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'Be Heard!' Campus joins systemwide climate survey

2.1.2013

By Dave Jones

Campus Community Survey

Video (2 min 16 sec)

Videography by Joe Proudman/UC Davis

ICING ON THE CAKE

The UC Office of the President and UC Davis are offering the following incentives, via random drawings, to people who complete the Campus Community Survey:

Systemwide prizes

  • $10,000 undergraduate scholarship (1)
  • $5,000 graduate academic or professional student stipend (2)
  • $5,000 faculty research grant (2)
  • $2,000 staff professional development grant (5)
  • iPads (2 each location)

Davis campus prizes

  • iPads (4)
  • $25 Aggie gift cards (75)
  • $25 UC Davis Stores gift cards (25)
  • $25 restaurant gift cards (10)
  • $25 Starbucks gift cards (10)
  • $25 iTunes gift cards (10)
  • $25 gas gift cards (10)

Sacramento campus prizes

  • iPads (8)
  • $25 gift cards (100)

We are students, staff, faculty and administrators, all of us neighbors in our campus community. And word is spreading quickly among us: Take the survey!

The Campus Community Survey is UC Davis’ part of a massive project to gauge the campus climate in the UC system, in what is believed to be the largest such effort ever in American higher education. Your personal responses will be strictly confidential, and your privacy will be protected.

Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi’s email about the survey launch went out on Wednesday (Jan. 30) to everyone on the Davis and Sacramento campuses: “I strongly urge all of you to let your voices be heard in this important effort to make sure our campuses allow everyone to live, learn and work in a supportive and respectful environment, where we are all treated fairly and with dignity, regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, appearance and sexual orientation.”

•••

“Do we include you? Do we welcome you? … Do we recognize and understand you, given your diversity in terms of ethnicity and race, your age, your responsibilities, you as a son with frail elders, you as a mother with small children, you with your religious beliefs, you as a person living with disabilities?” Penny Herbert, director of Strategic Planning, UC Davis Health System, and former staff adviser to the Board of Regents

•••

You can take the survey as soon as you receive your personal survey link, or URL to access the online survey. Rahim Reed, association executive vice chancellor for Campus Community Relations, is sending the links via email to all staff, faculty and students on the Davis campus.

Look for the subject line: “Make Your Voice Heard! Take the Campus Community Survey Now.” Some people received it on Thursday; everyone else is getting it today. (The subject line also states: "Do not delete" — but, just in case you do, follow-up emails will be going out to people who have not completed the survey, and the follow-up emails will repeat your personal survey link.)

Reed urged people to take the survey as soon as possible, “so you don’t forget to participate!”

Posters are going up and fliers are being handed out, urging everyone to “be heard,” and arrangements are being made to provide paper copies (in English and Spanish) of the survey to employees who do not have access to computers.

•••

“I think the incentive should be that we get to voice our concerns, and we get to have a voice, and have an opportunity to share our experiences.” Yena Bae, vice president, ASUCD

•••

There are other incentives, too, that are intended to help boost the response rate. Everyone who completes the survey will have an opportunity to win any of a number of substantial prizes: iPads and gift cards (UC Davis Stores, iTunes, Starbucks and restaurants), professional development training grants for staff, research grants for faculty, and training stipends for graduate academic and professional students, as well as a $10,000 undergraduate scholarship. See box for the complete list.

Susan Rankin, a professor of education policy studies and college student affairs at Pennsylvania State University, and a senior research associate at the university’s Center for the Study of Higher Education, leads the UC survey, through her company, Rankin & Associates Consulting.

Rankin has extensive experience in institutional climate assessment and institutional climate transformation based on data-driven action and strategic planning. She has conducted multiple- location institutional climate studies in other university systems across the country.

The UC survey takes in every campus and medical center, the Office of the President, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory — about 430,000 people in all. Some locations have already completed the survey. Read the UCOP news release.

•••

“We are, of course, a very diverse campus, as is the whole UC system. Diversity can create tensions between groups, and it’s very important for us to understand how students and faculty and staff view what’s going on on campus. And that can actually help us in addressing specific problems before they arise.” — Professor David Biale, Emanuel Ringelblum Chair in Jewish History

•••

Survey findings are due for release later this year. Phase 2 will include development of strategic initiatives and action plans in response to the findings.

UC’s climate survey website explains the goal is to build on institutional successes, address institutional climate challenges and promote institutional change.

Biale said: “My field is Jewish history, so I have a particular interest in whether there is an atmosphere on campus that is conducive to Jewish students feeling at home.

“A lot of the tensions come from events that are going on in the Middle East. And, of course, they come to rest here on the campus, but we can't solve them here at UC Davis. What we can do is to bring together different groups who may have different political opinions, for the purpose of education. To understand how the conflicts there have arisen, and to explore possibilities of solution, even though we can't solve them here.”

Rob Kerner, chair of the Davis campus Staff Assembly, said: “If there are people who feel discriminated against, hopefully they’ll make changes that solve those types of issues.

“If there are work-life balance problems, I hope they make changes to programs, or compensation, or whatever the hot topics are.”

•••

“Staff are a pretty big population on this campus, and I think it’s really important that we put our 2 cents in.” — Rob Kerner

•••

Katehi and Reed are hoping to get everyone’s 2 cents.

“The university is committed to finding out how we can improve our work and living environments,” the chancellor wrote. “We need your participation to succeed.”

Reed added: “We want to know about your experiences and what we can do to make them better. I hope you will let your voice be heard because it does matter.”

•••

“The reason it’s important to take the survey seriously is because this is a unique opportunity for you to help shape the campus climate that you’d like to see. For you to help experience a place where you feel included, where you feel connected, where you feel you can thrive.” — Vickie Gomez, coordinator, Staff Diversity Administrative Advisory Committee

•••

HOW IT WORKS

The survey is strictly confidential. The utmost care has been taken to ensure that your privacy is protected.

Click the personal survey link in the email from Reed with the subject line: “Make Your Voice Heard! Take the Campus Community Survey Now.” Do not delete this email or share or forward it to others. If you misplace the email, or delete it, you will receive a follow-up email (sent to everyone who has not completed the survey), and the follow-up email will repeat your personal survey link.

You do not need to do the survey all at once. You can start and stop and then come back; the software will remember where you left off.

But, once you click the “next” button on any page, you cannot go back. You can only go forward.

Online

UC Davis Campus Community Survey

In addition, the UC survey website includes an overview and the project’s goals, a section addressing “What is Climate Change?” (with subsections on how campus climate affects students, and how it affects faculty and staff), a brief description of the survey (with sample questions on experiences, perceptions and institutional actions). The site also includes an FAQ and a feedback form (online).

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