Campus climate study scheduled for new year

Courtesy Photo /
Jeanne Arnold

Courtesy Photo / Jeanne Arnold

Chelsea Lane

An anonymous survey, which will take place in February, will invite the Grand Valley State University community to give answers to questions about what it is like to learn, live and work at the university. The myGVSU Survey will serve as the fourth campus climate study since 1994 and will aim to determine what changes could be made to make GVSU a better and more inclusive environment.

Statistics professor Neal Rogness, who is co-chairing the study, said one of the survey’s main goals is gauging how inclusive the campus.

“What we’re trying to do is get a pulse of the university … and let the university know how we’re doing,” Rogness said.

The survey will feature questions on work, student life, the campus environment and on-campus bias incidents or prejudice, among other topics. A committee comprised of both faculty and students has been meeting every two weeks to select which questions will appear on the survey. Rogness said the next step will be editing down the list of selected questions to make myGVSU as quick, concise and informative as possible. He estimated the final version of the survey will take between 20 and 30 minutes to complete.

“We’re trying to get a lot of different questions from a lot of different areas,” Rogness said.

The survey results will then be collected and analyzed by Sue Rankin and Associates, a data consulting firm. Vice president for Inclusion and Equity and Study co-chair Jeanne Arnold said results of the survey will be reported to the campus community next year.

“We want everyone to know that this is a very transparent study,” she said in a press release.

Rogness said he hopes that following the initial data analysis, a new “action-based committee” will be formed to react to the data results and determine what types of changes can be made to the campus environment.

“We want to continue that momentum and make sure we’re thoughtful about how we can make Grand Valley better,” he said.

Assistant Director of the Department of Public Safety Capt. Brandon DeHaan, who serves as a myGVSU committee member, said previous climate studies have led to the creation of the Women’s Center, the campus food pantry and the Children’s Enrichment Center, as well as other campus institutions.

“There’s a lot of different things that have occurred here as a result of previous climate studies,” he said. “What it does is it helps the administration reach out and understand how to make the university a better place for staff, faculty and students.”

Both DeHaan and Rogness said they are hoping for 100 percent participation for the survey. Rogness has made multiple presentations to different GVSU departments to receive input on the survey and help get the word out across campus.

“We’re trying to help people understand why it is important for them to participate and to have their voices heard,” he said.

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