Climate Survey gauges student satisfaction

By: Tatum Hunter ~Editor-in-Chief~

As the university launches its annual March Gladness fundraising campaign, a new survey will assess just how #GladXavier students actually are.

The most thorough Climate Survey the university has ever offered will become available on March 1. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take the survey to provide insight on the state of the Xavier community.

Xavier partnered with an outside consulting company, Rankin & Associates, to formulate the survey and tailor it to this campus. The consultant will analyze the data gathered and offer multiple presentations of its findings on campus in the fall. These presentations will include three suggestions on how to improve the campus climate. The consulting service cost the university about $64,000.

About 16 focus groups with 77 student, faculty and staff participants helped the consultants get a feel for the community and construct a survey that meets Xavier’s needs. The focus groups addressed the experiences of people of different races, sexual orientations and religious affiliations, among other categories.

For the data to be usable, the consultant needs 30 percent of the campus community to participate in the survey. Thus, some classes and clubs will designate special times to take the survey together. On average, the survey will take about 30 minutes to complete.

“I think we should strive to do better than 30 percent,” Taj Smith, Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), said.

Both the CDI and the Title IX office collaborated to ensure that the survey uses language that students will understand. For example, the survey shouldn’t use the term “street harassment” if many students are only familiar with the term “cat-calling,” Smith said.

Responses to the survey are anonymous. The survey is located on an offsite server, so no Xavieraffiliated person will see the hard data. Respondents will indicate whether they are students, faculty or staff, and students will select their year and area of study, but questions about race, gender and other demographics can be skipped.

Students who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for five $50 Amazon gift cards. Xavier administrators can see who took the survey but cannot connect a name with the student’s responses.

The survey results may lead to some shifting goals and changes within specific university departments and may also affect club funding. Smith said that the survey’s findings will influence the direction of the university in the future.

“Fr. Graham and other folks need to figure out how to convert (the findings) into future strategic plans for the university,” Smith said.

Smith said that one potential change that came up during the focus groups was the use of the CDI space.

“One thing we learned is that more students who are not African American would like to access (the CDI) space,” Smith said.

In the meantime, Smith and the rest of the committee in charge of the survey’s execution are hoping for a good turnout. In order for the survey to reflect the concerns of students who aren’t usually heard, those students must take the time to respond.

“It’s important to encourage students everywhere to take it,” Smith said.

The survey is available at www. xavier.edu/beheard. It will be available from March 1-24.

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