UC Berkeley solicits feedback on improving campus climate

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On March 4, the UC Berkeley Division of Equity & Inclusion released a survey to students, staff, faculty, administrators and postdoctoral scholars featuring questions about the campus climate and how it can be improved.

The survey, called the My Experience survey, will be available to the UC Berkeley community until April 25 and can be accessed through the homepage of the My Experience website. The survey covers a variety of topics including how the respondent feels about their treatment on campus as well as questions about their financial status and political affiliation.

According to Andrew Eppig, the institutional research analyst of UC Berkeley’s Division of Equity & Inclusion, the process of designing the survey, meant as a follow-up to the 2013 Campus Climate Survey, took several years of work and is the product of collaboration between students, staff and faculty. Many questions are identical to the ones in the 2013 survey, although new topics — including questions on mental health and basic needs — have been added.

“I want everyone to feel like they belong on campus,” said Oscar Dubón, the campus vice chancellor for equity and inclusion. “Some groups feel affirmed and other groups feel like they aren’t valued.”

Although the survey uses CalNet to track who submits answers to the survey, the data will be analyzed anonymously and will be treated as highly confidential, according to Eppig.

The survey contains both multiple-choice and free-response questions and is estimated to take between 30 to 40 minutes to complete.

“The survey results will be used to assess and, wherever needed, change or improve existing policies and practices, share best practices that support the campus’ commitment to equity and inclusion, ensure accountability and transparency, propose and develop new policies and programs to respond to unmet needs that may surface,” Eppig said in an email.

Many on campus feel that the survey is necessary, including ASUC External Affairs, or EAVP, Vice President Nuha Khalfay. According to Khalfay, the ASUC Office of the EAVP plans to use the data from the survey to better understand students’ experiences and needs.

According to Dubón, the data from the survey will be completely compiled by September. Dubón hopes to be able to release the findings online for the public to access without compromising anonymity or confidentiality.

The Division of Equity & Inclusion will convene to review the data and form recommendations for campus leaders, such as Chancellor Carol Christ and Dubón, in early September.

“It’s not just a survey to take a survey,” Dubón said.

The My Experience survey is intended to be sent out every four years and is designed to complement the data found in the UC Undergraduate Experience Survey, which is deployed by the University of California Office of the President every other year, and the MyVoice Survey on violence and harassment.

Contact Katherine Finman at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.