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K-State Today

September 6, 2013



From the provost, faculty senate president and classified senate president: University climate survey

By April Mason, Julia Keen and Janice Taggart

Dear Colleagues,

K-State 2025 calls for "a work environment that encourages creativity, excellence, and high morale in faculty and staff, responds to changing needs, embraces diversity, values communication and collaboration, and is respectful, trusting, fair, and collegial for all." Such an environment is also important to our students to promote their success and prepare them for their future. Indeed, K-State 2025 calls for "a connected, diverse, empowered, engaged, participatory culture of learning and excellence" for our students. How do we know where we are on our path to such a work environment and university culture?

As we move toward 2025, we will implement climate surveys for faculty, staff and students, beginning with a university climate survey of all employees this year. While K-State has conducted its own climate surveys and participated in national climate surveys in the past, this will be our first comprehensive climate survey including faculty, unclassified professionals and classified staff on all three campuses.

Why is such a climate survey important to our future? A university climate survey can tell us how our faculty and staff perceive the K-State environment and discover areas for meaningful improvement. The results can be a driving force for changes in policies and practices that can foster the type of university environment envisioned by K-State 2025 and promote success for all.

Knowing our perceived strengths as well as limitations is only the first step to making progress. Following the results with action will be imperative. Periodically conducting follow-up surveys to measure changes in perception as a result of those actions will also be critical.

After consultation with university leadership and governance groups, we are appointing a University Climate Survey Committee to oversee the implementation of a universitywide climate survey and report. Our goal is simple: learn how our faculty and staff perceive our K-State climate in relation to fostering the welcoming and inclusive work environment envisioned in 2025 and their own work and academic success.

The committee's charge is to oversee the implementation of a university climate survey that addresses diversity and inclusion; respect and collegiality; communication, collaboration, and cooperation; and the overall work and academic environment. The charge includes the following activities:

  1. Select an outside consultant, ensuring the methodology utilized collects baseline data that can be used for comparison purposes with future surveys, addresses general needs as well as needs specific to our three campuses and to our diverse faculty and staff, ensures confidentiality of respondents given the sensitivity of this type of survey, and employs professional best practices in the field of climate survey methodology.
  2. Ensure involvement of representatives from our various faculty and staff constituent groups at the appropriate stages throughout the process.
  3. Promote broad participation by faculty and staff with appropriate communication and incentive strategies.

Committee members are:

Ruth Dyer, senior vice provost, co-chair
Tom Vontz, associate professor, College of Education, co-chair
Nancy Baker, computer information specialist, Planning and Analysis
Fred Burrack, director, Office of Assessment
Lynn Carlin, special assistant to the provost
Pam Foster, associate director, Office of Affirmative Action
Myra Gordon, associate provost, Office of Diversity
Kerry Jennin gs, physical plant supervisor, Housing and Dining Services
Kaleen Knopp, instructor, arts, science, and business, K-State Salina
Gary Leitnaker, associate vice president, Human Resources and Parking
Steven Logback, associate vice president, Communications and Marketing
Jan Middendorf, director, Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation
Pam Warren, administrative specialist, College of Business Administration
Daryl Youngman, associate professor, K-State Libraries

We appreciate the willingness of the committee to provide leadership to this initiative as we all work together to create an environment of excellence and success for everyone.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

April Mason, provost and senior vice president
Julia Keen, faculty senate president
Janice Taggart, classified senate president