Input sought on diversity, inclusion at UB

Published March 25, 2019

UB’s Office of Inclusive Excellence (OIX) is seeking faculty and staff participation in a wide-ranging survey taking an in-depth assessment of campus culture integrating diversity, equity and inclusion at UB.

The UB Campus Culture Survey is designed to measure the inclusiveness of UB’s academic and campus environment. In April, UB will conduct the survey for faculty and staff, examining UB as a welcoming and diverse work environment.

In March, UB completed the student portion of the survey, focusing on perceptions of UB as a whole, and campus culture as conducive to a respectful environment in which to learn and work.

The survey was created by the assessment and education technology firm Skyfactor, working in partnership with a committee of the OIX Leadership Council. Both the student and faculty and staff portions of the survey will be administered by Skyfactor.

“Our strategies and initiatives to enhance diversity and inclusion across the university will gain from UB faculty and staff responses to the Campus Culture Survey,” says Despina Stratigakos, vice provost for inclusive excellence.

“Diversity is an important value that UB works hard to demonstrate,” she says.   

At a time when differences are polarizing the nation, Stratigakos notes that members of the UB community have the opportunity to come together to identify and face issues that have the potential to divide the campus.

“Diversity is not an abstract concept, but a lived experience. You can’t measure diversity just by counting numbers,” she says. “We are invested in building relationships and taking the risks necessary to maintain those relationships and build trust.”

With some slight variations, Stratigakos says the surveys are asking the same questions, thereby making it possible to compare answers across distinct populations within the UB community.

“This will allow us to draw meaningful conclusions from collected data without having to compare questions from widely varying survey instruments.”

On April 1, faculty and staff will receive a secure, unique link to the survey in an email from Skyfactor. During the three weeks in April the survey is open, the secure link will enable follow-up emails from Skyfactor to individuals who have received access to the survey, but have not yet responded. The survey requires 15 to 20 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.

“For faculty, responses to the Campus Culture Survey, together with their responses to questions on these issues in the earlier COACHE survey, will supply information and direction about the effectiveness of our outreach efforts, so we can measure their impact,” says Mark Coldren, associate vice president for human resources and committee chair.

“We want to ensure that UB is a welcoming, inclusive community where all people are valued and respected,” Coldren says.

There are a variety of initiatives and efforts in place to enhance equity and inclusion across UB’s three campuses, says Stratigakos. “Faculty and staff responses to this survey can provide evidence-based data that can be used to assess the effectiveness of current strategies and plan new ones.

“We are seeking to create transparent processes that will encourage the entire university to work toward a culture of shared responsibility for equity and inclusion,” she adds.

“Through the Office of Inclusive Excellence, benchmarks and goals will be set and progress toward them monitored as we move forward.”