Project history

Why is Mizzou conducting a climate survey?

Assessing the climate at MU is critical for us to be able to improve our learning and working environment.

MU has conducted periodic climate studies since 2001, and plans were in the works in Spring 2015 to conduct a new survey. At the same time, the University of Missouri–Kansas City was also planning to conduct a climate survey. In order to leverage resources and gain valuable information from all campuses, the University of Missouri System decided in Spring 2016 to expand the survey to all four UM System campuses and system administration offices. The Systemwide Climate Study Team, consisting of representatives from all campuses, began meeting in June to develop plans for survey administration.

Who will be conducting the survey?

Rankin & Associates Consulting was selected to conduct the survey for the University of Missouri System. The consultant has administered climate assessments to more than 150 institutions across the nation, including the University of California and University of Wisconsin systems.

Survey administration is being supported by the Systemwide Climate Study Team and MU Campus Climate Survey Steering Committee, which consists of faculty, staff and student representatives from various constituent groups at MU.

What will be done with data from the results?

Rankin & Associates will analyze the data and provide an executive summary, as well as the full report, to the entire campus community and UM System constituencies. All campus stakeholders — students, faculty and staff — will be invited to participate in the development of post-survey action initiatives.

Past climate surveys have resulted in the creation of the chief diversity officer position, Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative and Equity Office, which was one of the first in the nation to track bias incidents on campus. All of these areas, plus the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX, are now part of the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (IDE).

Other important developments include the creation of a domestic partner benefit policy and the inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression as part of the university’s non-discrimination policy. Past surveys also identified the critical need for the Black Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies programs to become full-fledged departments. Both programs are now departments within the College of Arts and Science.

Why was a non-MU researcher selected for the project?

In reviewing efforts by other universities to conduct comprehensive climate studies, several best practices were identified. One was the need for external expertise in survey administration. The administration of a survey relating to a very sensitive subject like campus climate is likely to yield higher response rates and provide more credible findings if led by an independent, outside agency. Members of a university community may feel particularly inhibited to respond honestly to a survey administered by their own institution for fear of retaliation.