The University has released a summary of the findings of the Campus Climate Survey distributed to campus community members in fall 2022. Climate surveys can help inform long-term initiatives and supply a baseline for understanding the campus experience.
In alignment with Carolina Next: Innovations for Public Good, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion led the climate survey initiative. The purpose was to understand successes and find opportunities for improvement in programs and initiatives that support an inclusive and welcoming community.
“We are pleased with the response to the survey and are grateful for this snapshot of our campus climate to provide context around future projects,” said Leah Cox, vice provost of equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. “We recognize that climate is dynamic and will use these results as one of many valuable tools in informing our approach to fostering an inclusive campus community and identifying possible improvements.”
The survey questions asked about times that both enhanced and detracted from experiences at Carolina with a specific focus on feelings of respect, access to resources and perceptions of safety.
More than 9,000 people responded, making up an 18.5% response rate for the University:
Administrators: 66 participated; 49.3% response rate
Faculty: 1,234 participated; 21.8% response rate
Staff: 3,709 participated; 31.7% response rate
Students: 4,168 participated; 13.0% response rate
The survey findings show varied experiences across populations. The results do not include responses from all community members or address all issues that may help understand the complete community experience. Of the community members who responded, the results show that over 50% agreed on the following themes:
Most respondents agreed or strongly agreed that Carolina provides programming that fosters a welcoming and inclusive community, with administrators expressing the most agreement.
Interactions across differences
Most respondents believe the University promotes racial or cultural interactions between different groups somewhat well or very well, with students agreeing the most often.
Feelings of safety
Most respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they feel safe on campus. However, less than half of all student respondents reported feeling safe off campus.
Perceptions of diversity and inclusion
Most respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they feel Carolina is inclusive, with students agreeing most often.
Next steps and recommendations
From the results, the diversity and inclusion office recommended next steps related to three areas:
Addressing and supporting faculty perspectives
In several instances, faculty responses differed from administrators, staff and students by several percentage points. The survey summary recommended developing more faculty affairs programs to address areas of concern and remedy the differences seen across the survey. Another recommendation is to include more context when building out programs and support.
Improving understanding of diversity and inclusion
Some subpopulations disagreed that Carolina is a diverse and inclusive community. The diversity and inclusion office suggests digging deeper into why some populations see diversity and inclusion in specific ways; what diverse and inclusive environments look like to those individuals; and how results compare to past surveys here and at peer institutions.
Working to improve feelings of safety
Across all community members, the most frequent suggestions to improve safety were to add lighting along streets, walkways and in parking lots. The office also suggests that understanding what else makes individuals feel safe would allow the University to meet those needs.
The University worked with Campus Climate Survey LLC’s Viewfinder Survey, a third-party vendor, to administer campus climate surveys to all students, staff, administrators and faculty. All Carolina students and employees were invited to take part. Recruitment for the surveys began Oct. 17 and ended Dec. 23, 2022.
More information about the survey, including a dashboard of the results, can be found on the diversity and inclusion office’s website.