The University of Nevada, Reno, released the results of the 2019 Campus Climate Survey on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
The university hosted two separate forums to allow faculty, staff, students and community members to ask questions regarding the survey results. All findings of the survey can also be found in the Executive Summary.
The university contracted with Rankin & Associates Consulting to lead the survey.
“Rankin & Associates Consulting is a nationally recognized leader in institutional evaluation,” the university wrote on the survey’s official website. “They have conducted more than 190 campus climate assessment projects over the last 20 years. A team from Rankin & Associates Consulting will coordinate with a working group comprised of students, staff and faculty from the University to develop and implement the assessment.”
6,415 surveys were submitted. 27 percent of the total campus participated, which fell just three percent shy of the 30 percent response rate goal.
According to the Executive Summary, the participants by status included:
- 53% (n = 3,389) of the sample were Undergraduate Students representing 22% of the total undergraduate student population;
- 12% (n = 794) of the sample were Graduate/Professional Students representing 23% of the total graduate/professional student population;
- 12% (n = 738) of the sample were Academic Faculty/Postdoctoral Scholar/Research Scientist/Librarian members representing 36% of the total academic faculty/postdoctoral scholar/research scientist/librarian members population;
- 12% (n = 781) of the sample were Administrative Faculty/Executive-level Administrative Faculty representing 70% of the total administrative faculty/executive-level administrative faculty population
- 11% (n = 713) of the sample were Classified Staff representing 67% of the total classified staff population.
R&A identified two limitations in the survey that may have influenced results. First, respondents “self selected” to complete the survey.
“This type of bias can occur when an individual’s decision to participate is correlated with experiences and concerns being measured by the study, causing a type of non-representativeness known as selection bias,” R&A said in the Executive Summary.
R&A also warned that less than a 30 percent response rate should raise caution as it is not as strong of a response.
In addition to status, R&A provided that 60 percent of respondents were women, 37.5 were men and 2.6 were trans-spectrum or did not answer.
R&A defined climate as the current attitudes and behaviors of faculty, staff, admin and students as well as institutional policies and procedures which influence the level of respect for individual needs, abilities and potential.
According to the Executive Summary, the findings at the university were consistent with other higher education institutions that did similar surveys with R&A.
Overall campus climate
According to R&A, the average percentage of people who found the campus climate comfortable in studies at other universities was between 70 and 80 percent. 71 percent of respondents said they felt “very comfortable” or “comfortable” with campus climate at the university. However, results did find that people who identified with any of the following categories were significantly less comfortable with the campus climate: women, black/African American, queer-spectrum and bisexual, those with multiple disabilities, low-income and first generation.
The study found that 68 percent of undergraduate students and 73 percent of graduate students “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that they felt valued by academic faculty. According to the Executive Summary, attitudes about academic experiences influence performance and success in college.
Only 21 percent of students felt they had experienced conduct that fell into the categories of “exclusionary, intimidating, offensive and/or hostile”. 31 percent of classified staff and 30 percent of academic faculty felt they had experienced this kind of conduct, which was higher than the 16 percent of undergraduate students and 21 percent of graduate students who said they felt this kind of behavior.
Considering leaving the university
According to the Summary, over 50 percent in the administrative faculty, academic faculty and classified staff considered leaving the university. Over 50 percent of those respondents said they considered leaving because of low salaries and pay rates.
Unwanted sexual conduct
12 percent of respondents said they experienced unwanted sexual conduct or contact while at the university. Two percent of respondents experienced relationship violence and three percent experienced stalking. Eight percent experienced unwanted sexual interaction, such as catcalling, sexual advances and sexual harassment. Four percent experienced unwanted sexual contact, which included rape.
The survey was administered from February 19 to March 15. After surveys closed, the data was analyzed by R&A. The report—both the Executive Summary and full report—were developed between May and August 2019.
The university plans to use October 2019 to December 2019 to develop an action plan based on the findings from the summary, according to the Campus Climate Study timeline.
“It’s not over. You have the findings and the data now, and now it’s to see how we can use that,” said Executive Associate and Senior Research Associate Julie A. Del Giorno.
The university will be hosting five forum sessions to allow members of the university community to contribute to the discussion of an action plan. The plan will directly use the results of the climate survey to improve the campus climate.
The dates for the forum are as follows, and all will be held in Mack Social Science room 241 from 3-4 p.m.:
- Oct. 9, classified staff
- Oct. 10, undergraduate students
- Oct. 11, graduate students
- Oct. 14, academic faculty
- Oct. 16, administrative faculty
Olivia Ali can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @OliviaNAli