During the spring of 2014, Kennesaw State University took the unprecedented step of surveying its faculty, staff and students about their experiences and perception of campus and/or workplace climate.

At the close of the survey process, which ran from February 19-March 30, 2014, 5,128 faculty, staff, and students participated. Over the summer, their responses were tabulated and analyzed. The outcome is an executive summary and a full report with detailed analyses of survey findings, both prepared by the Campus Culture and Climate Assessment leadership team and the independent consultant who conducted the study.

This study is one part of KSU’s ongoing efforts to foster an engaging and inclusive environment for all members of the University community. KSU will use the findings from this study to develop new actions or initiatives—or enhance existing efforts—that will improve the working, living, and learning environments at the university.

History of the Project

In 2006, President Daniel Papp authorized a campus-wide initiative to assess the status of diversity and equity on campus. Entitled the Diversity and Equity Assessment Initiative (DEAI) and comprised of faculty, staff, and students, the aim was to examine organizational structure, recruitment and retention, overall campus climate, and diversity-focused teaching and research. Approaches for data gathering included surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Starting in late fall 2007, team leaders presented results to a wide range of stakeholders across campus: president’s cabinet, deans’ council, chairs’ council, faculty senate, student government representatives, staff senate, and administrators senate. Relevant for this report, one goal of the DEAI was to develop diversity assessments that could inform leadership decision-making consistent with the university’s strategic plan.

In order to carry out an assessment of the campus climate, in 2010, Linda Lyons, interim chief diversity officer (CDO), secured the funding and put together a team to review numerous external consultants. In 2012 Erik Malewski, hired as permanent CDO, continued the climate assessment process using the 2012–2017 Strategic Plan for KSU as a guideline. Goal 4 of the plan mandates that KSU “enhance the collegiate experience, and foster a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive environment.” It also requires the establishment of baseline data that measure diversity and inclusion and afford opportunities to make improvements on campus.

To that end, in 2013, members of the university formed the Campus Culture and Climate Assessment Task Force (CCCA). The CCCA was comprised of nearly 40 faculty, staff, students, and administrators. Ultimately, KSU contracted with Rankin & Associates Consulting (R&A) to conduct a campus-wide study entitled, “Assessment of Climate for Learning, Living, and Working.” Data gathering focused on the experiences and perceptions of various constituent groups. Based on the findings, two to three action items will be developed through community forums and completed by fall 2015.