission to do so.
   The cost was dependent upon how many students
    participated, but both years it was around $2,500.
     Survey Analysis
   Because we collected a great deal of demographic data as well as
    overall satisfaction with the College:
       We can break down responses by gender, year in school, ethnicity social
        class (both self-defined and by parent’s occupation and education),
        sexual orientation, political and religious views, greek/independent
        status, sports participation, major, high school experience, etc.

       With the ID information, we can link survey responses to performance
        in school (GPA), financial aid status, admissions variables, etc.

       We can determine which climate variables relate to college retention

       We can identify strengths and weaknesses on campus in terms of
        support for and attitudes about diversity; where intolerant behaviors
        occur (in the dorms, in the classroom, at social events, etc). We can
        identify whether harassing and insensitive remarks come from students,
        faculty, or staff.
Survey analysis continued
   Because we assessed some psychological variables such as self-
    esteem, depression, stress, binge drinking, modern racism,
    awareness of privilege, guilt about social inequality, and socially
    desirable responding, we can determine how various aspects of
    the climate correlate with these variables.

   Narrative responses were obtained from questions about
    positive and negative experiences with diversity and for
    suggestions to improve the climate.
        The narrative responses provide poignant examples of the what the
         numerical data revealed

        They provide some nuance, some context to the findings

        They suggest some possible strategies for intervention and the
         individual level
Part 2

  How are we using the results
    What has happened?
   We have presented to:
       President’s staff
       Entire Faculty
       Student Affairs staff
       Student Body (this month)

   Conversations about diversity are beginning;
    problems are being acknowledged

   The need for systematic collaboration and
    coordination across campus groups has become
    more widely accepted
    What we hope will happen
   Findings can serve as a benchmark for
    measuring institutional change

   Findings can be used to inform recruitment and
    retention strategies

   Findings can identify areas of strengths and
    weaknesses and help localize where resources
    are most needed
 Part 3



Collaboration with other ACS schools
Opportunities for Collaborative Work
   These are issues confronting all campuses in the ACS

   Using a common questionnaire can give data for all
    campuses

   Can compare your campus with the average of all the
    other participating ACS schools. Having such a
    comparison can tell you whether trends or changes
    you see are unique to your campus or apply to other
    liberal arts campuses, especially those in the south.
      Some Caveats
   The campus climate survey in isolation will
    not bring about change.

   There have to be top-down and bottom-up
    efforts that meet in the middle.
Bottom Up
   Three faculty initiated the survey project on
    their own time, initially without support.

   We had many student collaborators,
    especially from student groups such as Black
    Students, Gay/Straight Alliance students, etc.
    which helped to create student “buy-in.”

   But this would have never bubbled up to
    fruition without administrative support and
    encouragement.
     Top Down
   President level:
          Commissioned Diversity Task Force; Immediately
           began addressing 6 “top” priority initiatives

          Worked with campus community and Board of
           Trustees members to revise Rhodes Vision that
           speaks to diversity in the student body and in their
           educational experience

          President Troutt’s staff is diverse in terms of
           race/ethnicity and gender
  Top Down Continued
At the Dean of the College/Provost level:
      Financial support for the Climate Survey Project on a yearly
       basis
      Provost’s willingness to “go public” with some negative results
      Provost’s prodding the college to address climate issues
      Dean’s Council created the “Commitment to Diversity”
       statement for the campus community
      Supported bringing new programs addressing diversity to
       campus (NCBI, Safe Zones)
      Supported creation and staffing of new African American Studies
       Program
Final Comments
   There has to be campus buy-in for high
    participation rates

   Importance of a multi-method and multi-
    constituency approach to developing the
    survey

   Resources have to be allocated because
    many people become frustrated with
    continued “conversations” which do not lead
    to meaningful change

				
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