A survey to assess the climate at St. Thomas will be mailed to all faculty, staff and students the week of March 6. The survey is being coordinated by the Office of Institutional Research and Planning and was developed by a committee comprised of undergraduate-level faculty, graduate-level faculty, and staff members, including representatives from the University Committee on Women, International Student Services, Multicultural Student Services, and the 1995 Climate Task Force.

The purpose of the climate survey is:

  • To assess whether the campus is perceived by members of the community to be a welcoming, supportive, accepting and inclusive environment for all members,
  • To identify areas of greatest concern, and
  • To provide a catalyst for action.

In developing this survey, the committee attempted to retain the most useful parts of the climate surveys administered in 1989 and 1995, while updating the content to reflect current issues and incorporating feedback from the community. Whereas the 1995 climate study focused on the climate for women and people of color as well as measuring overall morale, classroom interactions, and workplace satisfaction, the current survey is much shorter and focuses only on climate issues. (Another survey addressing morale and workplace satisfaction will be administered to faculty and staff in the spring of 2001. Classroom interactions will be the focus of a student survey in spring 2001.) Other changes include a working definition of diversity much broader than race, ethnicity or gender issues, and the re-wording of many questions for increased clarity.

As has been the case with previous climate surveys, this survey is completely anonymous and confidential. To address concerns raised at the time of the last climate survey that combinations of demographic items could potentially identify respondents, items linking faculty and staff respondents to departments or divisions of the university were removed from the survey. To further assuage any concerns regarding confidentiality, respondents will mail completed surveys directly to an external data processing firm for entry.

We have experienced many successes at St. Thomas since our previous climate studies, but other issues still need to be addressed. To ensure that our findings are utilized in effecting change, arrangements are being made for an external consultant to assist us in designing ways to implement change based on the results of the study. This survey is a critical part of assessing the climate at UST so please don’t miss this important opportunity to express your opinions.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this study, please contact Kris Ragozzino, director of Institutional Research and Planning at (651) 962-6621 or klragozzino@stthomas.edu.