On Valentine’s Day morning, the receiving area of the Syracuse University Bookstore in the lower level of the Schine Student Center was bustling. Fruit baskets lined one shelf. Other shelves held large bags called the Valentine’s Snack Attack—filled with cookies,…
Chancellor Syverud Approves Climate Assessment Recommendations, Authorizes Next Steps
Following a campuswide climate assessment process, Chancellor Kent Syverud has accepted all five recommendations presented by the University’s Climate Assessment Planning Committee (CAPC). The Chancellor has also asked the members of his Executive Team to move forward with implementation of the recommendations and has called on the CAPC to provide periodic updates to the campus community.
“This comprehensive effort resulted in concrete recommendations that will enrich our learning, living and working environment,” says Chancellor Syverud. “I am grateful to the committee for its excellent work on this vital project. I also want to thank the many students, faculty and staff who shared their feedback throughout the assessment process.”
“Chancellor Syverud has been keenly interested in the committee’s work from the outset. We are grateful for his support,” says CAPC co-chair Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz, interim senior associate vice president and dean, Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience. “The climate assessment survey and all of the conversations that have occurred since its dissemination and evaluation have been invaluable in identifying issues that need to be addressed.”
The CAPC recommendations are the culmination of a research effort that began more than two years ago and included a campuswide survey by the committee and Rankin & Associates Consulting in February and March 2016. The survey was completed by nearly 6,000 students, faculty and staff.
Rankin & Associates analyzed the survey responses last summer and early fall, and then, in October 2016, consultant Susan Rankin led two public presentations on the survey findings. The full survey report and an executive summary were posted online. The campus community was invited to offer feedback on the survey findings via an online comments form and a series of small-group comment sessions.
The committee took into account information from the survey report and additional content offered during this feedback period to prepare its final recommendations. The complete text of the CAPC’s recommendations can be read at survey.syr.edu. Following are brief summaries of the recommendations and responsibility for their implementation:
Create a Shared First-Year Course for All Undergraduate Students
All first-year students will be required to complete a first-year course that introduces basic concepts of campus climate, including education about available campus resources, diversity and inclusion, sexual and relationship violence prevention, and fostering students’ sense of belonging.
Responsibility: Office of the Vice Chancellor and Provost; Office of the Senior Vice President for Enrollment and the Student Experience.
Create a Coordinated Education and Professional Development Strategy for Campus Climate-Related Issues
A comprehensive education and professional development strategy will be created to educate students, faculty and staff on climate-related issues. It will be delivered via multiple formats with specific audience needs in mind and assessed on an annual basis. Portions of this training could be mandatory (i.e., Title IX training for student leaders).
Responsibility: Office of the Vice Chancellor and Provost; Office of the Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer; Office of the Senior Vice President for Enrollment and the Student Experience in collaboration with the Student Association.
Establish an Advisory Work Group on Staff Climate Matters
An advisory work group will be formed, with broad-based representation of staff, to examine and form recommendations on staff-related issues identified in the climate assessment, including, but not limited to, staff morale, staff retention, career pathways and training opportunities, and the availability of avenues for addressing concerns.
Responsibility: Office of the Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer in partnership with major units across the University and the University Senate Committee on Services to the Faculty and Staff.
Develop Ongoing Proactive Communications Pertaining to Climate
The findings of the Climate Assessment Survey indicated a need for more proactive communications and transparency in strengthening the visibility of climate matters. An educational communications strategy will be developed to support ongoing improvements to the campus climate, including, but not limited to, periodic communications from the Chancellor and an online mechanism for better internal and external communications on campus climate matters.
Responsibility: Office of the Vice Chancellor and Provost; Office of the Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer; Office of the Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer.
Continue to Assess the Syracuse University Climate
Selected portions of the assessment survey will be repeated to monitor progress in the campus climate, particularly related to sexual and relationship violence, every other year. Other climate-related items will be reassessed in 3-4 years, when impact of the other recommendations resulting from this initial assessment have had time to take effect. In addition, academic and non-academic leaders will be encouraged to conduct climate conversations of their own on a periodic basis.
Responsibility: CAPC co-chairs, with support from current and new committee members.
“These recommendations are the culmination of efforts by the CAPC, working groups, administrative offices and a few thousand individuals who told us about their experiences through the campus climate survey and listening sessions,” says committee member Mary Lovely, professor of economics and chair of the International Relations Program in the Maxwell School. “I am very excited to see where these efforts take us as a community. Chancellor Syverud’s acceptance of the CAPC recommendations, and the campuswide efforts they set in process, will make Syracuse University a better place to live, work and study for everyone.”
CAPC members who contributed to the construction of the climate survey, additional post-survey information gathering and preparation of the committee’s recommendations are:
- Libby Barlow, assistant vice president for institutional research and assessment (co-chair, principal investigator)
- Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz, interim senior associate vice president and dean, Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience (co-chair)
- Katelyn Cowen, director of the Office of Health Promotion
- Bea Gonzalez, vice president for community engagement
- Sheila Johnson-Willis, interim chief equal opportunity and Title IX officer
- Andrew S. London, professor of sociology and associate dean of finance and administration in the Maxwell School
- Mary E. Lovely, professor of economics and chair of the International Relations Program in the Maxwell School
- Kevin Morrow, executive director of public affairs strategic communications, Division of Communications and Marketing
- Daniel Moseson G’17
- Terra Peckskamp, director of the Office of Residence Life
- Jonathan Schmidt ’17
- Barry L. Wells, special assistant to the Chancellor
To learn more about the climate assessment process, visit http://survey.syr.edu/.