DEI climate survey for Ann Arbor campus

November 10, 2021

The University of Michigan is partnering with SoundRocket — an independent, third-party, research and survey methodology company — to administer a diversity, equity and inclusion climate survey to the Ann Arbor campus community.

This survey is a follow-up to the university’s 2016-17 DEI climate survey and will ask every student and university employee — including Michigan Medicine employees — about their perspectives, opinions and experiences related to diversity, equity and inclusion at U-M.

The survey will take respondents approximately 15 minutes to complete, and responses will be confidential. No one from the university will have access to any identifying information.

“We want to hear everyone’s voices,” said Robert Sellers, vice provost of equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. “As we continue to work toward improving our campus climate, the survey is one tool we are using to demonstrate we value the many different perspectives of our community members.

“The feedback received from the survey will be used to measure our progress from 2016 and further our efforts to create an environment where everyone feels welcome, supported and valued.”

SoundRocket will begin sending survey invitation emails Oct. 28.

Differing from previous years, this year’s survey approach will consist of a census survey and sampling survey, taking place simultaneously.

The census survey will be available to all Ann Arbor campus students, faculty and staff, and a scientific sampling of community members also will be conducted. The sample group will receive a slightly longer version of the survey to complete. No one will be asked to complete two surveys.

“Special efforts will be taken to ensure those who receive the sample survey are statistically representative of the university as a whole,” Sellers said. “These steps will include a larger incentive for those who will take the longer survey, additional effort to contact those respondents, and follow-up with those who do not respond to initial participation requests.”

While participation is optional for everyone, every member of the campus community is strongly encouraged to complete the climate survey. All survey participants have a chance to win prizes, including $100 gift cards and other giveaways, for participating.

Participation also is strongly encouraged because the availability of unit-based climate reports will be contingent upon a high enough response rate within the unit to protect respondent confidentiality.

Survey questions were developed over the past year by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in consultation with a faculty advisory committee. Subject matter experts from the campus community and survey research experts from the university’s Survey Research Center also collaborated to develop the survey.

The climate survey will be open until mid-December and results will be available in March 2022.

The 2021 climate survey comes as the university is concluding the fifth year of its DEI Five-Year Strategic Plan, DEI 1.0. Following a yearlong evaluation process and a yearlong planning process, led by ODEI, the university will launch DEI 2.0 in October 2023.

“During the evaluation year, central and unit-level content and actions from DEI 1.0 will be thoroughly assessed to determine what actions and initiatives worked well, what actions and initiatives did not work well and what new DEI issues warrant greater attention in the future,” said Katrina Wade-Golden, deputy chief diversity officer and director of implementation.

“Findings from the evaluation year will then help guide the planning period and the information we gather will be used to help plan content and implementation strategies for DEI 2.0.”

Just as the university continues to engage in development activities between major fundraising campaigns, it will continue DEI commitments between strategic plans, including the work of the university’s DEI Implementation Leads.

In his annual leadership address earlier this month, President Mark Schlissel said, “Though we’ve made tremendous progress with our initial five-year DEI Strategic Plan, there is still much work to be done and this requires constant vigilance and a commitment to continuous improvement.”


This article originally appeared in the October 21, 2021 edition of The University Record