Survey says? SDSU wants feedback on Diversity

By Heidi Kronaizl News Editor


 The campus climate survey, an aid to help the university assess the living, learning and working conditions of campus launched Oct. 15. 

The survey will be used to address any issues those may have with SDSU’s campus. Several of the questions ask about race, ethnicity, religion, physical and mental ability on SDSU campus and if the overall climate is positive and welcoming of diversity. 

“We want to determine whether or not we are serving everyone’s needs,” said principal investigator Jim Burns. 

Those who participate in the survey can specify if they have witnessed discrimination on campus, and if they feel discriminated against all while remaining anonymous. There are also spaces where those taking the survey can enter optional comments that can be used to make suggestions to the university and to speak about certain incidences. 

Because the survey is largely associated with the new strategic plan, IMPACT 2018, the Office of the President is funding the instrument that is being used for the survey. 

The survey instrument was brought in by an outside consultant, Sue Rankin from Penn State. Rankin has helped conduct approximately 120 surveys similar to the campus climate survey on college campuses. 

Currently, the survey can be found on the SDSU website, but other mediums may be presented. 

All faculty, staff and students can take the survey, and incentives will be given to those who take it. Students will be entered into a drawing for a free semester’s tuition and an iPad. Information that will be given for the drawing will be kept separate from the survey, keeping all that participate completely anonymous. 

Principal investigators of the survey Jaime Nolan-Andrino along with Burns, will be the only ones seeing the raw data as the results come in. They are seeking 4,000 responses. 

“The reason why we wanted to get that high of response rate was for statistical purposes,” Burns said. “We wanted to generalize the findings of the whole population.” 

Students’ Association President Ben Stout has been helping with the project since the beginning of the fall semester. 

“It’s going to be difficult to get that many people to take it, but I think it’s possible. It’s going to take a lot of work, it’s not an easy task to get 4,000 people to take the same survey,” Stout said. 

Since the survey has started, over 420 staff and faculty responses have been submitted, along with 320 student responses. 

“This survey is really important because this is going to give us a baseline. We haven’t really done this before on this scale,” Burns said. 

The survey can take 15 to 30 minutes, depending upon how detailed one responds. Because there are options for comments, making the survey longer. The student version of the survey has fewer questions than the faculty version. 

To help promote the survey, students will receive email announcements every few days, and faculty was asked to work with students in their classes and embed links onto D2L. Links to the survey have also been posted on InsideState and MyState. Student organizations such as SA have been promoting the survey as well. 

“The main thing we’ve [SA] done so far is email, Facebook, word of mouth, but we would like to get some tabling going in The Union,” Stout said. 

Burns and Nolan-Andrino have a goal of publishing the results by the end of the spring semester, at the earliest, April 2014. Then the issues that are found can be addressed in the 2014-2015 school year. 

“The survey itself is a great way to provide input on their perception of SDSU,” Stout said. “The results of the survey have the potential to make major changes at the university,” Stout said. 

The survey will run for a total of four weeks, closing Nov. 15. 

“Students have a lot more power than, I think, they realize … their voices matter a lot more than they realize,” Burns said. “If there are issues that are important to you, take the time to do this [survey] and let us know.” 

Plans are already under way for conducting another campus climate survey in 2016 to make sure that concerns with the climate of SDSU are being addressed. 

The survey can be found at president/campusclimate.