UC-wide ‘Campus Climate’ Study To Survey Anteaters

The UCI community will be able to participate in the largest institutional study of its kind.

 

Beginning next Monday, Jan. 14, students, faculty and staff at UC Irvine will be surveyed about their academic and workplace experiences with diversity and inclusion.

UCI students, faculty and staff will be receiving emails with links to the voluntary survey, which is the first part of a system-wide UC study that hopes to collect data for research purposes and planning strategies in regards to improving campus climate and inclusion.

The survey itself was developed and is being administered by a team led by Pennsylvania State University education professor Susan Rankin, who is also a senior research associate at the Center for the Study of Higher Education, in collaboration with the UC Office of the President.

Rankin’s profile on the UCOP website describes her as having “extensive experience in institutional climate assessment and institutional climate transformation based on data-driven action and strategic planning.”  Her consulting firm, Rankin & Associates, worked with UC to develop the survey.

The steering committee also includes leading experts in diversity, inclusion, equal opportunity and outreach from the various campuses and divisions of the UC system, including UC President Mark Yudof’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion.

President Yudof created the advisory council in June 2010 to work closely with the UC Regents to address challenges in “enhancing and sustaining a tolerant, inclusive environment on each of the university’s 10 campuses.”

Fact-finding teams from the Council released a report in July 2012 that Jewish, Muslim and Arab students had “negative experiences” in regards to stereotyping and provocative rhetoric, particularly during controversial campus events. Both groups also said they thought UC administrators were biased against them in how they responded to some of these incidents.

While participation in the survey is completely voluntary and confidential, and participants do not have to answer any question except the first positioning question (staff, faculty, student), UC wants a 100 percent response rate “to hear from all community members.”

UCOP states that among these community members, it is important to reduce the number of respondents choosing “other” in their responses to prevent and minimize marginalization. Survey participants will see a long list of possible choices for many demographic questions to maintain the “intended purpose of inclusiveness” and “maximize opportunities to reach minority populations.”

The survey will continue to be administered through February to all 235,000 students and 185,000 faculty and staff. Researchers conducting the study recommended against using random sampling, as the study could miss smaller groups and there is no data on most identities, including gender identity or sexual orientation among the UC community.

The university also plans to re-administer the survey every four to five years.

All participants of the survey who complete 50 percent of the survey will be eligible for a drawing. Prizes include a $10,000 scholarship for one undergraduate student; $5,000 stipends for two graduate academic or professional students; $5,000 research grants for two faculty members; and $2,000 professional development grants for five staff. Two winners from each location will receive iPads. Winners will be notified by March 2013.