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Campus Climate Surveys

Summary Report of Campus Climate Surveys 2002, 2009, 2010 (Download PDF)

March 2011

Background Information

UMD seeks to create a campus climate that values and supports the educational and employment goals of its members and to advance the social justice values of diversity, equity and inclusion. An important step in achieving these goals is to assess the campus climate. In 2002, UMD campus members were asked to complete a climate survey designed by Prof. Sue Rankin of Penn State University and administered by Ms. Angie Nichols. This survey was also used in the 2009 Climate Survey.

In spring 2010, a racist, homophobic incident (Facebook) occurred on campus prompting increased awareness and discussion about the campus climate for UMD students and employees, particularly for individuals of color. In fall 2010, UMD students of color (undergraduate and graduate students, U.S. and naturalized citizens and international) were asked to complete a climate survey to collect more information because there were too few responses from students of color in the 2009 survey. The questions in the 2010 survey comprised a subset of the earlier survey.

The second part of the 2010 assessment was a series of focus groups with students of color. Results from this series are currently being analyzed and will be posted on this website later in spring 2011.

The Co-Chairs of the UMD Campus Change Team (CCT), Susana Pelayo-Woodward and Bilin Tsai, have prepared this summary with assistance from Prof. John Arthur and Dr. Giljae Lee to communicate some of the results from the three surveys to the UMD community. The discussions and recommendations of the CCT will be informed by these results. In addition, future climate surveys will be conducted.

Eight tables of survey data and comments by the Co-Chairs are provided below:

I. Demographics of Survey Respondents Table 1
II. Campus Climate Questions Tables 2-4
III. Being Harassed or Observing Conduct that Undermines the Campus Climate Tables 5-7
IV. Respondents’ Extent of Contact with Members of Other Groups Table 8

 

Comments by Co-Chairs of the Campus Change Team (shown in italics in this summary)

The surveys reveal improvements from 2002 to 2010 in perceptions about campus leadership fostering diversity, curricular inclusiveness and the classroom climate. However, more needs to be done to create a campus climate that values and supports all members of the UMD community and advances diversity, equity and inclusion.

Based on these surveys, the focus of future work to create an inclusive campus climate must address the

  • Bias against persons based on race, ethnicity and religious beliefs,
  • Unwelcoming climate for students of color in classrooms, public campus spaces and the resident halls,
  • Need for more courses that promote knowledge and competence across diverse cultures,
  • Creation of campus-wide programs on understanding and valuing difference, with particularly emphasis on educational and developmental programs for students and resident assistants.

I. Demographics of Survey Respondents

This table includes information about the groups and number of individuals who were invited to fill out the survey, how many completed the survey, and the profile of the respondents.

Table 1: Demographics of Survey Respondents

  2002 2009 2010
Target population UMD faculty, staff, and all underrepresented students (international students, students with disability or self identify as student of color). Sample of all undergrad and grad students. UMD students, faculty, and staff. UMD undergraduate and graduate students of color.
Potential responses 2780 @ 10,000 @ 1,000
Survey Anonymous, online or mail survey Anonymous, online survey Anonymous, online survey Focus groups
Actual responses 444 (16% response) 934 (@10%) 228 (@23%)
Profile of Respondents (includes some no responses) 179 students (40%)
87 faculty (20%)
178 staff (40%)
557 students (60%)
137 faculty (15%)
220 staff (24%)
228 students (100%)
Racial/Ethnic Profile of Respondents (percentages do not sum to 100 because respondents were instructed to indicate all categories that apply.) 10 African Am (2%)
33 Asian Am (7%)
19 Middle Eastern (4%)
18 American Indian (4%)
16 Latino/Chicano (3%)
373 Caucasian (80%)
17 African Am (2%)
43 Asian Am (5%)
10 Middle Eastern (1%)
40 American Indian (4%)
19 Latino/Chicano (2%)
836 Caucasian (90%)
42 African Am (15%)
118 Asian Am (41%)
5 Middle Eastern (2%)
42 American Indian (15%)
27 Latino/Chicano (9%)
51 Caucasian (18%)

 

II. Campus Climate Questions

These four statements focus on university leadership, curricular inclusiveness, classroom climate and workplace climate. Note that 84%-90% of the respondents in 2002 and 2009 were Caucasian. The 2010 survey was administered to students of color after the spring 2010 racist and homophobic Facebook incident which resulted in increased awareness and discussion of the campus climate. These results provide a foundation for university efforts to embed the social justice values of diversity, equity and inclusion into the institutional culture.

From 2002 to 2010, survey data show increased agreement that administration leadership with respect to diversity, curricular inclusiveness and the classroom climate for underrepresented students has improved.


Table 2: General Questions

Survey Item 2002 2009 2010
  Agree or Strongly Agree Agree or Strongly Agree Agree or Strongly Agree
The university has visible leadership from the administration who foster diversity. 23% 52% (50%) 57%
The curriculum adequately represents contributions of underrepresented groups. 21% 50% (58%) 50%
The classroom climate is welcoming for students from underrepresented groups. 16% 61% (74%) 58%
The workplace is welcoming for employees from underrepresented groups. 10% 61% (60%) NA

*Percentages in parentheses represent student only responses

 

Table 3: Evaluation of Campus Climate

While respondents perceive the campus as friendly, respectful and cooperative, more than half would not characterize the climate as concerned or non-racist.

Survey Item 2002 2009 2010
Please rate the campus climate in general Agree or Strongly Agree Agree or Strongly Agree Agree or Strongly Agree
Friendly 79% 77% 72%
Communicative 53% 59% 62%
Concerned 50% 49% 42%
Respectful 68% 65% 71%
Cooperative 65% 63% 68%
Improving 51% 44% 54%
Non-Racist 55% 47% 42%

 

In Table 4, only two out of the six issues in the earlier surveys were included in the 2010 survey. Over an eight year period, respondents continue to feel that UMD should do more to address issues related to race or racism and religious beliefs or religious harassment.

Table 4: University Responsiveness to Campus Climate Issues

Survey Item 2002 2009 2010
The University thoroughly addresses campus issues related to Agree or Strongly Agree Agree or Strongly Agree Agree or Strongly Agree
Race or racism 60% 55% 52%
Gender or sexism 59% 56% NA
Sexual Orientation or heterosexism/homophobia 57% 57% NA
Age or ageism 38% 37% NA
Disabilities 64% 61% NA
Religious beliefs or religious harassment 49% 46% 40%

 

III. Being Harassed or Observing Conduct that Undermines the Campus Climate

This set of survey questions (Tables 5-7) asks respondents about being a victim of harassment, hearing insensitive or disparaging remarks, and observing conduct that creates a hostile environment. In addition, respondents identified the cause that s/he felt prompted the action, the location of the action, and the status of the person responsible.

Table 5 shows that between 2002 and 2010, the percentage of respondents who personally experienced harassment stayed the same. Respondents to questions 3a-3h report that specific reasons of bias decreased among all types of bias except race, religious beliefs and ethnicity. The most frequent locations of harassment were classroom, public spaces on campus, and campus hallways and walkways.

Table 5: Respondent Personal Experience of Being Harassed

Survey Item 2002 2009 2010
1. Have you personally experienced harassment (any conduct that has interfered unreasonably with your ability to work or learn) on this campus? Yes: 21% Yes: 21% Yes: 19%
       
2. In what form was this conduct?      
a. Derogatory remarks 78% 68% (68%)* 61%
b. Written comments 16% 17% (17%) 22%
c. Anonymous phone calls 5.2% 2% (1%) 3.4%
d. Unsolicited emails 7.2% 2% (2%) 0.0%
e. Graffiti 6.2% 4% (4%) 8.5%
f. Threats of physical violence 6.2% 5% (5%) 1.7%
g. Actual physical assault or injury 1.0% 3% (3%) 3.4%
       
3. Do you feel that this conduct was due to      
a. Race 27% 12% (11%) 45%
b. Gender 53% 30% (31%) 7.5%
c. Sexual orientation 8.2% 8% (7%) 2.2%
d. Age 22% 13% (14%) 6.5%
e. Disability 9.3% 4% (3%) 1.1%
f. Religious beliefs 7.2% 11% (11%) 9.7%
g. Ethnicity 9.3% 8% (6%) 25%
h. Other 6.5% 15% (15%) 3.2%
       
4. Where did this conduct occur?      
a. Classroom 29% 19% (22%) 28%
b. Residence hall 10% 10% (11%) 15%
c. Campus office 26% 12% (10%) 4%
d. Public space on campus 33% 18% (18%) 22%
e. While working at a College/University job 41% 18% (16%) 8%
f. While walking on campus 27% 15% (16%) 24%
g. Campus event 9.0% 7% (8%) 5%
       
5. Who was the source of this conduct?      
a. Student 46% 36% (36%) 26%
b. Faculty 45% 25% (25%) 14%
c. Teaching assistant 4.1% 3% (2%) 4%
d. Resident assistant 0.0% 2% (2%) 20%
e. Administrator 22% 12% (11%) 7%
f. Staff member 23% 15% (15%) 22%
g. Campus police 2.1% 3% (3%) 5%
h. Don’t know 6.2% 5% (6%) 3%

*Percentages in parentheses include only student respondents.

Percentages in Table 5 are out of respondents who answered “Yes” to Item 1.

 

In Table 6, only four out of the nine questions were included in the 2010 survey. In 2002 and 2009 the question about hearing staff, faculty or teaching assistants make insensitive remarks or disparaging remarks was asked separately. In 2010 the same question grouped faculty, staff, and teaching assistants into one category.

In survey items 1a. and 1b., more than two-thirds of the respondents in 2010 reported that they have heard other students make insensitive or disparaging remarks about racial and ethnic minorities, non-native speakers and people of different religious beliefs.

Table 6: Prevalence of Overhearing Insensitive or Disparaging Remarks

Survey Item 2002 2009 2010
1. Within the past year have you heard a student make insensitive or disparaging remarks about….      
a. Racial minorities 47% 55% 69%
b. Ethnic minority 47% 52% 67%
c. Non-native speaker 50% 52% 60%
d. Different Religion 38% 45% 56%
e. Women 58% 61% NA
f. Men 50% 50% NA
g. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people 58% 59% NA
h. Persons with disabilities 32% 35% NA
i. Older or younger persons 42% 44% NA
       
2. Within the past year have you heard a staff member, faculty, or teaching assistant make insensitive or disparaging remarks about… Staff Faculty TA Staff Faculty TA Staff, Faculty and TA
a. Racial minorities 25% 19% 14% 16% 14% 10% 26%
b. Ethnic minority 22% 18% 15% 15% 14% 10% 25%
c. Non-native speaker 23% 19% 18% 19% 14% 11% 19%
d. Different Religion 20% 18% 13% 14% 13% 9% 19%
e. Women 34% 31% 18% 23% 23% 10% NA
f. Men 30% 23% 18% 21% 16% 10% NA
g. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people 23% 18% 16% 16% 14% 10% NA
h. Persons with disabilities 14% 15% 13% 10% 8% 8% NA
i. Older or younger persons 24% 21% 18% 19% 16% 10% NA
       
3. Within the past year have you heard an administrator make insensitive or disparaging remarks about      
a. Racial minorities 12% 9% 10%
b. Ethnic minority 10% 8% 11%
c. Non-native speaker 10% 7% 9%
d. Different Religion 10% 7% 7%
e. Women 15% 13% NA
f. Men 12% 9% NA
g. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people 13% 7% NA
h. Persons with disabilities 11% 6% NA
i. Older or younger persons 14% 11% NA

 

Table 7 shows that in 2010, one-third of the respondents observed conduct that creates a hostile campus climate and the most common form of the observed conduct was derogatory remarks. In addition, respondents reported that the predominant source of conduct continued to be by students/student groups (71%) while hostile conduct by members of all other groups decreased from 2002 to 2010. The classroom and public campus spaces were the most frequent locations of these observations.

Table 7: Observations of Conduct that Creates an Offensive, Hostile and Intimidating Working or Learning Environment.

Survey Item 2002 2009 2010
1. Have you observed any conduct on this campus that you feel has created an offensive, hostile, intimidating working or learning environment? Yes: 27% Yes: 34% Yes: 32%
       
2. In what form was this observed conduct?      
a. Derogatory remarks 79% 63% 60%
b. Written comments 24% 17% 25%
c. Anonymous phone calls NA 1% 1%
d. Publications on campus 11% NA NA
e. Unsolicited e-mails 10% 3% 2%
f. Graffiti 12% 9% 6.5%
g. Threads of physical violence 11% 6% 5%
h. Actual physical assault or injury 4% 2% 1%
       
3. Do you feel that the observed conduct created an offensive, hostile, or intimidating working or learning environment for persons of a different…      
a. Race 40% 18% 35%
b. Genders 52% 23% 12%
c. Sexual Orientations 37% 16% 15%
d. Ages 15% 6% 4%
e. Abilities 26% 9% 8%
f. Religious beliefs 18% 13% 7%
g. Ethnicities 27% 10% 19%
h. Other 23% 6% 0.5%
       
4. Where did this observed conduct take place?      
a. In a classroom 28% 20% 23%
b. In a resident hall 17% 11% 21%
c. In a campus office 43% 16% 5%
d. In a public space on campus 40% 42% 36%
e. Campus Event 16% NA 8%
f. Other NA NA 7%
       
5. Who was the source of the observed conduct?      
a. Student/student group 55% 39% 71%
b. Faculty member 24% 21% 5%
c. Teaching assistant 2% 3% 1%
d. Resident assistant 3% 1% 1%
e. Administrator 18% 10% 1%
f. Staff member 24% 15% 3%
g. Campus police 4% 3% 2%
h. Don’t know 13% 7% 14%

Percentages in Table 7 are out of respondents who answered “Yes” to Item 1.

 

IV. Respondents’ Extent of Contact with Members of Other Groups

This question probes the amount of contact respondents have with individuals who are different from themselves with respect to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, native-English speaker, religion.

Table 8: Respondents’ Extent of Contact with Members of Other Groups

Survey Item 2002 2009 2010
How much contact to you have with None to Slight None to Slight None to Slight
African-Americans 41% 38% 28%
American Indians/Alaskan Natives 44% 54% 57%
Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders 42% 43% 28%
Chicanos/Hispanics/Latinos 59% 58% 48%
Middle Easterner 63% 62% 52%
Openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender 43% 35% NA
Persons with disabilities 40% 50% NA
Non-native English speakers 46% 44% 35%
Persons with religious backgrounds other than your own 11% 12% 13%

 

Download the PDF to print the full report.

 

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