Student Social Climate Survey, Fall 2010
Background, Planning, and Data Collection
CU-Boulder conducts this survey every four years. Results from the 2006 social climate survey for males and females, students of different races/ethnicities, GLBT students, students with disabilities, and international students are available. That survey paralleled the 2001 climate survey, which was modeled after the 1998 campus community survey. Items assessing comfort, fit, experiences with stereotyping, and the extent to which different campus/community groups value diversity were similar across the surveys, with the exception that the 1998 survey focused exclusively on race/ethnicity. Both the 2001 and 2006 surveys were administered via the Web, whereas the 1998 survey was a paper instrument.
The student climate survey has benefited from the input of many people. For example, the posting for the 2001 survey states "The student climate survey was developed and administered by PBA on behalf of Ofelia Miramontes, Associate Vice Chancellor Diversity and Equity. We wish to acknowledge the contributions of Ofelia, MaryAnn Sergeant (also of Diversity and Equity), and Beverly Tuel, former director of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center, in assisting with the development of the climate questionnaire. We also wish to thank Elease Robbins, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, for reviewing and commenting on the final draft of the questionnaire."
Planning for the Fall 2010 Survey
As we prepared for the fall 2010 survey, we continued our practice of soliciting input from a broad spectrum of groups and individuals. A Student Social Climate Survey Advisory Board (PDF available) was formed and ultimately had 23 members:
*Vice Chancellor McKee left CU-Boulder soon after the Advisory Board was formed.
**Amanda Griffin Linsenmeyer joined the Advisory Board in spring 2011.
A second meeting of the Advisory Board was held on May 5, 2010. It was intended to continue planning efforts, and notes from that meeting are also available.
The Advisory Board reviewed drafts of the 2010 questionnaire at both meetings. One of the tasks at the second meeting was to review a draft document describing the purposes of the Student Social Climate Survey and steps that the Advisory Board could take toward meeting those purposes. The purposes document was revised slightly following the meeting.
On July 15, 2010, a meeting was held to update three new Advisory Board members, all members of the CU-Boulder faculty. The new members reviewed the questionnaire and offered to draft items related to diversity of the curriculum and diversity issues in the classroom. These items were added to a preliminary draft of the questionnaire, which was reviewed at the third (August 27, 2010) meeting of the Advisory Board. Following that meeting, online versions of the questionnaire were made available to all board members for further review. Comments and suggestions were collected, and incorporated into a final draft of the questionnaire.
The Advisory Board accomplished several key tasks. These include:
University Communications assisted Planning, Budget, and Analysis (PBA) in encouraging students to participate in the survey. Staff members from University Communications prepared and distributed a flyer, posted messages on digital message boards throughout campus, set up an informational table at the UMC, created a video about the survey, and engaged in other activities to draw students' attention to the survey. PBA posted an informational page to assist students in accessing the online questionnaire.
Inducements to respond were offered to students. Students who completed a questionnaire were eligible to win one of five prizes, in the form of either $500 or an iPad. One prize was awarded to a randomly chosen student in each class level (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, graduate study). The prize winners are listed here.
Email invitations, asking for participation in the survey and containing a link to the online questionnaire, were sent by PBA to all enrolled, degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students (including those in Law) on October 25 and 26, 2010. Between November 2 and 5, a first reminder email was sent to all students who had not yet responded. A second reminder email was sent on November 15 and 16, and a third reminder was sent on November 22 and 23. Data collection ended on November 30, 2010.
The graph below illustrates that increases in students' responses to the questionnaire generally coincided with their receipt of emails inviting/reminding them to participate in the survey. University Communications' efforts to engage students were at their highest on November 16, which was also a day on which email reminders were sent by PBA. The percentage of responses received on this day is higher than might be expected, and is likely attributable to University Communications' efforts.
A total of 8,768 students, representing 29% of all surveyed students in the population, accessed the questionnaire. However, 991 students did not provide any data (i.e., the majority viewed only the instructions page of the questionnaire and went no further, and a handful of others submitted only blank pages). The total number of students who completed the questionnaire is therefore 7,777 (26% of the population). Separate response rate tables are provided; one for all students who accessed the questionnaire (even if they did not provide data), and another for only those students who completed the questionnaire.
As can be seen in the response rate tables, graduate students completed the questionnaire at a higher rate than did undergraduates (32% vs. 25%, respectively). This is not surprising, and is typically observed in other surveys administered by PBA. Asian-American students completed the questionnaire at a slightly higher rate than did other racial/ethnic groups (29% vs. 25%-27%), and students enrolled in the College of Engineering and Applied Science were more likely to complete the questionnaire than were students in other colleges and schools (32% vs. 24%-29%).
Last revision 05/18/11
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