Campus Climate Committee

In its 2015-16 report, Colby’s Presidential Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity points out that, while the College has considerable information about the demographics of its student, faculty, and staff community, it lacks formal data/assessment about the experiences of our diverse community members once they arrive on campus.

Hence, the task force recommends that the College conduct an in-depth campus climate survey to establish a fuller and more complex assessment of the experiences of all members of the community.

According to the task force report, the results of such a study are one important tool that will help us understand the ways our policies, procedures, and practices can more effectively support our efforts to create a meaningful, inclusive, and equitable community.

Acting on the task force recommendation, the dean of the College led efforts to develop and conduct a climate survey for Colby in the spring of 2017.

During the fall semester, the Dean of the College’s Office, in partnership with the Provost’s Office, hosted 27 forums across campus. From those sessions, we gathered feedback to the task force report and suggestions for the climate survey from the Colby community.

It is in the context of strong community support for a comprehensive climate survey that the dean of the College has convened the Climate Survey Working Committee, whose broad charge is to help shape both the survey and the plan for implementation.

In addition, the working committee will work with Micere Keels, associate professor of comparative human development at the University of Chicago, who has been invited to draft the survey in consultation with the working committee.

The Climate Survey Working Committee will also be tasked with:

  • Reviewing and assessing community feedback from the multiple forums conducted in the fall
  • Identifying areas and issues of high community concern from the feedback
  • Identifying and reviewing climate survey models from peer institutions
  • Consulting with Micere Keels in drafting questions for the survey
  • Offering feedback on an implementation plan for the survey with the aim of garnering a high participation rate
  • Assisting to identify and prioritize specific survey questions that will be presented in a preliminary report
  • Offering constructive feedback on a draft of the preliminary report
  • Offering constructive feedback on final report

Campus Climate FAQ

According to Sue Rankin, campus climate is “the current attitudes, behaviors, and standards of faculty, staff, administrators, and students concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities, and potential.” In this context, campus climate influences and shapes how individuals and groups experience the environment of the community in terms of feeling more or less respected, included, and safe.

A campus climate survey is an assessment tool used to gather information about the experiences of community members. The data gathered will provide important information about how different community members feel included and excluded in the environment (or campus climate).

Its purpose is to learn whether the College is meeting its goals for creating an inclusive, equitable, and safe community for all its members. By analyzing the data gathered, we will be able to develop a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of both our achievements in and challenges to inclusive excellence.

All experiences and voices add to the campus climate. Because we all come from diverse backgrounds, how we see and interact with the world might look and feel different. Gathering information from every member of our community will help us to better understand and learn from each other the ways in which we work well together and the areas that need improvement.

All community members who are students and/or employees of the College will receive an invitation to participate in the 2017 Colby Climate Survey.

In an anonymous survey, there is no way to connect you to your survey answers. Staff and faculty were given anonymous surveys. A confidential survey means that staff members from Colby’s Institutional Research Office are the only people who can connect responses provided by an individual to the Colby database. The student survey is confidential. However, for this survey, your link will only be used to populate some additional demographic information about you, such as major, home state or country, or class year, for example. In both cases, if you choose to provide comments about your experiences, any personally identifying information will be deleted in reports of the survey results.

Once the survey is completed, the results will be used to improve programs and services for students, faculty, and staff, to inform policy decisions, and to identify and prioritize strategic initiatives to advance Colby’s mission of creating an engaging, respectful, inclusive, equitable, and safe campus community for all its members.

We will develop a webpage dedicated to campus climate findings and developments where community members will have access to survey data and can share their questions and concerns through an online community input form.  As our efforts continue, the website will include a summary of recommendations as well as a timeline for implementation. We will issue a preliminary report before the end of the semester and draft a more comprehensive report during summer 2017. The report will be presented in multiple forums during the fall 2017 semester.