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CU-Boulder's Climate At A Glance

In fall 2001, we asked a random sample of 998 undergraduate and 300 graduate students to tell us about:

  • their level of comfort on the Boulder campus and in the community
  • the extent to which they feel they fit in and are welcome at UCB
  • their experiences with stereotyping
  • how often they hear negative remarks or see negative behaviors targeted at members of certain groups.

Web-based questionnaires were completed by 469 undergraduates and 172 graduate students, for an overall response rate of 49%. Highlights from the survey are presented below. Data have been weighted to account for oversampling of ethnic/minority students so that overall results represent the general campus population.

Overall, students rate the campus as friendly and welcoming. Nearly all graduate and undergraduate students feel accepted on campus and view the campus environment as friendly and welcoming. Few students indicate that they feel physically threatened on campus; few ever feel left out or disconnected from campus academic and social life.

Campus friendly and welcoming graph
Note: friendly items assess the extent to which experiences inside and outside the classroom are friendly; shown is the percent of students who say "pretty much" or "very much."

Students are generally comfortable in class and rate the classroom environment quite favorably. While a majority of students are comfortable being in class and interacting with faculty, this is particularly true for graduate students. Fewer students, but still a majority, are comfortable expressing their views in class.

Comfort in class graph

Students generally believe faculty do a good job maintaining a civil and non-threatening environment inside the classroom. Rarely do they report hearing faculty make disparaging remarks about members of various groups. In addition, three out of four undergraduates and over 85% of graduate students indicate that faculty value diversity.

Climate inside the classroom graph

How much do groups value, accept diversity

Students view the climate outside the classroom slightly less favorably than the climate in academic settings. That being said, the climate outside the classroom is still rated as quite civil, respectful, and accessible. Fortunately, students who see the climate as homophobic, racist, or sexist are a small minority. Even so, one in five undergraduates (22%) indicate that the environment outside of class is quite homophobic.

Climate outside the classroom graph

While students rarely hear faculty make disparaging remarks, this is not the case for fellow students. Students rate other students as valuing diversity less than faculty, staff, and administrators. One in five undergraduates report "often" or "constantly" hearing other students make disparaging comments targeted at the gay community; nearly as many undergraduates "often" or "constantly" hear negative remarks targeted at people with strong religious beliefs. Far fewer graduate students report hearing such remarks from their fellow students.

How often hear faculty make disparaging remarks How often hear students make disparaging remarks

Undergraduates are slightly more likely than graduate students to indicate a willingness to challenge derogatory remarks. They are most likely to do so for remarks targeted at ethnic group members and persons with disabilities. However, the class level difference is due mostly to the fact that a higher proportion of graduate students are foreign. Survey results show that foreign students as a whole are less likely to challenge others.

Likelihood of challenging disparaging remarks

Both undergraduate and graduate students indicate a high degree of comfort in campus and community social settings. The highest comfort rating is for shopping and eating in Boulder; the rec center also received a high comfort rating from about three-quarters of the students.

Many of the social settings included on the survey are rated more highly by undergraduates than by graduate students. Graduate students are far less comfortable participating in campus social activities and hanging out on the Hill (i.e., University Hill residential/commercial area adjacent to campus). Many of the campus social activities are geared toward undergraduate sensibilities, as perhaps they should be given that undergraduates comprise more than 80% of the student population. For all students, interactions with city and campus police are deemed least comfortable. This is most pronounced for undergraduates. Other data available in our office indicate that undergraduates are more likely than graduate students to get in trouble with city and university police.

Comfort in social settings

Data tables for graphs

Campus Climate Survey 2001 Table of Contents

l:\ir\survey\climate\climate01\report\At A Glance.doc last updated 6/14/02
Data source: L ir survey climate climate01 analy layout_bylevel.xls, May 2002

Last revision 05/02/16

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