An Examination of the Learning, Living, and Working Environment at the University of Kansas

About


Your Voice. Your KU.

What is university climate? Climate is the collective atmosphere that either helps us succeed or holds us back. It's everything from policy to personal attitudes in the classroom, the residence hall, the dean's office, the laboratory and the paint shop. The climate is often shaped through personal experiences, perceptions and institutional efforts.

How well we value and embrace everyone’s uniqueness and foster their ability to succeed is so important, and that is why we have recruited Rankin & Associates Consulting to help us assess the climate on all KU campuses. Dr. Susan Rankin of Rankin & Associates Consulting, describes university climate as “the current attitudes, behaviors, standards and practices of employees and students of an institution.” 

Data is currently being analyzed and reports will be drafted and shared with the entire University of Kansas community during the Spring and Summer of 2017. 

The goals of the project include: 

1) identify what is already working to foster a positive environment at KU
2) uncover any challenges facing our community, and 
3) develop strategic initiatives to build on the successes and address the challenges.​ 

Information for Students
Why is KU conducting a climate study?

This idea originated from interested students, faculty and staff who believed data from such a survey might be useful in planning for the future and improving the KU climate. They first identified the need to conduct a campus climate survey in December 2014. In 2015, KU and KUMC faculty, staff, students and administrators explored options and identified the best team in the country to help us engage in this critical process.

Why should students care?

You have the opportunity to change the way that not only you experience KU, but the way that future students do. This is your chance to make a change by participating in a process that seeks opinions from all students.

Who will conduct the survey?

The Campus Climate Steering Committee (CCSC), which includes a cross section of students, faculty and staff, is charged with conducting KU’s climate survey. The committee selected Rankin & Associates Consulting to conduct the survey. Rankin & Associates reports directly to the committee. Dr. Rankin has conducted multi-location institutional climate studies at more than 150 institutions across the country.

What will be done with data from the results?

Although the committee believes the survey process itself is informative, we have sought and received commitment from senior leaders that data will be used to plan for an improved climate at KU. All stakeholders—faculty, staff and students—will be invited to participate in the development of post-survey action initiatives.

Read more in the FAQ.
Information for Faculty
Why is KU conducting a climate study? 

This idea originated from interested students, faculty and staff who believed data from such a survey might be useful in planning for the future and improving the KU climate. They first identified the need to conduct a campus climate survey in December 2014. In 2015, KU and KUMC faculty, staff, students and administrators explored options and identified the best team in the country to help us engage in this critical process.

Who will conduct the survey?

The Campus Climate Steering Committee (CCSC), which includes a cross section of students, faculty and staff, is charged with conducting KU’s climate survey. The committee selected Rankin & Associates Consulting to conduct the survey. Rankin & Associates reports directly to the committee. Dr. Rankin is an emeritus faculty member of Education Policy Studies and College Student Affairs at The Pennsylvania State University and a senior research associate in the Center for the Study of Higher Education. Dr. Rankin has conducted multi-location institutional climate studies at more than 150 institutions across the country. 

Why was a non-KU researcher selected for the project?

In reviewing efforts by other universities to conduct comprehensive climate studies, several best practices were identified. One was the need for external expertise in survey administration. The administration of a survey relating to a very sensitive subject like campus climate is likely to yield higher response rates and provide more credible findings if led by an independent, outside agency. Members of a university community may feel particularly inhibited to respond honestly to a survey administered by their own institution for fear of retaliation.

Why is this a population survey and not a sample survey?

Dr. Rankin recommends against using random sampling as we may miss particular populations where numbers are very small (e.g., Native American faculty). Since one goal of the project is inclusiveness and allowing invisible “voices” to be heard, this sampling technique is not used. In addition, randomized stratified sampling is not used because we do not have population data on most identities. For example, KU collects population data on gender and race/ethnicity, but not on disability status or sexual orientation. So, a sample approach could miss many groups.

Read more in the FAQ.
Information for Staff

Why is KU conducting a climate study?

This idea originated from interested students, faculty and staff who believed data from such a survey might be useful in planning for the future and improving the KU climate. They first identified the need to conduct a campus climate survey in December 2014. In 2015, KU and KUMC faculty, staff, students and administrators explored options and identified the best team in the country to help us engage in this critical process.

Who will conduct the survey?

The Campus Climate Steering Committee (CCSC), which includes a cross section of students, faculty and staff, is charged with conducting KU’s climate survey. The committee selected Rankin & Associates Consulting to conduct the survey. Rankin & Associates reports directly to the committee. Dr. Rankin has conducted multi-location institutional climate studies at more than 150 institutions across the country.

What will be done with data from the results?

Although the committee believes the survey process itself is informative, we have sought and received commitment from senior leaders that data will be used to plan for an improved climate at KU. All stakeholders—faculty, staff and students—will be invited to participate in the development of post-survey initiatives.

Read more in the FAQ.

The voice of every student, every staff member, every faculty member matters. All of KU’s campuses, including Lawrence, the KU Medical Center Campus in Kansas City, Wichita and Salina, and the Edwards Campus, will participate in this assessment of learning, living, and working at the University of Kansas. Explore more in the FAQ and learn how you can get involved.


FAQ

Timeline
  •  
  • Fall 2015

    Preparing the campus – education, marketing, reviewing relevant data

  • Spring 2016

    Focus groups and begin survey development

  • Summer 2016

    Complete Survey, IRB Process, and Communication Plan

  • Fall 2016

    Survey Administration and Data Analysis

  • Spring 2017

    Report Results to the campus community

  • Summer 2017

    Develop strategic action steps with the campus community


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