2014 Employee Campus Climate Survey

This year’s survey was designed to assess the current campus climate of the university.

Results are intended to

  • Provide an overall picture of CSU’s employment experiences and perceptions
  • Further CSU’s commitment to institutional accountability
  • Inform policies, initiatives, and opportunities that will provide an exceptional and equitable work environment
  • Provide a foundation for the beginning of longitudinal data collection and comparison for select items

The 2014 Employee Campus Climate Survey was designed by the Assessment Group for Diversity Issues (the “Committee”) under the charge of the Vice President for Diversity. Results are intended to provide insight about employee experiences and perceptions, further our commitment to institutional accountability, and inform policy and campus initiatives.


All current employees at Colorado State University were invited to participate in the 2014 Campus Climate Survey. It was made available electronically and in hard copy; in English and Spanish. Unless the respondent identified him/herself, responses were anonymous. For those who self-identified, responses were kept confidential. A more detailed methodology and response rate report is available for review below.

The Committee worked collaboratively to develop and refine the survey questions. The topics were selected in response to the results from the 2012 Climate Survey and included the following constructs: Commitment, Institutional Communication, Supervision, Equitable Treatment, Discrimination & Harassment Experiences, Campus Perceptions, and Personal and Employee Characteristics. For the majority of questions, employees were asked to rate their level of agreement with a variety of statements on a five-point Likert agreement scale. Principal axis factor analysis and Cronbach’s alpha were used to determine construct validity and reliability of developed measures.

Response Rate

According to Baruch and Holtom (2008), the average response rate in organizational research is 52.7% when data is collected from individuals. However, they note the standard deviation is large (20.4 points).

The response rate for the current survey was 30% for Faculty/AP/Classified Staff. This, in itself, is an interesting result and raises the questions of why. Are employees distrustful that the results are confidential…and if so, how can trust be improved? Are employees disinterested in the process…and if so, why? Is there concern that results will not impact change? These questions are important and deserve further attention in the future. Due to the anonymous nature of the survey we have no way to track the demographics of non-responders. Nor are we able to contact them to better understand the reasons they chose not to participate.

Generally, respondents self-report overall satisfaction with their employment at CSU. This finding did not vary significantly across employee groups. By construct:

  • Commitment: Regardless of employee group, most respondents are committed to CSU and would like to continue employment at the institution. The level of commitment was slightly lower for faculty respondents (about 1/3 of a point on a 5-point scale).
  • Communication: Results indicate a need for improved institutional and departmental communication regarding compensation/salary, personnel changes, campus initiatives, and professional development opportunities.
  • Supervision: Well over 2/3 of respondents reported satisfaction with their supervisor. However, supervisor respondents, particularly women supervisors, reported a need for additional preparation/resources at the point of transition to a supervisor role.
  • Equitable Treatment: 65.2% of respondents agree that all employees should participate in diversity training. Disturbingly, 28% fear negative job consequences if they were to raise issues related in inequity in the workplace. While the majority of respondents reported equitable treatment on campus, there about 1 in 5 reported issues related to inequity that should be better understood.
  • Discrimination and Harassment: About 1 in 5 respondents has experienced discrimination or harassment in their job in the past year. The rate is higher for both female and minority employees. Nearly 1 in 3 respondents have witnessed this type of behavior.
  • Campus and Department Perceptions: 79% of respondents would recommend CSU as an employer. Nearly half believe the campus climate has become consistently more inclusive. 66% of respondents agree that CSU creates a friendly environment for employees from diverse backgrounds.
  • Other findings:
  • Across the majority of the constructs, administrative professional respondents rated their perceptions and experiences more positively than faculty respondents, while state classified staff responses typically had a mean somewhere in between the two employee categories.
  • Generally, employees were more positive in their responses to institutional level questions than to questions at the department level, particularly so for campus and department perceptions.
  • Among faculty, there were no significant differences in constructs by rank or college. However, when comparing faculty by gender, supervisors who were men reported feeling more prepared and having more resources than women supervisors. Further, there was evidence that women faculty perceived their department’s commitment to diversity lower than male faculty.
  • About a fifth of employees responded, but did not divulge their employee category or other demographic information. This subpopulation typically responded with the most negative perceptions and experiences on the above constructs.

During the spring of 2014 an employee climate survey asked respondents if they wished to participate in focus groups. This report is a summary of information gathered from employees who participated in groups during the summer and early fall of 2014.

All efforts were made to keep participation confidential and employee classifications in separate focus groups. About 263 employees had indicated an interest in participating. At least four attempts were made to contact each employee. In addition to the focus groups, two telephone interviews were conducted for employees in remote locations who could not participate. Employee participation included 60 of 145 (41%) Administrative Professionals, 28 of 60 (47%) State Classified employees, and 24 of 58 (41%) Faculty. The employees who could not participate indicated time restraints as their main reason, although some were no longer interested. There was also some initial confusion with the title of Employee Climate Focus Groups and climate change as in global warming issues.

Employees participated because of an interest “to give back’, ‘to be part of the solution’ and to learn about other areas of campus. Their comments have been compiled into general themes in this report to maintain confidentiality and address issues that affect many employees. Some employees have already tried to address their issues through other channels and most are sincerely interested in finding ways to improve the workplace climate at CSU.

Employee Climate Survey Focus Group Report

The 2012 Employee Climate Survey represents a positive step toward documenting institutional values of inclusiveness and diversity, integrity and mutual respect, opportunity and access, and accountability.

University efforts to improve workplace climate over the previous ten years include multiple campus-wide survey efforts with the 2012 Employee Climate Survey being the most current.

The first administration of this survey does not provide indications of continuous quality improvement but is intended to establish baseline measures for items that will guide future administrations of the survey.

2012 Employee Climate Survey

In Spring 2010, the Colorado State University President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity conducted an informal straw poll (i.e. an unofficial, non-scientific survey of opinion) of campus community members, regarding the climate for academic achievement and work on the Fort Collins Campus. Drawing on the structure of a survey conducted in 1996, the survey attempted to discover if circumstances had improved and what significant concerns should be addressed by the Commission in the coming year(s).

Campus Climate – 2009 EBI Data

Colorado State University participated with other colleges and universities across the nation in the 2009 EBI Campus Climate Assessment. The benchmarking survey is a service offered by Educational Benchmarking Incorporated (EBI) and is an opportunity to identify areas of excellence as well as areas in need of improvement.

1,316 undergraduate and graduate students from Colorado State University responded to 172 questions in the online survey. (1-7 point scale) – students were oversampled by race/ethnicity (100%) and by disability (100%) based on information provided by the Office of Resources for Disabled Students.

The large majority of students at Colorado State University are “satisfied with their experience” (77.4%) at CSU and would “recommend CSU to siblings or friends as a good place to go to college” (75.3%), according to the results of the 2009 Campus Climate Assessment.


What attracts high-achieving, socioeconomically disadvantaged students to the physical sciences and engineering?
Published in the College Student Journal
Socioeconomically disadvantaged (SED) students are less likely to major in physical sciences or engineering. To guide recruitment and retention of a diversity of talent, this study examined what attracts high-achieving SED students to these fields. Participants were 50 undergraduates majoring in physical sciences or engineering enrolled in the McNair mentoring program. Ninety-two percent were first-generation in college and/or low-income; 56% were female, 40% Hispanic, and 36% White. This group of SED students mostly explained their attraction to physical sciences or engineering in terms of scientific curiosity and a passion for research. They also reported being excited about the possibility to use their science and engineering education for social purposes. Securing a good job emerged as another important motivator, particularly for male and ethnic minority respondents. These findings suggest common as well as unique reasons for majoring in physical sciences or engineering among a diversity of SED students. [full article]

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