UAB is committed to providing a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment for all students. To help achieve that goal, the UAB Division of Student Affairs; the UAB Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and the UAB Center for Educational Accountability developed a survey in 2019 to assess student perceptions of the overall campus climate, campus diversity, and sexual misconduct or harassment.

Timeline

9/5/18: Initial meeting with Campus Climate Survey Team

11/15/18: Propose initial template to group items for Modules II and III; activate student advisory committee

1/15/19: Develop initial item bank within a template for each module; submit initial exempt IRB protocol for review

2/15/19: Meet with staff/administrators involved in diversity and sexual misconduct matters in order to get feedback and recommendations on items; solicit additional feedback on clarity and completeness of items from student groups

4/1/19: Develop forms pilots

4/15/19: Pilot the survey versions with randomly sampled spring 2019 graduates with active UAB emails reviewing item performance and length of time to complete

6/15/19: Complete items and forms pilot analyses

7/15/19: Revise surveys based on duration, skipped items and range of category responses

9/15/19: Solicit feedback on revised forms, solicit student engagement, revise forms as needed

10/1/19: Disseminate survey

11/28/19: Initial statistical data report

12/31/2019: Interim final report

1/31/2020: Solicitation of comments

3/30/2020: Final report

Results

Preliminary Major Findings

UAB is committed to providing a safe, respectful and inclusive environment for all students. During 2019, the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the UAB Center for Educational Accountability developed a survey about student perceptions of campus climate. This was the first time that all UAB students have been surveyed about aspects of campus climate. Students, staff and administrators participated in the development and refinement of the survey. Items and instruments were piloted with the spring 2019 and summer 2019 UAB graduating students. The final form of the survey was opened up to all UAB students online during October 2019. The primary goal of the survey was to understand student perceptions of the overall campus climate, campus diversity, and sexual misconduct or harassment.

All undergraduate, graduate and professional students enrolled at UAB during the fall of 2019 were asked to participate in the survey. While 3154 students opened the survey, 2733 completed all or part of the survey. Overall, 12.5% of the student body responded. Approximately one-third of responding students did not complete demographic items (e.g., gender identity, race, religion). As a result, analyses that are based on demographic differences should be interpreted with caution. While most demographic characteristics of the survey respondents were similar to the UAB student population, the response rates for some groups were slightly different. For example, while 39% of the UAB student population was under 22 during the fall, 51% of the survey respondents reported being in that age group. In addition, somewhat higher percentages of respondents reported being white (65%) or Asian (10%) than in the student population (58% white and 6% Asian), and a slightly lower percentage reported being black or African American (16%) than in the student population (21%).

 

1. Overall Climate

Overall climate is good, but there is room to grow especially in perceptions of safety and with historically underrepresented groups.

2. Commitment to Diversity

The majority of students report a campus climate that is committed to diversity and respectful of diverse groups. Students in some minority or historically underrepresented groups rated treatment of their group as less respectful than students in majority groups.

3. Hostile, Harassing or Intimidating Behavior

Approximately one in four students reported having recently witnessed or experienced hostile, harassing or intimidating behavior. Some groups were more likely to have witnessed or experienced such behavior. One-quarter of the violators were UAB employees.

4. Sexual Assault and Misconduct

Strong agreement that sexual assault is not tolerated on campus and that students would intervene in cases of assault. Challenges remain regarding attitudes and behaviors relating to sexual conduct.

5. Training Regarding Sexual Assault

Almost one-half of responding students indicated that they had not received training about sexual misconduct. One-third of students indicate gaps in their understanding of policies, procedures and resources regarding sexual assault.

6. Food Insecurity

Many students are experiencing food or shelter insecurity.

Next Steps

Full Technical Report

The full technical report will be available end of March 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a university climate survey?

A climate survey is intended to examine the full range of experiences for undergraduate and graduate students living, learning and working at UAB. This type of survey gives the university a glimpse into the student life and experiences that go to the heart of whether they feel a sense of belonging and inclusion, and whether they’re able to thrive and succeed here. The climate is often shaped through personal experiences, perceptions and institutional efforts.

What is the purpose of the survey?

The purpose of the survey is to gauge the current climate as it relates to disability resources, diversity, equity, inclusion and sexual misconduct at UAB and to identify opportunities for enhancements.

Why is a positive climate important?

UAB is committed to creating a welcoming, inclusive and respectful environment so students, faculty and staff can achieve their full potential. Diversity & Inclusiveness are part of the university’s Core Values and the Forging the Future Strategic Plan. Only in a positive, inclusive climate can we truly achieve our individual and institutional goals.

Who administered the survey?

The survey was sponsored by UAB in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) and Student Affairs. However, the survey was administered by a third party, the Center for Educational Accountability (CEA). CEA is analyzing and will report the results.

What will the final summary reports include?

CEA will provide a final report that will include an executive summary; a report narrative of the findings; frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations of quantitative data and content analysis of the textual data. The reports provide high-level summaries of the findings and will identify themes found in the data.

What will UAB do with the survey results?

The results will be used to get a better understanding of the diversity climate at UAB, including how people of different backgrounds and identities experience our campus. The results will also inform efforts to improve the campus climate.

Were my answers confidential?

Yes, your responses to this survey were completely confidential. Confidential means that the Center for Educational Accountability (CEA) staff had access to your responses but was not be able to link your responses in any way to your name, email address or Blazer ID. Your survey responses will not be available to anyone outside the CEA office. When survey results are reported, they will be presented as a group and any comments will be reported without links to any identifying information. Again, no survey will ever be linked to a student’s name, email address or Blazer ID.

Why did UAB ask about these sensitive topics?

UAB is committed to ensuring all students feel safe and included as they live, study and work on campus. Our goal is to promote a welcoming and supportive environment where students can excel, both academically and personally. To understand the climate at UAB, we needed to ask direct questions about topics that some may find sensitive. This information will help us prevent negative experiences and effectively respond when they do happen.

Who took the survey?

All credit-earning students at UAB with uab.edu email addresses are invited to take the climate survey.

Where do I find the survey?

The survey is now closed, but all credit-earning students with uab.edu email addresses were sent an email with the survey link in October 2019.

Was I required to participate?

You were NOT required to participate in this survey. Those who chose to participate were able to skip any question that made them uncomfortable to answer and they were able to exit the survey at any time.

 

Feedback

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