Opinion survey on campus climate updates; Global Lead Management to share overview of findings April 3

Opinion survey on campus climate updates; Global Lead Management to share overview of findings April 3

The 2007 Opinion Survey on Campus Climate is nearing a close almost 11 months after Phase I: Quantitative (online survey) was deployed April 30, 2007, and Phase II: Qualitative (focus groups and interviews) were conducted in October and November 2007.

After careful review and reporting, we have determined that a total of 13,304 students, faculty and staff had an opportunity to access and respond to the online survey last April1. Of that 13,304, a total of 3,623 (or 27 percent) people responded to the online survey.

The population breakdown is as follows:

Respondents Total number who received access to online survey Total number completed or partially completed Percentages Students 10,875 2,573 24 Staff 1,385 634 46 Faculty 1,044 416 40 Totals 13,304 3,623 27

The survey on campus climate provided new information about how majority and minority group members perceived the current climate for diversity and inclusion at the University of St. Thomas. More importantly, we were able to consider the results from the quantitative phase when determining which populations we should consider for focus groups and interviews during the qualitative phase based on the available resources.

Global Lead Management, our external consulting firm, engaged via one-on-one interviews and focus group sessions with members from the university community representing the following demographic groups to gather qualitative perceptions on the campus climate:

  • African American faculty
  • African American staff
  • African American students
  • Caucasian faculty
  • Caucasian staff
  • Caucasian students
  • GLBT faculty
  • GLBT staff
  • GLBT students

A total of eight focus groups and 11 one-on-one interviews were conducted in November 2007. Focus groups were populated with varying number of responses that ranged from six to 18. Focus groups and interview moderators were matched to minority UST populations, including African American and GLBT staff, students and faculty.

Although the data collection for phases I and II has been completed, additional focus groups will be conducted later this month for students in an endeavor to be more inclusive and to gather more insights, perspectives and anecdotal information on the comparative experiences of various populations in the UST community.

At the encouragement of the Student Diversity Relations Committee, which is chaired by UST junior Alfonso Wenker, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) allocated $7,500 for the additional work. The focus groups will be conducted by Global Lead Management's expert partner, Spradley and Associates, March 25-27.

The Office of Institutional Diversity contacted Deborah Knaust, International Student Services director, to assist with identifying additional student populations. The additional focus groups will consist of:

  • International African student group (undergraduate and graduate students on a visa from Africa)
  • African student group (undergraduate and graduate U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are immigrants from Africa)
  • Hmong undergraduate and graduate student group
  • Muslim student group (undergraduate and graduate international, U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are Muslim)
  • International student group (variety of undergraduate and graduate students who are on a visa: F-1, J-1, J-2, H-1, H-4, R-1, L-1, L-2)
  • Hispanic/Latino student group (undergraduate and graduate international, U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are Hispanic/Latino)
  • ESL speakers (undergraduate and graduate international, U.S. citizens and permanent residents who speak English as a second language)
  • Asian Pacific Island group (undergraduate and graduate international, U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are from an Asian country or are Asian American)

The results from the aforementioned focus groups will be a companion report to the Summary Report on Qualitative Findings. I am sure the report will include useful information that will benefit future planning.

As I have maintained from the inception of this undertaking, UST has articulated its commitment to diversity and inclusion, and our engagement in a comprehensive assessment of the perceptions of the current climate, including perceptions of the importance and effectiveness of institutional diversity practices, is partial evidence of this commitment.

The assessment surfaced favorable perceptions regarding: (1) university expectations for, and respondents’ comfort with, engaging with heterogeneous teams that represent diverse ideas, input and experiences; and (2) satisfaction with the caliber of education provided by the university.

The assessment also surfaced strengths as well as areas of opportunity across a range of strategic themes. Finally, successful and sustainable climate change will require bold, consistent and holistic efforts.

On April 3, Global Lead Management Consulting will be on campus from 4 to 6 p.m. in the auditorium (Room 126) of the John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts. The
purpose of the visit is to share overall findings and results from the 2007 Opinion Survey on Campus Climate.

The climate study is a self-critical analysis undertaken by St. Thomas for the primary purpose of surfacing student, faculty and staff perceptions of UST’s culture and climate. The findings and results allow the university to make appropriate, critical next-step actions to advance the university’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

All students, faculty and staff are invited.

1. In an earlier results report, respondent rates were based on 16,324 UST e-mails that were included in the initial total count. After a very thorough statistically sound accounting process that involved Institutional Diversity, Institutional Research and Analysis, Information Resources and Technology, Registrar’s Office and Human Resources, we identified that the number of potential respondents was actually smaller than originally indicated in the initial total numbers. The accurate number of individuals who received access to the survey was 13,304.