Campus Climate Survey Engagement Guide: Sense Of Belonging

A toolkit series to guide UMass community members in understanding, interpreting, reflecting on, and responding to findings of the 2021 Campus Climate Survey

Welcome! Our Climate Surveys are one of the ways we periodically take the temperature of our campus community and people's experiences with the university. This most recent survey paints a nuanced picture of individuals’ sense of belonging and highlights some challenges. Broadly speaking, survey respondents from underrepresented identities (across race, gender, orientation, religion, ability, and many others) are most likely to report low or negative feelings of belonging. This alone is sobering, as it indicates that we have more work to do to build a truly inclusive campus community. However, we also know that many members of our community did not participate in this survey – members who represent some of the greatest diversity on our campus, and who have historically experienced some of the greatest challenges to belonging and inclusion. In the context of our findings, this lower response is, in itself, important data for us to reflect on as we continue to work to engage and build an inclusive campus for ALL members of our community.

- Emmanuel Adero, Deputy Chief Officer for Equity and Inclusion

Survey Questions

To What Extent Do You:

  • Feel like you belong?
  • Have a good support network?
  • Have mentors or role models?
  • Feel like you can openly share your point of view?

Key Findings

Undergraduate Students

  • Undergraduates who are Black, gender-questioning, or have 2+ disabilities report lower levels of belonging than other racial, gender, and dis/ability groups

  • Non-normative groups across all demographics are less likely to have support networks and mentorship.

  • Black and veteran undergrads are less likely to feel that they can openly share their opinions

Graduate Students

  • Latinx grad students report lower rates of belonging than other racial groups, and were also less likely to feel comfortable openly sharing their point of view than all other demographics

  • While trans grad students report high levels of mentorship, rates were lower among nonbinary/questioning students--who also reported less robust support networks than other identity groups

  • Master’s students report lower levels of mentorship than PhD students


  • Executive/administrative/managerial staff show high rates of belonging in contrast with all other work classifications, and also report very high support network levels

  • Black, Latinx, and multiracial staff reported lower mentorship levels compared to white and Asian groups

  • Latinx, Black, nonbinary, and gender-questioning staff were less likely to report feeling they can openly share their opinions


  • Faculty with disabilities were more likely to report feeling no sense of belonging than any other group and, along with Black faculty, also report comparatively lower levels of support networks

  • Black faculty members reported very low levels of mentorship compared to all other groups

  • Nonbinary faculty, Latinx faculty, and faculty with disabilities were less likely to report feeling they can openly share their opinions

Next Section: Self Reflection