This Q&A is divided into three portions: general questions about the survey and methodology, questions answered during the town hall forums, and questions answered after the town hall forums.
What is campus climate? Why does it matter?
Pennsylvania State University professor Susan Rankin, the lead consultant on our Campus Climate Survey Team, defines campus climate as “the current attitudes, behaviors and standards of faculty, staff, administrators and students concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities and potential.”
“Respect” is one of the most critical words in this description. It’s not just the experience of individuals and groups on a campus; it’s also the quality and extent of the interaction among those various groups and individuals that determines a healthy campus climate.
Diversity and inclusion are extremely important aspects of campus climate. So why does campus climate matter? What makes it so important? Why are respect, diversity and inclusion so critical? That depends on the audience.
How does campus climate affect students?
Numerous studies have concluded that how students experience their campus environment influences both learning and developmental outcomes and that discriminatory environments have a negative effect on student learning. Research supports the value of a diverse student body and faculty on enhancing learning outcomes. Quite simply, students thrive in healthy environments, free of the negativity of discrimination, where inclusion and respect for diversity is the daily norm.
How does campus climate affect faculty and staff?
Faculty members, administrators and staff members are significantly impacted by campus climate. According to workplace studies, the personal and professional development of professionals is greatly enhanced through a healthy working environment. Research suggests that faculty members who consider their campus climate healthy and inclusive are more likely to feel personally and professionally supported. Research also indicates that there is a direct relationship between workplace discrimination and negative job and career attitudes. In addition, faculty and staff who have encountered prejudice directly attribute its negative effects to decreased health and well-being. Creating a healthy campus climate is as important for faculty and staff as it is for students.
Why is a positive climate important?
Dr. Rankin’s research maintains that positive personal experiences with university climate and positive perceptions of university climate generally equate to positive educational experiences and healthy identity development for students, productivity and sense of value for faculty and staff, and overall well-being for all. These factors impact student retention and graduation rates, as well as employee turnover.
Why did MU conduct a climate survey?
Assessing the climate at MU is critical for us to be able to improve our learning and working environment. MU has conducted periodic climate studies since 2001, and plans were in the works in spring 2015 to conduct a new survey. At the same time, the University of Missouri–Kansas City was also planning to conduct a climate survey. In order to leverage resources and gain valuable information from all campuses, the University of Missouri System decided in spring 2016 to expand the survey to all four UM System campuses and system administration offices. The Systemwide Climate Study Team, consisting of representatives from all campuses, began meeting in June to develop plans for survey administration.
Why aren’t MU Health Care employees included?
Hospital employees participated in a survey administered by Gallup in January 2017. The Gallup survey includes climate-related questions.
How is the Campus Climate Survey different from the recent diversity audit?
The recent diversity, equity and inclusion audit focused on critically and honestly assessing policies, procedures and practices across the UM System through focus groups and online surveys of randomly selected individuals. The Campus Climate Survey is focused on living and working on campus beyond policies and procedures and all students, faculty and staff are invited to participate through an online survey. View past climate survey results.
What is the timeline?
Survey development took place in spring and summer 2016 and the survey was administered in October 2016. The results were presented to our campus community via town halls on Sept. 12-13, 2017. Going forward, an expanded local climate survey team will lead the development of strategic actions (spring 2018) and initial implementation of actions (2018).
What will be done with data from the results?
Rankin & Associates analyzed the data and provided an executive summary, as well as the full report, to the entire campus community and UM System constituencies. All stakeholders, including students, faculty and staff, will be represented as the campus determines post-survey action initiatives.
Past climate surveys have resulted in the creation of the chief diversity officer position, Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative, and the Equity Office, which was one of the first in the nation to track bias incidents on campus. All of these areas, plus the Office for Civil Rights & Title IX, are now part of the Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity (IDE).
Other important developments include the creation of a domestic partner benefit policy and the inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression as part of the university’s non-discrimination policy. Past surveys also identified the critical need for the Black Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies programs to become full-fledged departments. Both programs are now departments within the College of Arts and Science.
Who conducted the survey?
Rankin & Associates Consulting was selected to conduct the survey for the University of Missouri System. The consultant has administered climate assessments to more than 150 institutions across the nation, including the University of California and University of Wisconsin systems.
Survey administration is being supported by the Systemwide Climate Study Team and MU Campus Climate Survey Steering Committee, which consists of faculty, staff and student representatives from various constituent groups at MU.
Why was a non-MU researcher selected for the project?
In reviewing efforts by other universities to conduct comprehensive climate studies, several best practices were identified. One was the need for external expertise in survey administration. The administration of a survey relating to a very sensitive subject like campus climate is likely to yield higher response rates and provide more credible findings if led by an independent, outside agency. Members of a university community may be reluctant to respond honestly to a survey administered by their own institution for fear of retaliation.
How were the questions developed?
The consultant has administered climate assessments to more than 150 institutions across the nation and developed a repository of tested questions. To maintain consistency among the campuses within the UM System, the Systemwide Climate Study Team agreed on a common set of questions provided by Rankin & Associates.
What is the Institutional Review Board process for this study?
The primary investigator from MU for the Institutional Review Board process is Mardy Eimers, vice provost for institutional research and quality improvement. An IRB application was submitted and approved for survey to be administered.
What is included in the final summary report?
The consultant will provide a final report that will include: an executive summary; a report narrative of the findings based on cross-tabulations selected by the consultant; frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations of quantitative data; and content analysis of the textual data. The reports provide high-level summaries of the findings and will identify themes found in the data. Generalizations for populations are limited to those groups or subgroups with response rates of at least 30 percent.
What’s the history of climate surveys at MU?
While this is a different instrument being used, MU has conducted periodic surveys of the campus climate dating back to 2001.
What security measures were taken to protect respondent confidentiality?
Confidentiality is vital to the success of campus climate research, particularly as sensitive and personal topics are discussed. While the survey cannot guarantee complete confidentiality because of the nature of multiple demographic questions, the consultant will take multiple precautionary measures to enhance individual confidentiality and the de-identification of data. No data already protected through regulation or policy (e.g., Social Security number, campus identification number, medical information) is obtained through the survey. In the event of any publication or presentation resulting from the assessment, no personally identifiable information will be shared.
Confidentiality in participating will be maintained to the highest degree permitted by the technology used (e.g., IP addresses will be stripped when the survey is submitted). No guarantees can be made regarding the interception of data sent via the Internet by any third parties; however, to avoid interception of data, the survey is run on a firewalled web server dedicated to Rankin with forced 256-bit SSL security. In addition, the consultant and university will not report any group data for groups of fewer than five individuals, because those cell sizes may be small enough to compromise confidentiality. Instead, the consultant and university will combine the groups or take other measures to eliminate any potential for demographic information to be identifiable. Additionally, any comments submitted in response to the survey will be separated at the time of submission to the consultant so they are not attributed to any individual demographic characteristics. Identifiable information submitted in qualitative comments will be redacted, and the university will only receive these redacted comments.
Participation in the survey is completely voluntary, and participants do not have to answer any question — except the first positioning question (staff, faculty, student) — and can skip any other questions they consider to be uncomfortable. Paper and pencil surveys are also available and will be sent directly to the consultant.
Information in the introductory section of the survey will describe the manner in which confidentiality will be guaranteed, and additional communication to participants will provide expanded information on the nature of confidentiality, possible threats to confidentiality and procedures developed to ensure de-identification of data.
What protections are in place for storage of sensitive data, including for future secondary use?
MU has worked with the consultant to develop a research data security description and protocol, which includes specific information on data encryption, the handling of personally identifiable information, physical security and a protocol for handling unlikely breaches of data security. The data from online participants will be submitted to a secure server hosted by the consultant. The survey is run on a firewalled web server with forced 256-bit SSL security and is stored on a SQL database that can only be accessed locally. The server itself may only be accessed using encrypted SSH connections originating from the local network. Rankin & Associates Consulting project coordinator Susan Rankin will have access to the raw data, along with several Rankin & Associates data analysts. All Rankin & Associates analysts have CITI (Human Subjects) training and approval and have worked on similar projects for other institutions. The web server runs with the SE-Linux security extensions that were developed by the National Security Agency. The server is also in RAID to highly reduce the chance of any data loss due to hardware failure. The server performs a nightly security audit from data acquired via the system logs and notifies the administrators. The number of system administrators will be limited, and each will have had required background checks.
The consultant has conducted more than 150 institutional surveys and maintains an aggregate merged database. The data from the MU project will be merged with all other existing climate data stored indefinitely on the consultant’s secure server. No institutional identifiers are included in the full merged data set held by the consultant. The raw unit-level data with institutional identifiers is kept on the server for six months and then destroyed. Paper surveys are returned to the consultant directly and kept in a locked file drawer in a locked office. The consultant destroys the paper responses after they are merged with the online data. The consultant will notify the committee chairs of any breach or suspected breach of data security of the consultant’s server.
Why is this a population survey and not a sample survey?
The survey will be administered to all students, faculty and staff at MU. Climate exists in microclimates, so creating opportunities to maximize participation is important, as well as maximizing opportunities to reach minority populations. Along these lines, the consultant has recommended not using random sampling, as we may miss particular populations where numbers are very small (e.g., Native American faculty). Since one goal of the project is inclusiveness and allowing invisible voices to be heard, this sampling technique is not used. In addition, randomized stratified sampling is not used because we do not have population data on most identities. For example, MU collects population data on gender and race/ethnicity but not on disability status or sexual orientation, so a sample approach could miss many groups.
How do I provide feedback?
Your questions and comments are very important as we move through this process. Please share any feedback that you may have with Tara Warne-Griggs, Senior Diversity Assessment & Research Management Consultant, at email@example.com or 573-882-9617.
Questions answered during town halls
Thirty-eight (38) percent of students reported they have seriously considered leaving MU. Simultaneously, student organizations are facing budget cuts. Is there a correlation between the two, and how will the university work to fix this? Studies have shown that students who get involved with organizations or engage on campus have a positive student experience and a better sense of belonging. Mizzou is dedicated to ensuring this because students who are engaged are more successful in their academic pursuits.
Some examples of how Mizzou works to get students engaged include:
- Student organizations—MU has more than 600 student organizations. If you have a passion, there is a student organization for you.
- Freshmen Interest Groups—FIGS are groups of 20 or fewer students who share common interests and are co-enrolled in three classes their first semester. Our own research has shown that students enrolled in FIGS are much more likely to have a successful academic career.
While funding has declined, we have not experienced a decline in student organizations nor involvement. Mizzou will continue to support these programs.
Eighty-six percent of Mizzou students are involved in at least one student-led program, and 29 percent of students report high engagement. Engaged students not only report a higher sense of belonging, but also report they are gaining transferable career skills from these experiences.
Is there intent to review or reform current mental illness resources? Is the demand for student counseling being met? Is there intent to provide new mental health support?
Since 2015, MU has invested more than $300,000 in the Counseling Center, and the Student Services Enhancement Fee has enabled the Counseling Center to hire one new psychologist this semester and begin hiring for an additional two permanent positions in December.
Additionally, the College of Veterinary Medicine began funding a full-time Counseling Center psychologist who is housed in the Veterinary Medicine Building and meets with students and fellows whose class schedules and clinic requirements would preclude them from getting across campus for appointments. The Disability Center also funds a part-time position to serve students with disabilities.
Both the Counseling Center and Student Health Center continue to examine staffing ratios and resources to maximize student mental health services. Both departments have increased educational programming to improve student well-being and resilience, which can help reduce mental health crises.
Finally, Counseling Center employees have trained 450 faculty, staff and graduate assistants to help them identify the signs of mental illness and provide them with tips on how to respond.
Is there a current plan to address status of buildings on or belonging to campus?
MU has a master plan that includes every building on campus or owned by the university. This plan is reviewed each year and adjustments are made as necessary.
Currently, MU officials are working with two committees — the Space Utilization Committee and the Campus Planning Committee — on a process to assess each building and analyze the campus’ needs relative to our buildings. We will be providing details of the process later this semester. We want to make sure we are using our buildings in the best way that makes sense for our missions of education and research while also being fiscally responsible stewards of our resources.
In the full report, is the data disaggregated by colleges or departments?
Rankin & Associates do not provide unit level analysis. However, the full survey data was provided to the university and we plan to review it more narrowly, including a focus on individual units. The Office of Institutional Research is taking the lead and will have a more information soon.
What can the survey tell us specifically about the climate for women on this campus, and how can we use the findings to better promote the status and equity of women on campus?
There are committees on this campus that have been working on this issue for a very long time, and our first step will be to ask them for their input. In addition, we have exponentially grown the female senior leadership on our campus and will rely on them heavily as well. As action plans are developed, it will be important to understand the ways in which gender intersects with other identities. These include factors such as people’s role at the university (faculty, staff, student), where they live or work, race, ethnicity, disability and more.
From several thematic questions about faculty salaries: If competitive faculty salaries are a priority as the administration claims, why are they capped at 2 percent for the coming year even for faculty who obtained the majority of their salary through grants?
This question reflects an inaccurate perception about salary increases. They are not capped at 2 percent. A limited number of raises were offered last year. These raises were either market corrections, retention-based, and/or performance-based. Moving forward, if budgets allow, there will be a focus on providing more merit increases for faculty and staff members.
Are there any plans to make campus more accessible for people with disabilities? Are specific accommodation needs in the classroom being addressed? Is there flexibility to support students even if it’s a compromise? Is there intent to provide new disability support?
Students are supported by a dedicated office. The Disability Center is responsible for ensuring that students with disabilities are afforded equal access and opportunity to pursue education. Accommodations are determined on an individual basis using an interactive process, and consideration must be given to the context within which they will be used. In situations that involve requests that are less common, involve more complexity, or where flexibility is a component of a requested accommodation, the Disability Center will work collaboratively with an instructor and/or an academic department to determine an appropriate accommodation. For more information, visit the Disability Center website.
For faculty and staff, a central fund within the Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity supports workplace accommodations for those with disabilities. This is one of several initiatives created in recent years to provide additional support to persons (faculty, staff, students, and visitors) with disabilities at MU. Other examples includes:
- installation of accessibility signage campus-wide, making it easier for disabled individuals to locate accessible pathways and building features;
- creation of a faculty mentor program for students with disabilities (enhancing students’ sense of belonging);
- approval of additional space for accommodated testing for students with disabilities; and,
- the adoption of the policy on Digital Accessibility of Communications and Information Technology (BPPM 13:010) which establishes expectations and guidelines for creating a digitally accessible campus for everyone.
From several questions on the topic: If Title IX protections are rescinded, what will MU do to offer support to victims? Why has there been no public response to the deregulation of policies and practices of Title IX and Betsy Devos’ response? Can you guarantee their protection? Are you prepared to combat these changes if they do occur? How will retaliation or retribution be handled?
It’s important to note that the laws surrounding Title IX protections and laws pertaining to human resources retaliation have not changed. We continue to protect the Mizzou community from discrimination, sexual misconduct, harassment and/or retaliation. Discrimination is not only against the law; it violates Mizzou’s core values. We will continue to monitor the national conversation — both to ensure we’re in compliance with the law and also to keep our community’s well-being a priority. Those who do not uphold the law or our policies will be held accountable.
How does administration plan on increasing integration throughout the campus? Many different traditions on campus contradict each other.
The Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity has crafted the Inclusive Excellence Framework which outlines strategies that seek to:
- increase student enrollment of historically underrepresented/underserved populations
- recruit and retain a more diverse faculty and staff
- create a climate that is supportive and respectful which values differing perspectives.
We will utilize these strategies to engage in additional conversations, to raise the importance of valuing differences on campus and to ultimately leverage those differences and increase inclusion.
Seeing that students’ lack of a sense of belonging is their main reason for leaving Mizzou, how will the university curb this sentiment? What will the university do in response to situations that threaten the identities of students?
We have a lot to offer students including more than 600 student organizations and, annually, more than 1,400 social, educational and cultural events. Having said that, it is important to understand what is currently available and what still needs to be developed. We’re proud of students for not only identifying issues but actively working toward solutions. Peer groups are an important component of people’s sense of belonging; faculty and staff can play a role, but most opportunities come through interactions with friends and peers. We need to be thinking about what we facilitate and what types of groups we create. Additional opportunities are needed for students to come together around experiences beyond the classroom that they enjoy and allow them to get together with others they can identify with.
How do we balance freedom of speech with students’ need to feel safe?
Mizzou recently issued our commitment to free expression, and it was expanded to include the UM System. We’re proud that our faculty led the way on this initiative. Mizzou is a place where we should have difficult conversations and challenge each other to bring out the very best in learning, teaching and engagement. Hateful speech or speech designed to hurt another individual will not be not tolerated. People come to this university because of the belief that free expression is the foundation of our democracy. The variety of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives pave the way for new and innovative ideas both in and beyond the classroom.
Will individual comments from the report be shared when the report comes out and will data be shared so people can conduct investigations about the problem areas?
Individual comments are available for members of the MU campus.
What is the percentage of students of color who vote or are involved in MSA? Do we have the diverse voices of our students represented?
MSA does not obtain the racial breakdown of those who vote. However, in an effort to be as inclusive as possible, Missouri Student Association (MSA) Senate, the Legion of Black Collegians (LBC) and other student groups have begun to work together. First, the MSA and LBC student groups have scheduled their meetings on alternating Wednesdays so the meetings are not competing with one another, ensuring that students who want to voice their opinions to MSA and LBC can do so. Also this year, the groups are teaming up to host a Know-Your-Rights event.
From several questions on the topic of morale: What does the report tell us about morale? How do you see MU addressing the issue of low staff morale, pay and lack of upward mobility on campus? Can morale issues improve if people fear losing their jobs?
Morale is not where we want it to be. One key component is that people want to feel valued and have a sense of belonging. We will be working toward ways in which we recognize the contributions of our people. That means recognizing their contributions financially through salaries, but also recognizing them in other ways, including pathways to improve and move into other positions. It’s a challenging time, but it’s especially important to think about how we recognize our staff, faculty, and everybody who works hard to make this a great institution.
What is the best course of action if a student is harassed or singled out by an instructor due to religion or attire?
It is appropriate to immediately reach out to the Office for Civil Rights & Title IX. We have processes laid out for student complaints, staff complaints and faculty complaints (reporting procedures can be found here). We follow strict guidelines for confidentiality and understand the concerns involved in reporting a faculty member, especially for students. We have individuals who are available to listen to concerns and help.
From several contrasting questions on the topic: It seems that the wonderful programming being offered around diversity, respect and difficult conversations may be “preaching to the choir.” How are we incentivizing those not bent on inclusiveness to participate? How do we question or criticize diversity programming without putting people on the defensive?
The Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity is working collaboratively with academic, administrative and local community organizations to create opportunities to engage with subject matter on diversity and inclusion. This approach has enabled IDE to broaden its reach and impact, but it has also allowed it to explore a variety of offerings that will allow it to engage as many people as possible. From credit bearing courses, to community conversations, the collaborative approach is broadening IDE’s collaborative reach and involving a wider audience not previously connected to these efforts/conversations. We anticipate that this growth will continue.
Will employees be allowed to evaluate their supervisors to improve equity?
Research shows that the best way to improve is to get the feedback from those who serve with us, above us, and below us. The university will be looking into adapting annual 360 evaluations for employees.
How are administrators planning on improving relationships with students? Does this lead to a better shared governance model?
Effectively engaging our student, staff and faculty populations, as well as our local community and our alumni, allows us to gain perspectives that help us shape our efforts and vision around equity and inclusion. Many deans frequently hold town halls to talk with students about new initiatives and issues that students are facing; senior administration is encouraging all deans to do likewise. Additionally, senior administrators have pledged to make themselves available to not only meet with MSA, but all student groups so we can better understand the issues students are facing — as well as the positive experiences they’re having. These conversations will help leaders know where to continue to make investments or correct problems. Mizzou administrators want to be able to celebrate successes, understand challenges, and try to help in any way possible.
From several questions on the topic of inclusivity: With the current political and cultural landscape, what is being done to ensure our students, staff and faculty are supported beyond just reactively reporting incidents? What steps are being taken to ensure our diverse populations experience an inclusive campus?
Current events are causing fear about legal parameters, safety and other issues for many people. Now more than ever, creating an inclusive environment should be a major emphasis for everyone at MU. The Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity is partnering with academic units to process the impact of some national and global events on our MU community; most recently, IDE partnered with the Religious Studies department to plan an event (scheduled for this fall) addressing issues facing our Muslim population. Additionally, there are opportunities we can take as community members to focus on providing microaffirmations (subtle acts of kindness, which research has shown to be effective in combating microagressions) to help build a sense of belonging for everyone.
From several questions on the topic of retaliation and retribution: There are concerns the administration is involved in retaliation and retribution of people who report issues. Data shows people are not comfortable using university resources, and privacy is a concern. Who will monitor leadership and hold them accountable?
Senior administrators are committed to holding all managers accountable. If a person reports an incident in which they feel harassed, excluded or assaulted, retaliation or retribution will not be tolerated. Anyone experiencing retaliation can bring the matter to the attention of senior leaders, and we will look into the situation.
Did the report give any data on the frequency of cronyism or nepotism, and are there plans to address or mitigate instances of it?
The notion of cronyism and nepotism was mentioned, especially in regards to the perceptions of hiring, firing and promotions. (Individual experiences can be read here.) Nepotism or cronyism are not consistent with our core values and are not sanctioned by leaders. Anyone witnessing nepotism or cronyism is encouraged to report the event through HR or other proper channels.
On what level are we solving societal problems that are broader than MU?
As a land-grant institution, serving our community, state and society is part of our blueprint. In addition, universities are a source for challenging conversations – honoring free expression while expanding perspectives and knowledge. We encourage our students to challenge the status quo, and we should continue to do so.
Moreover, Mizzou’s population is a microcosm of society, and we are facing similar challenges to society at large. We are positioned to have frank dialogues about difficult issues, and if we do so while living out our core values of Respect, Responsibility, Discovery and Excellence, we can find answers and solve issues. It is also important to recognize that the answers won’t be discovered by a single person – they will come from us working together, innovatively, as a community.
Questions not answered during town halls
How will the climate survey accurately examine the feelings of all students on campus when majority of respondees were white?
All students had the opportunity to take the survey, and approximately 6,000 students did. The Rankin and Associates report breaks down student responses based on a number of demographic factors, including race. Responses and feelings of students other than white students can be found in the report.
Dr. Cunningham suggested that 80 percent endorsement (of strengths, etc.) is a good benchmark. Given that more than 80 percent of respondents were majority culture, it seems important to use that benchmark with subgroup analyses by gender, race, ethnicity, etc. as well. We saw a few of those, but will the report provide more? It is important that we not congratulate ourselves for keeping individuals of status or privilege happy and continuing to attend less to others.
Rankin and Associates has also analyzed and included the “80% threshold” with several groups of respondents (students, faculty, staff, other, etc.) broken out by specific demographic characteristics. We are committed to ensure that all of our campus community members’ needs and concerns are addressed and attended to.
Will there be education for students, faculty and staff how to appropriately interact with trans-spectrum individuals?
The LGBTQ Resource Center provides education, programs, and consultations on creating inclusive and welcoming environment for students within LGBTQ communities, including trans students. It has been providing these services for more than 20 years. Any individual wishing to request education for a specific office, group, or organization on trans inclusion may do so through the LGBTQ Resource Center’s Safe Space Program (request form located here). Individuals not affiliated with a group may attend our open training, held once a month during the academic semester. You can find these on the calendar of events.
Additionally, during the month of November the LGBTQ Resource Center holds Transgender Empowerment & Awareness Week, which aims to educate the campus community on issues and current events affecting the Trans community. All are welcome to those events, to be published later this semester.
Will information from this current survey be updated with new sets of data in the future?
The information will be updated on a 3-to-5-year basis. This is the amount of time recommended by Rankin and Associates to determine whether changes made as a result of the survey are having the intended results.
From the presentation, it sounds like doing the right thing for improving campus climate is “political.” Who in our administration has the courage to take these risks and name the problems we have instead of talking about our strengths?
Upholding the institution’s values is the right thing to do. In that sense, it is not political. In addition, public universities should be the place where differing opinions to challenges are heard, and where an environment of open but respectful dialogue and discussion is fostered and protected. Leaders must be transparent in their decision-making process and provide opportunities for input. Finally, it is important to talk about our strengths because we are in a media environment that is overly focused on the negative.
How much of the university’s problems stem from common lethargy or human selfishness?
Similar to other organizations our size, it is possible that both conditions contribute to some of our challenges. They do not, however, reflect the priorities of our leaders.
What proactive measures is the university taking to ensure campus climate is considered if a controversial entity decides to visit Mizzou? How is senior leadership ensuring that students, faculty, and staff are prepared to handle situations seen at the University of Virginia and many other institutions across the country?
We have revamped our policies related to free speech in light of legislation that was passed by the Missouri General Assembly in 2016. This ensures that free speech is protected on campus, but also provides us with the opportunity to clarify areas (such as Residence Halls or the Hospital) that are not considered free speech zones. Campus police have clearer guidelines now on what is allowed in various areas, with a priority of not enabling demonstrators to disrupt the daily activities of a public university.
Working through the office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, we also have embarked on a process of building stronger relationships with the leadership of many student organizations and groups so that they understand our regulations as it may apply to any event they are planning. And we have encouraged leaders from the various groups to have dialogue to help build awareness. Through these efforts, the institution is much better prepared for situations where controversial speakers may be invited to speak.
Finally, campus leadership is stepping up communication efforts based on the institution’s values of Respect, Responsibility, Discovery and Excellence to emphasize the importance of peaceful discourse.
Are you concerned that this survey is not reflective of the current staff climate due to the “difficult” layoffs? I personally feel far worse NOW about our environment than I did when the survey went out due to a feeling of fear that has been created in the last four months.
Staff play a critical role in the daily functioning of the institution, and we know that a climate where staff do not feel valued or feel fear does not contribute to a positive work environment. We believe the results of the survey are instructive to leadership on campus, and in many ways align with the concern you raise in your question. We will also be meeting with Staff Advisory Council in the coming days to review in more detail what we have learned from the survey results, and to factor in other concerns such as what you address that also deserve consideration.
The literature review from Rankin and associates discussed DACA students; however, in the report we did not see many responses. I do recognize the difficulty in discussing DACA students and the MU statement, but what are other ways MU has taken to support DACA students/staff/faculty?
First, we must follow federal and state laws as they relate to DACA students. Within those parameters, we will continue to work to ensure that these students are able to access our campus and that they are aware of offices that may assist them in financial aid or other needs that they have.
Sixty percent of faculty seriously considering leaving the institution is an alarming number. What types of actions could the administration do to have faculty feel more valued at MU BEFORE it becomes a retention exercise?
When the COACHE faculty satisfaction survey results came out in spring of 2017, the Provost asked each dean to create 2-3 goals to effect change. They worked with faculty to create these goals, which vary from school to school. The goals will be posted soon and will be tracked to ensure that they are having the desired effect. Two liaisons (Drs. Anna Ball and William Wiebold) have been appointed to oversee implementation and communication over the coming months.
Other actions are being undertaken as well. An ad-hoc task force chaired by Dr. Wilson Freyermuth has worked diligently this academic year to develop best practices around shared governance, with a final report expected in the near future. Also, a tool that assists with salary equity has recently been enhanced. It can be used to help ensure compensation is fair across discipline, title and demographic groups. Already, the tenure and promotion raise increase has been adjusted. In addition, the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity is implementing a number of initiatives designed to provide mentoring opportunities, increase workplace equity, and develop a more inclusive campus. Among other successes, MU has increased its anticipated number of underrepresented tenure-track/tenured faculty hires, from seven in 2016-2017 to 17 in 2017-2018.
The university relies on exceptional faculty to maintain our ability to excel at education and discovery — benefiting our state and changing lives for the better. The university leadership is committed to addressing concerns of competitive compensation and increasing faculty satisfaction.
What is being done to ensure that all management has proper leadership and management training? Often, we promote our best people to supervisory positions without ensuring they have the proper training or know university policies to supervise others.
We offer the following training for managers and supervisors. Although not a requirement, we strongly encourage managers and supervisors to utilize these resources:
- An educational module for equitable and inclusive hiring practices. This training is built around the staff and faculty recruitment business process, and was developed for hiring managers, search committees and other interviewers.
- A nine-course management certificate series which is geared toward employees who are new to a supervising staff position or the University. However, the series also provides useful information to anyone with supervisory responsibilities. All courses are presented by HRS, the Missouri Training Institute, and other subject matter experts.
- Customized training on a variety of topics that can be presented independently or as part of an ongoing series. These programs will be tailored to the needs of the group and the time available to present the information. Formats include whole day, half day and “lunch and learn.”
How will this survey affect the reputation of Mizzou with high school students?
It is impossible to predict at this time.
Will it affect future enrollment?
There are many factors across the university and externally that affect enrollment. We won’t know the impact of this specifically.