As part of its commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive community, Cal Poly Pomona launched a campus-wide Inclusive Campus Survey on Feb. 22. Sometimes referred to as a climate survey, the formal assessment will gather data on the experiences and insights of students, faculty and staff.
The results will allow university leadership to better understand the campus’ strengths and challenges, prioritize key issues and develop strategies to improve inclusion and equity. The survey represents a key step in Our Commitment to Action, a pledge by the university to identify and dismantle systemic racism and other structural inequities.
The campus has partnered with the third-party vendor Viewfinder, which emailed a survey link to students, faculty and staff on Feb. 22. Every Monday, the company will send a reminder email to those who have not yet taken it until its close on March 19. By participating in the survey, the campus community will inform and guide the policies and programs that affect their daily lives and will help to identify and dismantle barriers to accessibility and inclusivity.
Student perspectives constitute a critical component of the effort. Tala S. Qasqas is a second-year student studying political science, the Associated Students Inc., Multicultural Council Senator-At-Large and a member of the Inclusive Excellence Council Executive Board. She thinks the survey will help the campus know which issues are pressing for students in order to address those issues and find solutions that incorporate inclusion into everyday learning.
“Each and every student should take the survey so that their voice can be heard,” she said. “Once the campus receives the results, they will take the necessary steps to create an even more inclusive environment, one that offers a sense of belonging and safety to all students, no matter their background or history.”
Although a 20 percent response rate is considered healthy by industry standards, the campus’ goal is 30 percent, per Nicole Butts, presidential associate for inclusive excellence and diversity.
“We don’t want to make overarching decisions on a few anecdotal experiences,” she said. “We want enough data to draw sound conclusions.”
Analena Hope Hassberg, assistant professor in the ethnic and women’s studies department, spoke about the importance of collecting data and the role it can play in making systematic change. “The power of this kind of survey is that we can empirically measure people’s lived experiences and we give them a chance to share their testimonies,” she said. “This humanizes data in a way that moves us from talking about statistics to taking a human-centered approach to inclusivity. This survey offers an opportunity for all of us to participate in shaping the way forward as a university.”
Hector M. Maciel, chapter president of the California State University Employees Union (CSUEU), has endorsed the survey and encouraged CSUEU members to participate in it.
“I think everyone should take the survey because it will give campus leadership a good understanding of where we are,” he said. “For example, are we getting enough resources? Are we happy in the environment that we’re in? Campus climate is not the same in every department or for every person. The survey is a good way to take the temperature of how we’re doing, especially in these trying times.”
The survey is confidential and should take 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Upon completion, participants have the option to enter a drawing for prizes by submitting their email address, which is collected separate from their responses.
The prizes for students include two Lenovo IdeaPad Laptops, grad packs, gift packs from the Farm Store, Bronco Bucks and e-books of “The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias” by Dolly Chugh. Faculty and staff will also be able to enter a drawing for Farm Store packs and e-books.
Survey results should be posted on the Inclusive Campus Survey website in May. After the data undergoes more analyses, results will be shared as they become available. Additional findings will likely be ready in the fall. To take the Inclusive Campus Survey, refer to the email sent from Viewfinder.