Campus Climate Survey Results Show Favorable Perceptions, But Also Clear Areas of Concern at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. – The Campus Climate Survey conducted at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in November 2016 indicates that the university is meeting its goals for inclusivity and equality in some areas, but the results also identify clear areas of concern.

An Abridged Report released today can be viewed at www.umass.edu/diversity/campus-climate. It provides an overview of the data gathered and an initial analysis. The survey data collected will guide the university’s ongoing process for diversity strategic planning in specific and tangible ways, including campus policies, priorities and distribution of resources. The full report is scheduled for release in fall 2017.

Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said, “I am deeply gratified that the response rate to the survey was 41 percent, well above the national average. It reflects an engaged campus community invested in moving forward together and ensuring our campus is committed to actively realizing our ideals.”

The chancellor emphasized that campus inclusivity must be measured through the perceptions of those who are vulnerable. He said, “As one faculty member commented, ‘I strongly believe that a welcoming and inclusive environment for all deserves to be among our highest institutional value and priorities.’ I share this sentiment, and through your voices, we have illuminated areas in need of institutional attention if we are to create an environment respectful of all.”

Notable findings from the web-based survey include:

  • Perceptions of the campus climate vary. The majority of people in each population (undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff) rate the campus climate positively. Yet, perceptions of overall campus climate are less favorable for some social identity groups than for others.
  • Differences persist in perceptions of racial climate. The majority of individuals across populations are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the racial climate at UMass Amherst. Yet, rates of dissatisfaction with the racial climate at UMass Amherst are high for some social identity groups.
  • Faculty and staff report high levels of workplace cooperation.
  • Across all four main populations, experiences with unfair treatment on the basis of social identity are too common, and rates are higher within some social identity categories than within others.
  • Sense of belonging to a great extent varies widely, revealing substantial, and undesirable, differences among groups.
  • Classroom climate: Some students feel silenced in class on the basis of an aspect of their social identity, and some experience course instructors stereotyping, making negative remarks about or telling jokes about an aspect of their social identity.
  • Workplace climate: More than one-third of staff members report experiencing mistreatment in their campus job “sometimes” or “often,” and more than three-fifths of faculty perceive that they do more service than others in their department.
  • Campus ratings of inclusiveness are similar by political view among undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty. Political views were not asked of staff.

The chancellor also expressed his thanks to the survey design and analysis team composed of institutional researchers and faculty experts led by Enobong (Anna) Branch, the chancellor’s faculty advisor for diversity and inclusive excellence, and Elizabeth Williams and Martha Stassen of the Office of Academic Planning and Assessment.

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