How is your Iowa State experience?

Campus climate survey

This month, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to complete a campus climate survey that evaluates perceptions of living, working and learning at Iowa State.

The survey is an action item for a working group focused on goal four of the university's 2017-22 strategic plan, to "continue to enhance and cultivate the ISU Experience." It is the first comprehensive campus climate survey since 2003. Senior vice president for university services Kate Gregory and vice president for diversity and inclusion Reg Stewart co-chair the group.

Liz Mendez-Shannon, project director in the diversity and inclusion office, said the survey results will provide a baseline of attitudes and help develop policies and initiatives to improve the "ISU Experience." That includes education/working experiences, well-being and sense of value in the Iowa State community.

"The climate survey offers each member in the campus community -- students, faculty and staff -- an opportunity to share their Cyclone experience, anonymously," Mendez-Shannon said. "By sharing their experience and sense of belonging, their voices will effect change and make ISU better."

About the survey

Pennsylvania-based Rankin and Associates Consulting is conducting the survey, which opened Oct. 3 and runs through Oct. 31. A campus committee worked with the consultants to tailor the set of survey questions for Iowa State.

"In order to measure experiences across many layers, questions were crafted to be inclusive of identities and communities. More than 40 representatives from the campus community helped navigate how questions were asked to reflect an authentic experience," Mendez-Shannon said.

Confidentiality is a priority, with identifiers (such as IP addresses) stripped from replies. As participants progress through the survey, responses will guide them through many questions specific to faculty, staff and students (undergraduate and graduate).

The survey takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete and must be completed in one sitting. Although the survey is being conducted online, hard-copy versions are available by request through Stewart's office (2680 Beardshear, 294-8840). Participants who complete the survey can enter to win one of 10 gift cards valued at $50 each.

Data-driven change

Mendez-Shannon said the responses will reflect a range of experiences and perspectives. Data will be examined to identify issues and areas that need to be addressed.

"That is where the work begins and strategies will be developed to target specific areas for improvement discovered by the climate survey," Mendez-Shannon said. "Focus groups -- for example, task forces and action-oriented meetings -- would be organized to identify next steps to alleviate or improve conditions pertinent to the campus climate."

Results will be shared at campus presentations, likely at the end of the spring semester. A final report also will be posted online.