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UM System, Campuses Share Results of Climate Study Assessment

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Christian Basi

September 12, 2017

Administrators will use the data from recent survey to improve learning and working climate.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In 2016, the University of Missouri System contracted with Rankin & Associates Consulting to conduct a climate study in an effort to identify the strengths and challenges facing students and employees at the UM System and all four campuses. The information in the report will provide university leaders with baseline data and help address future goals.

Upon completion of the survey, Rankin & Associates reported that the “findings were consistent with those found in higher education institutions across the country.”

“While some of the findings are very positive and encouraging, some of them will guide us in what we can do as a community to improve our environment,” UM System President Mun Choi said. “This assessment provides us an opportunity to be forthcoming and transparent; build upon our strengths; develop a deeper awareness of those challenges; and inform our institutional policies and practices to ensure each member of our community is respected, valued, safe and a vital part of a positive culture.”

This week, the University of Missouri System, in addition to the four campuses, is holding town halls to discuss the results of Campus Climate Surveys. This assessment provides a unique opportunity to build upon identified strengths, develop a deeper awareness of challenges and inform institutional policies and practices to ensure that each member of the community feels respected, valued, safe and a vital part of a positive culture.

“Every voice in our University community is important, and your input matters to us. For that reason, I am encouraged by the progress we have made as a community,” Choi said.

Recent efforts to improve the climate include:

  • Renewing the university’s commitment to free speech.
  • Hiring Kevin McDonald as the System’s first chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. McDonald also serves as vice chancellor of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity for the University of Missouri-Columbia. This position was one of the eight strategic initiatives that Board of Curators in November, 2015, focused on the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Implementing a new employee onboarding process that stresses enhanced communication and training on inclusion.
  • UM System and the four campuses have adopted the Inclusive Excellence Framework, which is designed to help the university integrate diversity and quality efforts. The framework outlines strategies that seek to increase enrollment of historically underrepresented/underserved populations; recruit and retain a more diverse faculty and staff; create a climate that is supportive and respectful and that values differing perspectives; and more.
  • Continuing to develop the Administrative Leadership Development Program for staff and the Leadership Development Program for faculty that helps to improve leadership competency.
  • Offering more professional development opportunities for staff.

“We have important work ahead,” Choi said. “Together, we can accomplish our goal of a stronger university system.”

The executive summary of the UM System Climate Assessment can be found here: http://umurl.us/dIwd

The UM System Town Hall presentation by Rankin & Associates can be found here: http://umurl.us/gocV