Climate survey results show opportunities for improvement on K-State campus

Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Bryan Samuel speaks at the 3rd annual KSUnite event located in the Union Ballroom on Nov. 6, 2019 (Archive photo by Dylan Connell I Collegian Media Group)

During the last spring semester, students, faculty, staff and administrators received the 2020 Kansas State University Climate Survey. A majority of respondents indicated they are “very comfortable or comfortable” with the campus climate.

The survey asked a broad range of questions related to organizational climate and overall comfort level in and around the K-State campus.

Other areas the survey touched on included diversity training and recruitment, welcoming and respect, interaction, safety, belongingness and value and overall support.

The survey reached over 26,000 members of the K-State community and had a 26 percent response rate. Among the 7,000 responses, nearly 4,000 students took part in completing the survey.

“I was truly surprised at the high level of participation, particularly among employees, but also among students,” Bryan Samuel, chief diversity and inclusion officer, said. “Everyone had an opportunity to participate — faculty, staff, administrators were engaged.”

The university designed the survey not only to help improve the experience of the university’s community, but also the well-being of it by measuring how diversity and inclusion play a crucial role at the university.

In addition to providing information about the positive aspects of the campus climate, participants also offered suggestions for change about the challenging aspects found around campus.

The majority of the respondents said they were “very comfortable or comfortable” with the climate at K-State. However, other areas of the survey showed the university’s capability of improving.

The executive summary of the survey, by associate provost for institutional research Bin Ning, lays out those areas of improvement.

Summary of Opportunities

  • Make physical improvements for campus safety and accessibility.
  • Create and communicate a better mechanism/process for reporting issues and concerns.
  • Improve the consistency of policy and practice regarding climate-related issues across all units.
  • Continue to promote a broader conversation among different interest groups within the University, as well as between K-State campus and surrounding communities.
  • Focus on areas that have a broader impact on campus climate, such as sexual harassment/bullying/inappropriate behaviors prevention and improving intercultural understanding, respect and tolerance.
  • Continue to improve the survey instrument and methodologies.

Samuel said he would like to see some type of survey distributed out every year.

“Perhaps it’s [about] climate, perhaps it’s Title IX — sexual assault, perhaps it’s gender equity,” Samuel said. “In that way, we continually assess, get information and develop strategies and initiatives to address whatever issues may be uncovered.”

However, surveys cost money and resources, so an annual survey distribution is unlikely at this time.

There is no set plan for the next survey regarding climate on the K-State campus. However, future surveys may include more categories such as financial impact, university life, surrounding community and academic climate.

My name is Sean Schaper, and I'm the news editor for the Collegian. I’m a junior in journalism with a secondary focus in film studies. I grew up right outside of Kansas City in Leawood, Kansas. As a first-generation K-Stater, I look forward to leaving behind accurate coverage for the current and future Wildcat community.