Ohio University has recently released the results of a campus climate survey, which was implemented in 2018 to develop a better understanding of students’ perception of diversity and inclusion at the University.
The survey was also established to give the University’s new Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Gigi Secuban, an overview of the institution’s strengths and opportunities for continuous improvement as she works to develop a diversity and inclusion strategic plan.
“The information that our students have shared through this survey are an invaluable point of reference to help OHIO develop an environment where difference in all its forms are celebrated and welcomed,” said Secuban. “This critical first step will help our institution emerge as a national leader on many fronts, and I am grateful to those who shared their candid and honest feedback.”
Using a survey rubric developed in consultation with national research firm EAB, students were asked to answer a series of questions that will help to establish a benchmark on which we can gauge progress related to our goal to be the nation’s best transformative learning community.
According to survey results, students generally agree that OHIO has made great progress related to diversity and inclusion but shared thoughts on opportunities for growth, as well. For example, students identified communication as an area for improvement, particularly with regard to information about events and activities on campus related to diversity and inclusion.
More than 75 percent of students surveyed said they agreed that diversity is well represented among OHIO’s student body and faculty members. Those responding said they have primarily learned about or become more aware of diversity while in class or by talking with friends. However, 38 percent of respondents indicated they felt the need to hide part of their identity to fit in on campus, and a large number of students surveyed felt that faculty may pre-judge their abilities based on identity or background. It was promising to note that 85 percent of respondents said they have access to a faculty or staff member that they trust.
With regard to inclusivity at OHIO, 77 percent of students responding said they feel comfortable sharing their own perspectives and experiences in class, and more than three quarters of them feel the communities they belong to are appropriately represented in the school’s environment.
The voluntary survey garnered response from 13 percent of students on all campuses. In light of the relatively low response rate, including the low total number of survey participants who identified as a racial, ethnic or gender minority, the Committee cautioned that the results obtained may not be representative of all OHIO students.
“Diversity and inclusion is our top strategic pathway at OHIO,” said Ohio University President Dr. M. Duane Nellis. “This feedback from our students is an invaluable resource that will help us identify areas of for continued improvement and investment in services and initiatives that will help us achieve our common goals of inclusion and diversity.”
You can find a summary of survey findings and the text of the survey questions at: https://www.ohio.edu/diversity/campus-climate-survey-results-2018.
In the coming months, the University will work with the campus community to continue to learn from the survey results and translate those findings into action.