Diversity and Equity Campus Climate Survey
University of Bridgeport launched its first Diversity and Equity Campus Climate Survey in October 2020.
The University of Bridgeport prides itself on being a diverse community and endeavors to have every community member feel a sense of belonging. We know that our University is stronger when all of our voices are heard. We also know that there is room to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus; to that end, we launched the Diversity and Equity Campus Climate Survey. This survey, administered by The Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS), closed on November 20, 2020.
Executive Summary of 2020-21 HEDS Campus Climate Survey
In the fall of 2020, the University of Bridgeport launched its first campus climate survey designed to measure the overall sense of belonging on campus by gathering the thoughts and perceptions directly from members of our campus community. We hoped this information would help affirm and reflect the experiences of our diverse student body and offer metrics and strategic goals for university administrators and faculty alike. We are grateful to the individuals who took the time to complete the survey.
The Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) Consortium designed the survey tool and provided the reports and analysis shared below. This information will be analyzed and considered by the DEI Council as it works to create a strategic DEI plan for the University.
We invite our entire community to review the survey results and findings below and share any insights, recommendations, or proposals you may have using the Campus Climate Feedback Form.
Demographics & Participation
Our campus is known as a place where people from many cultures and backgrounds live, study, and work. Despite a lower-than-expected overall number of individuals who completed the survey, we received perceptions from a diverse cross-section of our community. The population of individuals who took the survey includes a significantly higher percentage of people of color and a slightly higher percentage of women when compared to all other institutions in the consortium. We also performed equally or slightly better than our peers in the participation of non-Christian faiths and people with middle-of-the-road political philosophies. We had only 2% less representation of people with long-term disabilities than our peers in the consortium.
Views on Diversity
The results of the survey, at first glance, portray a high overall sense of satisfaction and sense of belonging shared across the institution. Furthermore, UB respondents consistently scored higher positive views than the consortium average for the quality of their interactions with people different from them. Encouragingly, the frequency with which people reported hearing disparaging remarks at UB is between 5%-27% lower than the frequency reported by people at other participating institutions.
However, whenever discrimination or bias appears, it is divisive and erodes the trust of individuals and the institution. Analysis conducted by HEDS reveals areas of improvement and examples where the institution has fallen short of our goal of providing social and intellectual engagement and safety for all who seek it. Areas of concern include significantly low positive views of the campus climate, and low levels of institutional support felt by members of our community who self-identify as international citizens, disabled individuals, and LGBQ+. Data also suggests a significant number of acts of discrimination remain underreported.
Although distressing, the survey confirms some aspects of the campus environment that many were already aware of and attempting to address. We expect the resources, knowledge, and outreach to those communities who feel a lower sense of belonging can be enhanced as individual departments and groups review the climate materials and institute change within their units.
Discrimination and Harassment
Qualitative responses provided in answer to open-ended questions in the HEDS survey were reviewed for this summary but not included to protect the anonymity of the respondents. Nevertheless, we can share that the information from that data indicates one in ten individuals who participated in the survey reported having experienced discrimination or harassment during their time at UB. Some of the instances of harassment and discrimination were due to the individual’s social identity or group membership, including their gender. Most of the incidents that occurred in the past year were not reported to campus officials. Participants pointed to fear of retaliation from perpetrators or cynicism and mistrust of the school administration to explain their lack of reporting. UB must improve our accountability to and support for victims of harassment and discrimination.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs, which prepared this summary, will continue to solicit and share your impressions, insights, and feedback on the report with the DEI Council. The Office intends to continue to lead the administration of the survey on our campus in future years. It will measure and observe progress over time and incorporate the survey findings into its inclusion training sessions and workshops.
Multicultural Affairs has prepared this summary and submitted it along with the HEDS data below to the DEI Council, which began meeting in Spring 2021. Council members have been anticipating these results and are poised to address problem areas by coordinating initiatives and resources and creating a Strategic DEI plan. To address low response rates from faculty, staff, and students, the Council has led nomination processes and developed subcommittees that allow for increased engagement of campus stakeholders.
Finally, we hope the transparency with which we treat this data and the critical issues of concern to which they point can help build the kind of trust our community members need to report incidents of harassment and discrimination.
There is a great deal of insightful and substantive data included in the HEDS reports and supplemental materials and analysis provided in this report. We hope you will consider the findings and engage with the information as we have. We can all benefit from a collective effort to celebrate our achievements and confront the uncomfortable truths within. The Office of Multicultural Affairs and the DEI Council are available to assist any community member who wishes to dig deeper into the data to discover how you as a concerned individual or unit/department may contribute to the overall improvement of the campus climate. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Please review the reports below and use the Campus Climate Feedback Form to share your thoughts and impressions.
Powerpoint of visualizations of the data prepared by Professor Elisabeth Fles, for the DEI Council.