The 2016 Employee Campus Climate Assessment, the third conducted in the past six years, was designed to assess employee perceptions related to campus and their immediate workplace. Results from the assessment contribute to the adaptive management of campus/workplace climate by informing institutional efforts of continuous quality improvement.  Although the assessment’s focus differs each year based on employee input, there are a core group of questions that are asked at each administration contributing to our ability to understand change in campus/workplace climate over time.

About a third of employees responded to the 2016 Campus Climate Survey. The respondents appear to be representative of the demographics of the entire population with two exceptions.  First, females are slightly overrepresented and second, faculty are slightly underrepresented. The survey was anonymous making analysis of non-responders impossible. A subgroup of respondents who expressed an interest were then invited to take part in follow-up focus groups to provide a qualitative perspective on the survey results.  Overall, employees perceive campus and their workplace favorably; however, there was response variance by employee category and individual characteristics as described below.

Employment Category

The 2014 assessment results revealed minimal between-group differences by employee category (administrative professional (AP), state classified (SC) and faculty), while the 2016 assessment finds consistent and significant employee category differences.  These differences are statistically significant with relatively small effect sizes; the variance within each of the groups is much higher.  Between group differences for respondents are subsequently described.

  • Faculty respondents have less favorable perceptions than AP respondents on all constructs.
  • AP respondents have significantly more favorable responses than SC respondents on all constructs except Work Overload and CSU Perceptions.
  • SC respondents had significantly more favorable responses than faculty on the constructs of CSU Perceptions, Work Overload, and Time Demands & Expectations.

Over two-thirds of respondents, regardless of employment category, agree that there are inequities and accountability differences among employment categories; however, SC respondents emerge as having particular feelings of disrespect and inequity based on their employment category and/or job type. Only 36% of SC respondents self-report they were treated with the same respect as other employment categories, while 58% of AP and 62% of Faculty report they were treated with equal respect.

Personal Characteristics

Results also varied by personal characteristics.

  • Respondents of color report experiencing more negative treatment and disrespectful behaviors than their peers. Specifically, AP respondents of color had significantly less favorable views of their Time Demands & Expectations and Accountability Standards compared to non-underrepresented employees.


  • Gender was another personal characteristic with notable differences in experiences and perceptions. Respondents who identify as self-identify, transgender, and/or non-binary reported more negative experiences with regard to disrespectful behavior and negative treatments compared to males and females.


  • Female respondents also had significantly less favorable perceptions of CSU’s accountability standards, yet more favorable perceptions of their Work Respect and Time Demands & Expectations when compared to males.
  • Female AP respondents had significantly less favorable scores for Accountability Standards and their perceptions of both CSU and their unit.


Areas of Focus

Among the focal areas Executive Leadership and Accountability Standards emerged as having the least favorable perceptions among employees. For example, less than a quarter of respondents agree CSU leadership is transparent in their decision-making and less than a third of employees agree university leaders adequately address negative or inappropriate behavior in the workplace.


The area of focus with the most favorable perceptions was overall CSU perceptions and Work Respect (seventy-five percent of employees agree they are treated with respect at work). Workload showed a wide variance among employees; however, roughly half of employees agreed the amount of work they have to do interferes with the quality they want to maintain.


The areas of focus that were most predictive of an employee’s unit perceptions where their physical environment and perceptions of accountability standards. Executive leadership was the area most influential on employees’ overall perceptions of CSU.


An additional finding that emerged was the overwhelming support of supervisory training (91% of employees agreed that supervisory training should be required) and supervisory diversity training (78% agreed diversity training should be required of all supervisors).


Comparison to 2014 Results

Overall, perceptions of CSU and individual units stayed relatively similar from 2014. Although slightly dropping from 2014 results (79%), 77 percent of CSU employees in 2016 agree they would recommend CSU as a place of employment. Sixty-four percent of 2016 employees indicated CSU’s climate has becoming consistently more inclusive of all employees and 67% of employees agree CSU recruits employees from a diverse set of backgrounds. Both of these items agreement increased from 2014 by at least six percentage points (58% and 57% respectively in 2014). However, despite 69% of employees in 2016 their unit provides employees with positive work experience (up from 63% in 2014), sixty-three percent of employees in 2016 agree their unit creates a supportive environment for employees from diverse backgrounds, while 68% of employees agreed with this in 2014.

The Assessment Group for Diversity Issues has presented the results to near twenty employee groups on campus in the Spring of 2017. Results should be used as footing for continued exploration/discussions and policy/initiative development. A committee has been formed to address campus climate change on campus. Units, groups, and departments are encouraged to contact the Assessment Group for Diversity Issues for specific data that will best inform their goals for climate improvements. Employee units/offices/departments are encouraged to use the results to inform their goals and practices.


The survey was a web-based survey administered via Campus Labs. Respondents were also provided an option to receive a hard copy or Spanish version of the survey in lieu of the online version. The Assessment Group for Diversity Issues designed the 2016 survey during the AY2015-2016 semester. Areas of focus were determined after soliciting feedback from campus constituents on their areas of concern. The 2014 survey results also informed the 2016 survey design by utilizing the previous version’s strengths and improving on noted limitations.  The survey included a variety of questions related to workload, work respect, leadership, search committees, the physical campus environment, diversity in the work environment, campus trainings, and campus perceptions.



All current employees at Colorado State University were invited to participate in the 2016 Campus Climate Survey. The President’s Office sent a link to the survey to the CSU’s employee listservs based on employee category on October 11, 2016. The email solicited employee participation and indicated that the results would be widely disseminated and how the results would be used. Reminders were sent two weeks after the first email via the three respective council representatives and their individual listservs. Data collected ended early November. Employees were given at least three weeks to submit the survey.


The survey took approximately 15-20 minutes to complete and was anonymous. Further, a climate survey website was also created that linked employees to an online survey, hard copy versions in English and Spanish, and contact information. Here, employees were given directions on how to submit a hard copy version (in a secured lockbox located at three places around campus) of the survey as well in English or Spanish (only 18 people utilized this option). All respondents were assured in the email and at the beginning of the survey that results would be kept strictly confidential, reported in aggregate, and no identifying information would be reported when analyses involved small cell sizes.



All Colorado State University employees were invited to participate in the climate survey via an employee listserv maintained by Human Resources. As of end of September 2016, there was 7,224 active CSU employees.   The survey was comprised of 8 major topic areas and 2,191 employees completed the questions for at least one major topic (30.3% response rate).  Response rates by employment category are presented in Table 1.

Table 1. Climate Survey Response Rate by Employee Category

Employee Category# of Respondents# of CSU EmployeesResponse Rate
All Employees2,1917,22430.3%
Administrative Professional1,1813,69632.0%
State Classified6621,68239.4%

Note: Respondents may not have completed the entire survey; therefore, respondent counts will vary depending on the topic/question.