Incidents in recent years at the University of Tennessee and across the country—including acts of violence and discrimination and the handling of sexual assaults—have brought more attention to the need to address campus environment, culture and safety. We see it as our responsibility to ensure the safety of our students. We also want our students to succeed within our campus communities. Understanding the experiences, perceptions and needs of students is critical to identifying strengths and opportunities for improvement.
The survey includes questions about:
- Campus Climate
- Intimidating, Offensive and Hostile Conduct
- Free Speech
- Sexual Harassment and Misconduct
- Faculty and Staff Support
- Advising, Training and Reporting
- Awareness and Use of University Provided Resources
- Overall Satisfaction with the University
Research indicates that positive personal experiences and perceptions with campus environment generally equate to positive outcomes. In other words, students who feel safe in, connected to and supported by their campus communities have a higher likelihood of success—in the classroom, in their personal lives and in the workplace.
The voice of every student matters. Higher response rates give a better understanding of students’ opinions. Participation is entirely voluntary, and participants can skip questions and exit at any time.
All undergraduate and graduate students at each UT campus and institute across the state.
Confidentiality is vital to the survey process, particularly as sensitive and personal topics are discussed. The consultant and campus data coordinators take multiple measures to protect individual confidentiality and the de-identification of data. Students are able to enter to win prizes within the survey platform. Entering the drawing is optional, and no survey information is connected to the entry, as information is stored separately.
The survey was recommended in 2015 by the UT Diversity Advisory Council—a statewide group of faculty and staff tasked with identifying ways to improve diversity and inclusion efforts. Support for the initiative is unanimous among senior leaders system-wide, and planning teams were created at the system and campus levels to oversee the process. A third-party consultant, Rankin & Associates Consulting, was selected through a competitive bid process to administer the 2017 survey on behalf of the University.
Dr. Susan Rankin is an emeritus faculty member in education policy studies and college student affairs at Pennsylvania State University and a senior research associate at Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education. Rankin has conducted multi-location institutional student experience studies at more than 170 institutions across the country.
Dozens of faculty, staff and students from across the UT System provided input.
The survey was recommended in 2015 by the UT Diversity Advisory Council—a statewide group of faculty and staff tasked with identifying ways to improve diversity and inclusion efforts. Support for the initiative is unanimous among senior leaders system-wide, and planning teams were created at the system and campus levels to oversee the process.
Rankin & Associates Consulting has administered surveys to more than 170 institutions across the country and developed a bank of tested questions. The UT Diversity Advisory Council and system-wide planning team selected questions from the bank and tailored each one to the University of Tennessee. UT President Joe DiPietro and campus chancellors provided feedback as well as planning team members at each campus and institute.
Rankin & Associates is reviewing and analyzing the results and will share them with the University. Planning teams at the system and campus levels will further analyze feedback and develop and recommend specific and measurable actions or initiatives to improve our campus environments.
Yes. Dates are being set now to share the results with students, faculty and staff.
The frequency for re-administering the survey is still being determined.