Campus climate survey to gauge WKU experience

Lashana Harney

Surrounded by ongoing research, student emails often fill up with survey requests. This time, it’s about campus climate. 

Students, faculty, staff and administrators were asked a series of questions regarding the social atmosphere of WKU. 

The campus climate survey intends to measure the current attitudes, behaviors and experiences of WKU students, faculty and staff.

Graduate students from the department of counseling and student affairs created the survey.

Jackson, Mississippi graduate student Stephanie Lott said the research study began as a project for a research methods class. 

“Our assignment was to pick students that we need to research,” Lott said. “We were given LGBT students. So, given that group and how the friendly campus results just came out, this was a great opportunity to do this study on campus climate.”

Lott said the research started last month and is still ongoing. Lott said the research group plans to post results by mid-December.

Branson, Missouri graduate student Ethan Sykes said although the research is for a class, the results will be sent to administration to give a sense of how the students feel about their campus.

“We plan to branch out and maybe share our findings with administration on campus to maybe where they can do something…” Sykes said. 

Sykes said the survey will end before Thanksgiving. The results of the survey will vary depending on how many people respond.

“With any research, the more responses we have, the better our data and results,” Sykes said.

Sykes said the research group has already received over 150 responses from faculty and staff and about 85 responses from students.

“We’ve got a lot of surveys back,” Sykes said. “Some good, some bad.”

Sykes said the group used the email listservs to reach out to students, faculty and staff.

Louisville graduate student Danielle Hawks said the survey is a way to voice concerns about campus social climate while remaining anonymous.

“It’s the purpose of anonymity,” Hawks said. “Although there is a focus in our topic on LGBT students, I think our survey is going to allow people, who identify in any way, shape or form as a minority, to say how they feel.”

Sykes said the questions ask about the experiences of students, such as “Have you witnessed any misconduct on campus?” 

Lott said the responses to the questions will not only say what the campus climate is, but what it’s not. 

“I think the survey is going to do a lot of good things,” Lott said. “For whatever the results say, we hope that we have enough numbers to make it legitimate.”