Guest post from José Villalba, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer

As part of our commitment to institutional evaluation and actions that demonstrate inclusive excellence, Wake Forest will administer a campus climate survey as part of the Belonging and Inclusion Climate Evaluation (BICE) in mid-January 2024. Wake Forest has partnered with Rankin Climate, an organization that has more than 20 years of experience working with more than 200 universities, to conduct the climate survey. 

What is a campus climate survey?

Climate surveys focus on the feelings, relationships and tensions experienced by the various constituents of a community. In other words, a campus climate survey is a measure (real or perceived) of the campus environment and structures related to interpersonal, academic, and professional experiences that our students, staff and faculty have.

Why do a campus climate survey?

Campus climate surveys are important to understanding how a University is functioning because how we experience the campus can influence whether individuals or groups feel listened to, valued, safe and/or treated fairly.

The University’s Strategic Framework states that our institution will “continue the work needed to provide greater access and opportunity to success through equitable learning, living, and working environments.” Collecting and evaluating campus climate data will give campus leaders the tools needed to inform decision-making strategies as they relate to realizing inclusion, diversity and equity. More specifically, the data will influence how we evaluate a variety of initiatives, structures and opportunities to enhance the experiences of students, staff and faculty.  

Where we are now

Rankin is currently doing an environmental scan of Wake Forest, which includes reviewing all existing policies and practices including – but not limited to – those that create and sustain a sense of belonging on campus.  

Rankin and our Belonging and Inclusion Campus Evaluation Executive Committee, which includes both faculty and staff representatives, are currently in the final stages of developing our climate survey.

Next steps — and what we need from you

In mid-January, all students, faculty and staff of the Reynolda Campus, Charlotte campus, and School of Medicine will receive an email prompting them to take the survey, specifically directing them to an anonymous link or QR code to complete the survey.  

We urge every member of our community to complete the survey when they receive the prompt – preferably in one sitting — because we need a strong participation rate to ensure the data we collect is representative of all our community members’ experiences.

“The goal here is transparency. Transparency better informs policy, practice, and decision-making strategies in order to support a diverse, inclusive, and equitable learning community that facilitates belonging for all its members.”

José Villalba, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer

All of your answers will remain anonymous: Neither Rankin Climate nor anyone at Wake Forest will be able to identify you from your survey responses. Results will only be reported in group form; there is no individual identification.

We will also ask faculty and staff members to help communicate the importance of this survey in the spaces they occupy: their teams, departments, schools or programs, in individual classes, during staff meetings, and with digital and other signs in public spaces. We’ll do the same with student leaders and student organizations. 

By encouraging our colleagues and our peers to participate in taking the survey, each of us will be playing a role in the project’s success.

Looking ahead

Following the close of the survey period, Rankin’s team will review the data and create a comprehensive report and a dashboard. The 2024-2025 academic year will be our time to develop specific action plans that support the recommendations from the survey.

We will share more information with the community in the new year. For now, we are grateful for your support of this important work of making Wake Forest a place that facilitates belonging for all.