Update on Campus Climate Initiatives

Campus Climate Survey

The University of New Hampshire administered a campus climate survey in spring 2019 asking all students, staff and faculty to share their perspectives on what it is like to live, learn and work at UNH. The survey, facilitated by the consulting firm Rankin and Associates (R&A), asked about experiences related to current attitudes, behaviors, standards, and practices of employees and students. The results of the survey were shared at a forum Wednesday, Sept. 11, from 3:30-5 p.m. in the MUB Strafford Room.

The executive summary of the report is available for review.

view the final report

view the final presentation

Projected Timeline

Fall 2018


Phase I. Initial proposal meetings


Phase I. R&A Internal and external systems analysis/Review of other relevant data


Phase II. Begin development of assessment tool


Phase II. Begin development of Communication & Marketing Plan

November - December

Phase II. Complete Communication & Marketing Plan


Phase II. Complete assessment tool


Phase II. IRB Proposal Development
Approval projected — January 2019

Spring 2019


Phase III. Survey Administration


Phase III. Data Analysis

Summer/Fall 2019


Phase IV. Development of Report


Phase IV. Presentation of Report Results to community
Note: Date of presentations to be determined by CSWG


Phase IV. Presentation of Report Results to community


The survey will be conducted by a task force comprised of UNH students, faculty, and staff under the leadership of Christine Shea, professor of decision sciences, and Kathy Neils, chief human resources officer. Additionally, Sue Rankin of Rankin & Associates Consulting will serve as an outside consultant.

Sue Rankin, who has conducted more than 150 campus climate studies at colleges and universities across the country, provided a bank of well-tested survey questions and the UNH Climate Survey Task Force will select and customize the questions for use in our climate study.

It is important for the people who participate in climate surveys to “see” themselves in the response choices. The survey attempts to be as inclusive of all members of the university community as possible, so we have attempted to reduce the number of participants who must choose “other” when responding to survey questions.

The Climate Survey Task Force will submit the survey and all data collection efforts to UNH’s Institutional Review Board to ensure that all data collection efforts are ethical, voluntary, and protect the confidentiality of all respondents. We will not collect any data through interaction with individual respondents, and identifiable private information is protected.

Ideally, the university would like a 100 percent response rate in order to understand the experience of every community member. However, a 30 percent or higher response rate will allow us to report the survey results with confidence. Even if we do not achieve a total response rate of 30 percent, we still would be able to report on individual population results in which we receive a minimum 30 percent response rate. For example, if 20 percent of the faculty respond to the survey, we will not be able to make reliable generalizations to all faculty. If, however, women faculty respond at a rate of 30 percent or higher, we will be able to report on generalizable themes for women faculty.

We will not collect any data that is protected through regulation or policy such as social security number, campus identification number, medical information, etc. When we report on the survey, no personally identifiable information will be included. Confidentiality will be maintained to the degree permitted by the technology used. For example, IP addresses will be eliminated when surveys are submitted, and all data will be secured on a firewalled server with forced SSL security. We will also not report any group data for groups of fewer than five individuals. Instead, we will combine the groups or take other measures to eliminate the potential for demographic information to identify respondents. Identifiable information submitted in qualitative comments will be redacted.

Participation in the survey is voluntary, and participants do not have to answer any question except the first positioning question (student, faculty, or staff status). Participants may skip questions they are uncomfortable answering. All subsequent research efforts and publication will be subject to IRB approval.

The Climate Survey Task Force will provide an executive summary, a report narrative of the findings, descriptive and inferential statistics, and content analysis of the qualitative data. The report will identify themes present in the data, and generalizations will be limited to groups or sub-groups with response rates of at least 30 percent. The university will use the results to identify two to three areas for targeted campus attention and construct appropriate programmatic plans of action. Results should be available by fall 2019.

As a public records state, draft reports can be withheld from disclosure. Final reports, however, are subject to disclosure upon request. The president expects that our final report will be public on the university’s website.

Raw data can be withheld from public records requirements due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Due to the large number of demographic questions, each survey response will be treated as potentially individually identifiable, even though no specific identifiers will be collected. Raw data for specific indicators could be subject to disclosure upon request, but any information that could directly identify an individual would be redacted from the records to protect individual privacy.

The task force will ensure that data reflective of small groups is not released. This could include higher-level aggregation of data and limiting the number of demographic variables released. The UNH IRB and legal counsel will review all requests for data to ensure protection of participant privacy.

All data are stored on a secure server, and only the principal investigators will have access to the raw data files. All members of the analytic team have undergone CITI (research with human subjects) training and have extensive research experience.

Privacy information and data use policy will be provided in the introduction to the survey, and respondents will continue to take the survey only when they consent to the conditions of the survey.

The task force wants to be as inclusive as possible and provide the opportunity for all members of the UNH community to have their voices heard. The survey will be open to the population (all members of the UNH community) to avoid missing particular groups that may be underrepresented in the community.

For more in-depth information, download the UNH Climate Project Presentation:


Do you have a question not answered here?

Please contact: Janice Pierson

Contact List: Campus Climate Survey Task Force

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 

Dear Members of the UNH Community:

At the University of New Hampshire, we seek to create an environment characterized by openness, fairness, and equal access for all students, staff, and faculty. A welcoming and inclusive campus climate is grounded in mutual respect, nurtured by dialogue, evidenced by a pattern of civil interaction, and is one of the foundations of our educational model. 

You may recall that a presidential task force on campus climate issued a report and recommendations last spring. One of those recommendations was the creation of a council to advise and inform me on issues of race, inclusion and civility. Another recommendation encouraged the integration of diverse perspectives and research methodologies in the curriculum of English 401, a required course for all first-year students. Furthermore, in addressing recommendations about programming, the university’s master calendar now includes dates of importance to religious and other campus groups for better planning of syllabi and community events. Learn more about the continuation of this work on inclusivity.

The task force report also advocated for a vital and relevant campus climate assessment, a tool providing us with the opportunity to make positive, lasting changes toward a more inclusive campus. To ensure full transparency and to provide a more comprehensive perspective, we have contracted with Rankin & Associates Consulting to lead this effort. The firm has conducted over 190 campus climate assessment projects over the last 20 years.

A team from R&A currently is working with a task force of students, staff, faculty and leaders to develop and implement the assessment. The results will better enable us to develop both programs and policies to increase inclusivity in areas which are shown to be problematic and to enhance and replicate programs and policies in areas which are shown to be successfully meeting the needs of the community.

A climate project website, currently under construction, will provide regular communication on the project’s process and results. If you have questions or concerns please direct them to the task force co-chairs, Christine Shea, special assistant to the provost for UNH ADVANCE, and Kathy Neils, chief human resources officer. We will send a link to the site when it goes live at the end of November and additional information about the project as it is available.

I hope that you will join me in supporting this important project by taking the survey when it is available this spring.

James W. Dean Jr.