Part 3: Developing the DEIBlueprint Climate Survey

Part 3 is designed to understand the needs of the department through the lens of the chair and committee members, prepares you to get grounded in the strengths of the department and the data you already have and think about what other information you may want to collect before guiding you through the creation of your departmental DEIBlueprint Climate Survey. The Climate Survey is a call to action to department members signifying a healthy climate for all is a priority and an opportunity to engage and impact next steps for the department.

Understand Department Needs

Use these discussions as an opportunity to capture vital information about the department that you can use to inform your strategy moving forward.

  1. What is the most important challenge your department currently faces in general?

  2. What is the most important challenge your department currently faces related to climate?

  3. What does success look like for the challenges you face related to climate?

  4. When was your climate committee formed? How long have they worked together? Do you have any notes, documents or artifacts?

  5. What are some things that might get in your department’s way of advancing a healthy academic climate?

  6. What are the strengths of the department? Or what are the two or three things the department does best?

  7. What are the opportunities for the department? Or what frustrates you about the department?

  8. What exposure has the department had related to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and justice (DEIBJ) concepts and activities?

  9. To what degree has the department applied these concepts?

Identify What You Already Know

Identify what data your department is already collecting. Capitalizing on existing data is an important way to combat survey fatigue, and make sure that your community’s already-expressed views are heard and utilized.  

  • Has the issue of climate come up before? 

  • What other data points could give you some indication of where there may be strengths or problems in your community? 

  • Do you have an existing Equity and Inclusion Plan?

  • What is the demographic information of the department?

  • What information do you have from campus-wide climate survey reports?

Explore the Question Bank and Design the Survey

At a planning meeting, you will discuss the purpose of the climate survey, design assumptions, explore the question bank, select modules and determine the constituents who will receive the survey.

Purpose of the climate survey

The purpose of the Climate Survey is to discover new concerns, themes and entry points that can be addressed and actionable. Departments will select modules from a question bank to create the Climate Survey.

  • The survey is intended to be brief and able to capture broad themes and concerns.

  • All department constituents should feel safe responding to all survey items, knowing that the survey is anonymous.

  • All survey topics are intended to provide information that can translate into constructive department actions and solutions.

  • All survey items are written in such a way that respondents won’t inadvertently disclose personal information, including what could require reporting to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment & Discrimination.

Design assumptions

  • Several modules are obligatory to assess overall and general climate and to provide comparison 

  • Each module when selected requires the use of all items in the module

  • All survey items are intended to be appropriate for all constituents

  • Demographic information is not collected

  • There are no open-ended questions, in order to preserve anonymity, avoid disclosures/accusations, and speed analysis

  • Survey findings will be provided overall, and will be broken out by constituent groups

Explore the question bank

These are the modules in the question bank from which you will select. Depending upon how many modules you select, it will take respondents approximately 10 minutes to complete the survey. Each module has between 4 and 12 questions.

These modules are required.

  1. Overall climate

  2. Diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and justice (DEIBJ)

You may select any of the modules to include in your Climate Survey.

  1. Department, leadership, structures and governance

  2. Principles of community

  3. Mentoring and support

  4. Workload equity and satisfaction

  5. Norms for department behavior

  6. Psychological safety

  7. Bullying, exclusion, harassment

  8. Attitudes, beliefs, norms

Once the modules are selected, your climate survey will be built in Qualtrics by the Program Director for you to review and test.

Prepare Communications

Communicating regularly and often with your department is important. You share concrete information, purpose and how these actions contribute to fostering a healthy academic climate.

Communication templates

Communication templates are available for you to use to communicate with your department about launching, reminding about completing, and closing the Climate Survey after three weeks.

Here are the suggested communications.

  1. Introduce your participation in DEIBlueprint - purpose and commitment

  2. Launch the climate survey - include link to Climate Survey and directions

  3. Send reminder #1 -  include link to Climate Survey and current completion rates

  4. Send reminder #2  - make it brief and include link to Climate Survey and deadline

  5. Close the climate survey - share appreciation for participation, completion rates and what to expect next

Tips for increasing completion rates

Ideally, more than 50% of each constituent group participates in completing the survey. 

  • Emphasize the why. This is an opportunity for each department member to have an impact on next steps.

  • Encourage completion at a standing meeting or prior to class starting.

  • Have a “survey party” and serve food. Or initiate other incentives.

  • Create a QR code and post the flyers around the department.

  • Have a representative from each constituent group send reminders or communicate why it’s important.