GV conducts sixth Campus Climate survey


GVL / Meghan Landgren

Olivia Fellows, Staff Reporter

Grand Valley State University’s faculty and staff take student comfort, happiness and success seriously, and they strive to create a welcoming and inclusive campus for all students. To see continued improvement, GVSU began conducting its sixth all-grades, faculty and staff Campus Climate Survey for 2019. 

The survey, which was sent out last week, aims to gather information from students and staff about their experiences at the university and use the information to further improve GVSU’s social and educational climate. The campus climate survey usually takes participants about 10-15 minutes to complete. Students, faculty and staff members should have received an email with a link to the online, anonymous survey on Nov. 14.

GVSU has been conducting climate surveys through the Office of Inclusion and Equity since 1994, and they are usually done every four or five years. The past five climate surveys have resulted in positive changes for GVSU, including adding lighting around campus to foster more safety, increasing the numbers of international students and faculty members, and in 2015, establishing the position of student “ombuds,” or advocates, who help students resolve conflicts and make referrals to campus services when necessary.

Vice President for Inclusion and Equity Jesse Bernal said more participation from students, staff and faculty is important to have a better idea of how the university can help its student body feel more welcome. Bernal also said it’s especially important for graduate students to take the survey because that student population’s overall result response was the lowest in 2015, the last time the surveys were conducted. 

“This survey presents a snapshot of what it’s like to live, learn and work at Grand Valley,” Bernal said. “Results from the survey help support the goal of providing an environment that attracts, retains and supports a diverse community.”

Each year they are conducted, the organizers of the surveys always hope for 100 percent participation from students and staff. They have even incorporated an incentive to increase engagement by providing a choice to be put into a drawing for awards of up to $2,000 to use for professional development for students who complete the survey. More than 40 percent of the campus community responded to the 2015 survey. Results showed that 87 percent of all respondents were “comfortable” or “very comfortable” with the overall campus climate.

Associate Vice President for Equity, Policy & Compliance Kathleen VanderVeen spearheaded this year’s surveys and said that the results are used to help the university decide on changes they want to make in the near future. 

“Committees are organized based on the results of the survey, to recommend changes based on feedback,” VanderVeen said. “The results and feedback we receive from the survey help support the goal of providing an environment that attracts, retains and supports a diverse community.”

There are initiatives that have come from past surveys that reflect student concerns. The Division of Inclusion and Equity encourages all members of the Laker family to take the survey and be a part of improving GVSU for current and future students, staff and faculty. The survey only takes a handful of minutes, and will help the university for years to come.