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What is Campus Climate?

"Campus climate has been described as a part of the institutional context that includes community members' attitudes, perceptions, behaviors, and expectations around issues of race, ethnicity, and other diversity characteristics (Hurtado et al. 2008). "Campus culture and climate are significant factors that affect students of color achievement and activities during the collegiate experience" (Doan 2011).

An unhealthy campus climate can impact students in the following ways:

  • Students of color see lower degree completion relative to the overall student population, specifically White and Asian students.
  • Asian and Hispanic students are at higher risk for suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.
  • Students of color experience harassment at higher rates than White students.
  • Students of color perceive campus climate to be more racist and less accepting than their White peers.

Purpose and scope

Through the National Assessment of Collegiate Campus Climate (NACCC) survey, we assessed students’ experiences and sense of belonging at the University. As a result of such assessment a campus action team will determine the appropriate action steps necessary to ensure a welcoming, inclusive, and anti-racist campus climate is provided for students. The recommended assessment was inclusive of undergraduate (part time and full time) students at Metropolitan State University. This work would coincide with an employee engagement survey (PACE) during a similar time frame.

Why examine Campus Climate?

  • Examining the campus climate and culture is an important part of campus assessment strategy and use of evidence-based practices to achieve equity and student success for the most vulnerable campus communities.
  • Research demonstrates that possessing institutional understanding of the campus climate can lead to new initiatives and enhanced understanding of key issues that university leadership must address toward creating a more inclusive campus environment.
  • Provide opportunity to engage campus stakeholders in critical dialogue, assist campuses in moving beyond anecdotal data and move towards increased campus responsibility and accountability for creating a welcoming environment, where students, faculty and staff can grow and thrive.