RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The University of California Office of the President has released the results of the first-ever UC systemwide Campus Climate Survey, which includes reports on the UC system as a whole, the 10 individual campuses and three external facilities. The reports were released on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 following a presentation to the UC Regents.
More than three years in the making, the report details the results of what is believed to be the largest, most comprehensive campus climate survey ever undertaken.
“This survey was unique because of its massive scale,” explained Yolanda Moses, associate vice chancellor for Diversity, Excellence and Equity, professor of anthropology and chair of the Campus Climate and Community Committee, which oversaw the distribution of the survey at UCR. “It gives us a snapshot of what we are doing right and what we can improve on, both at a campus level and system-wide.”
Overall, the news is good, as 79% of respondents said they were satisfied with the overall climate at UC, while 75% said they were comfortable with the climate for diversity in their work unit, academic area or clinical setting. Rankin & Associates Consulting, which conducted the survey, said in their report that “the findings for the University of California are consistent with those found in higher education institutions across the country.
At UCR, 4,443 surveys were returned for an 18% response rate. Of that total, 73% of respondents said they were comfortable or very comfortable at UCR, while 9% responded they were uncomfortable or very uncomfortable. When specifically addressing their workplace, 75% said they were comfortable or very comfortable, compared to 10% at the other end of the scale. When students were asked about the climate in their classes, 77% of graduate students and 75% of undergraduates answered they were comfortable or very comfortable.
Moses said that while the overall report was positive, there were still areas that the university needs to address.
“UC Riverside is a leader in diversity, but there is still work to be done – both here and at a system wide level – including issues regarding harassment and sexual violence and focusing on the needs of a variety of groups,” she said.
Among the opportunities for improvement listed in the report are reducing incidents of exclusionary conduct and improving overall campus, workplace and classroom climates for several groups, including people of color, genderqueer individuals and people with disabilities.
“UC Riverside has long been acknowledged as a nationwide leader in campus diversity. But that doesn’t mean we can sit and rest on these accolades,” Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox said. “For that reason, we welcome the results of the UC Systemwide Campus Climate Survey and look forward to identifying issues and implementing changes that will allow us to continue to be recognized for our commitment to excellence and inclusion.”
With the data now in hand, Moses will chair a committee that will analyze the results of the survey as well as input from the campus community to develop an action and implementation plan.
UCR has already implemented several diversity initiatives, including a plan to attract and hire diverse faculty members, with an emphasis on faculty in the STEM fields, and providing mentoring and leadership opportunities to attract and retain diverse faculty and staff.
The survey was commissioned in 2012 by then-UC President Mark G. Yudof in response to a series of incidents at several campuses brought attention to the need for the university to address campus climate challenges. The university contracted with Rankin & Associates Consulting to create the survey, which asked questions of students, staff and faculty at each of the 10 UC campuses as well as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources, and the UC Office of the President.
The survey opened in the Fall of 2012 and closed in early 2013. Data was compiled and analyzed in the summer and fall of 2013, and final reports delivered in March 2014. The overall response rate was 27% (104,208 surveys) with the rate varying between venues and constituent groups.