STORY BY LAUREN VELASCO
As a part of Drake’s 2017 reaccreditation process, the Campus Climate assessment given this past year, addressed the attitudes of students and faculty and their comfort levels on campus.
Last year, the Drake Strategic Diversity Action Team cooperated with Rankin & Associates to formulate a survey in which students and faculty participated to give feedback across all areas of campus, including academics and diversity.
“The survey helps us understand what needs to be fixed and it provides real significant data to make meaningful changes,” said Student Body President Kevin Maisto.
The process to create a climate survey began in 2014. It was a thorough process that involved several teams guided by Campus Climate Investigator Dr. Sue Rankin.
“We see campus climate as three cognitive wheels but students are centered to everything we do,” Rankin said.
The executive summary of the survey is online for students and faculty to view. It provides information and statistics of not only the structure of campus but also how it affects students and faculty.
“Being exposed to this data opens our eyes to the areas on campus we’ve been ignoring,” Maisto said.
Both students, faculty and staff participated, giving an honest perspective from every part of the university.
“From a faculty perspective, surveys help people feel like they have a voice” said Professor of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Andrea Kjos, “the survey also gives an accurate representation of the environment that’s tested.”
Given the information in the survey, groups like the Student Senate will take the data and address issues that need to be changed on campus.
“Research like this gives us a solid base and starting point to move forward and understand ourselves as a university,” Maisto said.
Providing the results of the survey to all students and faculty and also planning forums to discuss the results better connects students to the university.
“The survey helps the university respond more accurately to the needs of the students,” said first-year Phillip Copeland.
The executive summary and the forums to discuss the results are pivotal in the growth of Drake’s Campus and to the cohesiveness and culture of the climate.
“This survey plays a key role for first years and sophomores because they’re just starting out and they have a really big part in shaping what the future of this institution will look like,” Maisto said.
At the forum on Monday and Tuesday, the results of the survey were revealed and discussed by Rankin. She discussed the positive parts of the climate as well as the problems some students described in the survey.
“If we don’t realize the racism, sexism or genderism that occurs, we devalue the experience people have every day,” Rankin said.
Although several controversial topics arose, Rankin discussed what Drake students can do to move forward and confront these issues.
“It’s part of your mission to be who you want to be at Drake, “ Rankin said. “It’s an accountability measure.” There will be forums throughout the months of October, November, and December in which students will have the opportunity to take a more in depth look into what changes can be mad to improve Drake’s Campus Climate.