The University of New Mexico’s Division for Equity and Inclusion (DEI) recently released the second survey in a series of three to be administered during the 2022-2023 academic year that includes faculty, staff and students designed to gather information about the campus climate of the UNM’s main, School of Law, and branch campuses including Gallup, Los Alamos, Taos, and Valencia. The UNM Health Sciences Center will participate in the UNM climate surveys during Fall 2023.
Campus climate is defined by Rankin & Reason (2018) as the “current attitudes, behaviors and standards of faculty, staff, administrators, and students concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities, and potential.” Information gathered from faculty, staff, and students will be analyzed and used to identify experiences with UNM’s campus climate including perceptions of institutional commitment and inclusive and equitable treatment, departmental norms, intergroup interactions, and discrimination. The findings from this research project will reveal perceptions concerning belonging, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“The UNM Campus Climate Surveys will provide an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the experiences of UNM faculty, staff, and students across our campuses, so we can work collectively to improve campus climate and culture for all,” said Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Assata Zerai, who is the project’s Principal Investigator. “To accomplish that goal, the University seeks to facilitate, sustain, and advance a culture that supports equity, inclusion, and community by fostering dialogue, respect, and personal growth that represents the full diversity of the UNM community.”
DEI is working with the UNM President’s leadership team, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and other partners to address these goals by engaging in several initiatives to create diverse and inclusive climates in units and enhance our students’ academic success and sense of belonging.
Co-Principal Investigators include Professor Teresa Neely (College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences), Ms. Mónica Jenrette (Division for Equity and Inclusion) and Ms. Brandi Stone (Student Affairs).
Dr. Zerai noted that UNM began the process of developing the survey in 2020, on the basis of the University of Michigan’s climate survey, which has been scientifically validated. A number of higher education institutions across the U.S. are using this survey to assess campus climate. Consistent with UNM 2040 objectives, the UNM campus climate survey utilizes an equity and inclusion lens designed to expand opportunity; cultivate potential of students, faculty, and staff at UNM; create new knowledge; and provide service by leveraging UNM’s assets as a highly research-intensive university, centering the community wealth of the peoples of New Mexico and beyond, by valuing all voices.
The first survey was sent to faculty in November 2022. It ended in December 2022. The second was delivered to staff inboxes this week. It concludes in February while the third in the series, a student survey, will be administered March-April 2023. Results of the surveys will be shared with the UNM community during the Fall 2023 semester. Qualtrics software is being used to administer the survey. Zerai noted that each survey including slight customizations to address target populations. Furthermore, faculty, staff, and student surveys will be administered to HSC employees and learners in fall 2023.
There are two necessary but not sufficient ingredients to achieving inclusive climates and culture change, including diversifying faculty, students, and staff; and educating colleagues to be better peers, mentors and supervisors to employees and students, says Zerai.
“Research shows the increasing importance of institutional climate surveys for promoting academic and scholarly success,” Zerai said. “Campus-wide climate surveys can be effective tools because they provide data that can establish benchmarks for the improvement of campus climate, promoting positive attitudes, instilling desirable behaviors, and planning for structural change. These data are critical in UNM’s ability to design appropriate interventions and enhance inclusive climate.”
Dr. Zerai provided this important caveat. Responses to the survey are confidential. Participants’ responses will not be connected to their names in any way. In quantitative reports, researchers will anonymize and report aggregate results in order to protect confidentiality.
Furthermore, Qualtrics software is being used to administer the survey which will be analyzed in SPSS.
The Campus Climate Survey is sponsored by UNM’s Division for Equity and Inclusion (DEI).
For more information, visit Campus Climate Survey.