SGA hears results of campus climate survey

by Katherine Burns / Beacon Staff • April 9, 2015

Sixty percent of students are satisfied with Emerson’s overall climate, according to results from a campuswide survey that administrators discussed at the Student Government Association meeting on Tuesday.

First-year students had the highest satisfaction rate, at 73 percent, while third-year students had the lowest at 58 percent.

This climate survey for students was the first of its kind, according to Sylvia Spears, the vice president for diversity and inclusion. It was written by a committee formed specifically for this survey and administered by ModernThink, LLC.

A total of 1,485 students responded to the survey, or 32 percent of all undergraduate and graduate students, while it was open between Nov. 3-21.

According to Spears, the ratings among first-year students were significantly higher due to the increase in sexual assault and safety education during the Fall 2014 orientation.

The survey had five sections, three of which were directly related to Title IX, a federal gender equity law. Of those surveyed, 53 percent of students felt satisfied with the education and training they received in relation to power-based violence and Title IX.

The rest of the results are still being analyzed and will be published online by April 23, said Robert Amelio, the director of diversity education and human relations.

Spears said that they are currently working on a strategic plan regarding the results of the survey.

“We want to know what’s happening around issues that are rated favorably so we can replicate and reinforce those,” Spears said at the meeting.

The college also conducted a separate survey for faculty and staff, which showed that only 46 percent of faculty and staff said that they felt positively about working with other employees and how departmental power is distributed.

While it was Emerson’s first time administering the survey, it has been around for 25 years.

According to Amelio, 66 percent of faculty and staff responded to the survey. He said he and Spears have over 400 pages of comments that they have yet to analyze from the survey results.

The faculty survey included questions about 16 aspects of respondents’ relationships to Emerson. For example, 75 percent of staff and faculty said they were proud to be part of the Emerson community.

While 73 percent of high-level administrators were satisfied with their overall experience at Emerson, faculty—including adjunct professors and other part-time employees—had a 55 percent satisfaction rate.