University of Arizona Campus Climate Survey
Continuously Assessing the Student Experience
In 1996, the University of Arizona conducted its inaugural Campus Climate survey as a way to keep a pulse on student and campus life. Every five years since then, the UA has continued to assess and measure the student experience, utilizing findings to challenge campus leaders to step up on behalf of their students.
The survey represents more than just numbers and reflects the individual experiences of students and alumni that have shaped the UA into the world-class institution that it is today. Most gratifying is the fact that students who were born during the first iteration of the survey are now thriving at the University as Wildcats.
Today, the survey is one of many tools that the UA deploys to better understand the student experience, but in 1996 it was among the first attempts to bring a data-informed mindset to the campus and remains one of the few longitudinal studies of its kind among large universities in the nation.
Critically, the Campus Climate survey represents opportunity. An opportunity to acknowledge marginalized groups who are disproportionately affected by the challenges posed in the survey, to ask tough questions such as ones about food insecurity, economic climate, and diversity. Finally, an opportunity for growth and ever-lasting change to create the best student experience.
Much like the student experience, the survey has evolved throughout the years. The Campus Climate survey was conducted in Spring 2016 and data analysis ensued which included responses from approximately 1,700 UA students. It measures student experiences across seven topics: general UA perceptions, general academic experience, student-faculty interaction, academic advising, engagement and involvement patterns, climate for diversity, and economic climate.
New survey items regarding food and housing insecurity were introduced, which has assisted UA in more fully understanding the extent to which undergraduate and graduate students consistently experience such challenges. Disaggregated data helped convey unique ways in which students experience the UA based on various aspects of their identity, such as their race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, transfer status, and Arizona residency.