Published February 1, 2019
Taking an in-depth assessment of campus culture integrating diversity, equity and inclusion at UB, the Office of Inclusive Excellence (OIX) will conduct a wide-ranging survey focused on enhancing and strengthening the variety of initiatives supporting all members of the university community.
The UB Campus Culture Survey is designed to measure the inclusiveness of UB’s academic and campus environment. The survey was created by the assessment and benchmarking education technology firm Skyfactor, working in partnership with a committee of the OIX Leadership Council. The survey will be administered by Skyfactor.
In March, UB will conduct the student survey, focusing on perceptions of UB as a whole, and campus culture as conducive to a respectful environment in which to learn and work.
In April, UB will conduct the survey for faculty and staff, examining UB as a welcoming and diverse work environment.
“With some slight variations, the surveys will ask the same questions, thereby making it possible to compare answers across these distinct populations,” says Despina Stratigakos, vice provost for inclusive excellence.
“This will allow us to draw meaningful conclusions from collected data without having to compare questions from widely varying survey instruments.”
Stratigakos says UB has adopted inclusive excellence as the center of the university’s equity and inclusion strategy, adding that without inclusion, diversity is unsustainable.
“As the nation’s population grows more diverse, questions surrounding equity and inclusion take on a special urgency as these issues move to the forefront of our national debate,” she says.
“You can’t measure diversity just by counting numbers. Meaningful diversity — in the student body, on the faculty and in the many unscripted encounters that make up daily life on UB’s three campuses — requires a deep and broadly shared commitment,” says Stratigakos.
“By participating in the survey, members of the UB community will have the opportunity to share their perspectives about the attitudes, behaviors and standards concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities and potential at UB.”
Students, faculty and staff will receive a secure, unique link to the survey in an email from Skyfactor. During the time each survey is open, the secure links will enable follow-up emails with individuals who have received access to the survey, but have not yet responded.
Students, then faculty and staff, will have three weeks each to take the survey, which requires approximately 30 minutes to complete.
Staff members who do not have ready access to a computer will be provided access to computer labs where they can take the survey utilizing their secure email link. Computers and iPads/tablets are strongly recommended over phones.
Additionally, printed copies of the surveys and pre-approved times and locations to fill them out will be made available.
Survey responses will be tabulated independently, outside of UB, by Skyfactor. All data received by UB will be anonymous in format. UB will not receive any individualized information from data coming out of the survey.
“This survey is very different than anything that has come before at UB,” says Mark Coldren, associate vice president for human resources and committee chair.
“We will ask students about their perceptions of UB as a whole,” Coldren says. “The student survey will also seek answers to other important questions, such as, ‘How does UB let students self-identify?’ and ‘Is this policy working in the way it should?’”
“We are asking all participants, ‘Do you see yourself here?’” Stratigakos adds. “We are seeking to facilitate a culture of self-reflection.
“Honest responses will allow data that is gathered to be used university-wide,” she says. “The information will not just be for the Office of Inclusive Excellence. It will be shared with all divisions across UB. Transparency is critical to what we want to accomplish.
“We want to create processes that encourage the entire university to work toward inclusive excellence.”
Data gathered from this survey could have an impact on prioritizing issues of diversity and inclusion, university policies and the creation of tools to help manage challenges that UB faces.
Stratigakos explains that continuing to define and enhance inclusive excellence requires UB to be honest and clear about identifying challenges and issues related to equity and inclusion, so that the university can come together as a campus community to address them.
“The survey will enable the university to find out what people are thinking. We will be seeking point of view from our UB community,” says Coldren. “These points are central to why we are conducting the survey.”
Stratigakos says one key goal is to increase facilitated campus conversations related to diversity, equity and inclusion, and encourage participation from a broad range of perspectives.
“In doing this, we want to continue to foster more frequent campus discussions about balancing academic freedom, freedom of expression and inclusivity.”
Stratigakos says it is vital that members of the UB community take the time to participate in the survey. “We will be providing more information in the weeks ahead. This survey is about all of us.”