There’s still time for the campus climate survey

Tiana Nichelson

With the campus climate survey, the community is given the opportunity to make change at Iowa State, though not everyone sees it this way.

At the Oct. 5 Professional and Scientific Council meeting, a senator reported multiple constituents felt the 2004 survey caused no change, therefore, taking the current survey is pointless. 

Vice president for diversity and inclusion, Reginald Stewart, disagrees.

“Whether or not I feel like my independent, one singular voice counts is secondary to what certainly doesn’t count if I don’t do it,” Stewart said.

The campus climate survey covers the learning, living and working environments at the university.

It takes no more than 30 minutes to complete and is completely anonymous. All participants are eligible to enter a drawing to win one of ten $50 gift cards.

This year’s campus climate survey is available to take until Oct. 31. The final report will be shared in spring 2018. 

Stewart and senior vice president for university services, Kate Gregory, were responsible for overseeing the process of creating the survey.

“It was a combination of using some pre-existing survey questions, and then localized [questions] that are campus focused,” Stewart said.

The Climate Survey Working Group, with the help of Rankin and Associates Consulting, were tasked with putting the survey together.

While many university departments have conducted similar surveys, the last campus-wide climate survey was administered in 2004.

This survey brought about changes on campus such as the implementation of the Multicultural Center and the creation of a shared governance group.

The Multicultural Center, located in the Memorial Union, was created to “develop a sense of community between students, staff and faculty of color on the Iowa State University campus,” according to the Memorial Union website.

It also plays a role in educating the Iowa State community about the diverse groups on campus. 

The concept of a university wide council to focus in on these issues was another result of the previous survey. The Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Council is a shared governance group with which Stewart vets ideas.

The results also suggested the university adopt an Ombuds Office. The office serves as a place where students can talk about challenges they are facing in the workplace or at school. 

“These are really tangible things that a student in 2017 can see came from the 2004 survey. That’s where we find the value in it,” Stewart said. 

The development of the principles of community is another result of the 2004 survey. These principles highlight respect, purpose, cooperation, richness of diversity, freedom from discrimination and honest and respectful expressions of ideas on campus.

All of these outcomes are continually evolving in order to conform to the current student body.  

Professor of agricultural education and studies, Robert Martin, said it is important to take the survey because Iowa State needs to have a basis for making decisions.

“Getting as much information as possible is critical for the future,” Martin said.

Amy Smith, professor in political science, said she thinks it is important to see the point of view of people who see problems, and people who don’t.  

The ideas shared through the 2017 climate survey results will help the university implement even more changes. The survey is the first step to identifying what would be most beneficial for our campus.

“This gives people a deeply personal opportunity to reflect in their own space,” Stewart said, “where they are not subject to any version of group think. This is their independent voice.”