UMass Amherst Campus Climate Survey 2021
In November 2021, all UMass Amherst students and employees were invited to participate in a Campus Climate Survey (CCS) to help the university better understand the challenges of creating a respectful and inclusive campus environment. The confidential online survey was developed in-house and achieved robust response rates for three of the four target populations: undergraduates (42%), graduate students (39%), and faculty (49%)*. For each of these groups, demographic characteristics of survey participants closely match those of the corresponding target population, suggesting that a high level of demographic representativeness was achieved.
It is important to note that participation among Service/Maintenance (SM) and Skilled Crafts (SC) staff members was very low –10 percent and 19 percent, respectively. Because SM and SC staff constitute more than one-third of all staff at the university, their low participation rates negatively impacted the demographic representativeness of the staff survey results. The CCS research team determined that representation of SM and SC staff in the data set was so inadequate that it compromised the accuracy of staff results for the university overall, as well as for A&F, the executive area in which most SM and SC staff members work. The research team therefore made the difficult decision to exclude A&F staff data from all quantitative reports on the staff results. Because survey participation rates for staff in nearly all of the university’s other nine executive areas were quite robust (e.g., 53% for Academic Affairs and SACL, 48% for Research and Engagement), the staff data for these areas are demographically representative and worthy of sharing. To learn more about the methods and procedures used to conduct the CCS, and obstacles to enlisting participation among SM and SC staff, please consult CCS 2021 Background and Methods.
The 2021 Campus Climate Survey was conducted and analyzed by the Office of Academic Planning and Assessment (OAPA) and was sponsored by the Office of Equity and Inclusion. These reports were written by OAPA and contains their thematic findings.
Classroom Climate for Students and Instructors
This research brief focuses on students’ and instructors’ experiences in the classroom. We report on undergraduate and graduate students’ experiences with social identity-based exclusion, dismissal, targeting, and/or stereotyping in the classroom. We also report on both faculty and graduate student instructors’ and teaching assistants’ experiences engaging with diversity-related topics and curricula, their perceptions of their students’ enthusiasm for learning about diverse perspectives, and classroom openness to the free expression of ideas.
Perceptions of the Campus Climate
The Campus Climate Survey included a question about the campus racial climate, specifically. This question was included in the 2016 CCS, but current societal and campus contexts heighten its importance. Responses to this 4-point satisfaction question are quite split across all four populations. As you engage with these dashboards, we encourage you to keep in mind that people’s lived experiences shape their perceptions of their social environments.
Feelings of Connection and Friendships
This research brief focuses on feelings of personal connection to various University connection points (e.g., peers, major/program, work unit) friendships for undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, and faculty, as well as institution-based friendships for members of these four populations. The brief includes interactive Tableau dashboards that allow for further engagement with and exploration of results.
Sense of Belonging
As the following data shows, vast majorities of students, staff, and faculty feel like they belong at UMass Amherst to at least some extent. Faculty were most likely to indicate feeling like they belong “to a great extent,” whereas graduate students were least likely to do so. However it is important to explore breakdowns by additional social identity aspects so as to not mistakenly conclude that sense of belonging at UMass Amherst is universally high among community members.
Why We Conduct This Survey
At UMass Amherst, diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to our mission, our values, and our success. We conduct the Campus Climate Survey every several years to assess whether our values are reflected in the daily experience of students, faculty, staff, and visitors in order to better understand the challenges of creating an environment that is respectful and inclusive for all. The survey data collected will guide our process for diversity strategic planning in specific and tangible ways, including campus policies, priorities, and distribution of resources.
Backgrounds and Methods
In fall 2021, all UMass Amherst students and employees were invited to participate in a Campus Climate Survey to help the university better understand the challenges of creating a respectful and inclusive campus environment. The survey was sponsored by the university’s Office of Equity and Inclusion and conducted by the Office of Academic Planning and Assessment. The survey included a set of core questions about campus climate perceptions and experiences at UMass Amherst, and items about social identity aspects.