Questions and Answers from Campus Climate Study Results Webinar on October 22, 2020
How will the inequities in compensation among staff and faculty be addressed?
The Provost Office issued a RFP for a salary study. AON was selected as the consultant. They provided their report in May 2020 to the University. Provost Wilkin has formed a UM Pay Equity Task Force to evaluate consultant recommendations and recommend a future pay strategy and philosophy for the institution as well as to investigate and recommend pay adjustments as identified by AON. The Provost will provide the AON report and update the UM community on the progress of this effort at the Provost Forum in October.
In what ways are the results of this study going to be utilized on campus?
The campus survey will be used to inform action planning sessions with undergraduate, graduate, staff, and faculty stakeholder groups. The suggested actions to improve climate and advance UM’s mission will be considered and used to refine existing institutional priority areas or serve as standalone new priority area where appropriate.
How will the university address the lack of opportunity related to staff development and professional advancement?
The university recognizes that for many employees professional development and advancement are central in a meaningful work life. For staff to successfully professionally advance, there must not only be opportunities for professional learning and the growth and development of new skills, but there also must be a coalescing of timing, need, and availability between the potential position and the staff member desiring to advance. The university typically receives an average of 40-60 applications for each available position and a total of nearly 20,000 applications per year. Also see questions 8 and 14.
When will we know if there is enough data for a unit so that a report can be generated? I understand the 6 month moratorium, but could we be waiting for a report that ultimately cannot be generated for our unit?
The Director of IREP will inform a school/unit as soon as possible if there is insufficient data to generate a school/unit report.
Thank you for the helpful presentation. I wanted to hear more about issues around disability. Disability services, particularly for staff and faculty members, are limited. Even certain services and accommodations are requested, frequently, it is not certain if we can receive the services, in part, because of a lack of understanding of the needs. This clearly affects our performance at work. If you can address this problem, I’d appreciate it.
Other than the regular accommodations available to everyone on campus, such as maintaining doors and walkways and other considerations in the physical space, employees with disabilities can expect the university to act in a manner specifically geared to providing reasonable accommodations that would allow them to perform the essential functions of their job and be successful. This is an individualized and interactive process, depending upon the needs of the employee and the reasonableness of the accommodation needed in each instance. If an employee needs assistance they are encouraged to engage their supervisor, or EORC or Human Resources, so that UM can begin the individualized interactive process of determining needs and what accommodations might be available. Often this can be accomplished at the unit level, but understandably employees might want or need assistance in approaching their unit leader with their particular issue. When that is the case, EORC is happy to help.
When will a searchable version of the report be available for download?
The UM Campus Climate Report was made downloadable searchable on September 29, 2020.
What percentage of respondents who experienced sexual harassment or something similar utilized UM resources, like the counseling center or Title IX office or UPD?
• I contacted an UM resource n= 195 %=21.3
• Counseling center n= 22 %=15.2
• Title IX coordinator n=22 %=15.0
It is concerning that 60% of faculty have considered leaving. If that possibility (of leaving) is in the back of their mind, how can they engage with students in a positive and meaningful way? In thinking about doctoral students, if faculty leaves with little notice, this could impede the student’s progress and completing the dissertation. What is the university doing to rectify this unhappiness among faculty?
The university seeks to hire and retain talented, hardworking, and accomplished faculty and staff. We recognized that our people are our greatest strength. The Campus Climate Study and Action Planning Process seek to identify our strengths and opportunities to make UM more equitable, welcoming, and productive. As the survey indicates, faculty and staff consider leaving for a variety of reason. The most frequently cited were low pay, limited opportunity for advancement, interested in another position, campus climate unwelcoming, and increased workload. The university has initiated a pay equity and compensation study with Aon to better understand compensation internally and externally. The Campus Climate Study and Action Planning Process purpose is to understand how our university can be made more welcoming and supportive for newcomers, as well as for employees who are longer serving. Also see questions 3 and 14.
Will the responses from the law school (students and staff/faculty) be compiled before the law school forum?
Responses from the law school will not be compiled before the law school forum. The law school forum was held September 30, 2020, and unit reports will be made available in March 2021.
Are we looking at additional steps to help victims report misconduct to help with campus safety?
Our action planning process identified this as a priority. The suggested approach is to normalize a culture of concern and help and taking action to further reduce the stigma associated with reporting and support seeking.
What is an immediate priority for the institution based on the campus climate study data?
The campus climate report, presentations, and action planning listening sessions frequently identified areas of opportunities centered on improving transparency, communications of institutional initiatives and progress, cohort based programs for student and faculty success, hiring and compensation equity, professional paths and opportunities for advancement, understanding across divergent world views, and respect and concern for those within and beyond one’s social and professional circles.
Was the name/branding “Ole Miss” mentioned as a factor that positively or negatively affected campus climate—or that instigated issues surrounding race or political views?
A search of the term “Ole Miss” in the report illustrates that many respondents frequently referred to the University of Mississippi using the nickname Ole Miss. However, a cursory review of the report did not suggests any focus on the relationship between the use of the nickname and its impact on campus climate or issues surrounding race or political views.
When will the university address the problem of supervisors prohibiting staff from taking courses even on their own time?
With department head approval, qualifying employees may take University of Mississippi courses for credit and receive tuition scholarships for a maximum of two courses not to exceed 8 credit hours per semester. More information can be found at HR’s “Education Discounts” page . The reasons that this benefit may be lost and how to reestablish the benefit are explained within the pdf located on UM’s “Policy: Further Education” page. Supervisors, managers, and department heads are responsible for the effectiveness and performance of their department. As such department heads may decline an application if the employee’s performance is in question or if there is not enough coverage within the department to carry out the duties/service to students. While there is not a formal appeals process, if an employee is concerned that a department head is not approving employees’ requests for other reasons, the employee may address it with the next level manager or VC or reach out to Human Resources.
The number one reason staff thought about leaving UM was due to low salary/pay rate, given the fact that we know our salary when taking the job, what are your thoughts as to why this becomes an issue for leaving? Job expectations outweighing compensation? Other factors related to taking to the job that are not met (i.e. being able to go back to school/study)?
In climate and employment satisfaction surveys, salary and advancement are frequently referenced as important factors with the least degree of satisfaction. In general, employees desire more pay, and the desire typically increases with time. Employees may feel that over time they accept more responsibility and that these expectations are not compensated with additional pay. Employees have a variety of choices and tradeoffs to balance work life and compensation needs. Some employees wish to remain within a specific organization and work within a specific functional area. Typically, over the span of a career, opportunities to advance professionally become more limited within that organization and role. This may motivate employees to seek opportunities for advancement beyond their current organization. Also see questions 3 and 8.
Will the disaggregated data/reports for the individual schools be made publically available?
School/Unit reports will be provided to the individual schools/units. School/Unit reports will not be made publically available.
How will this information be tracked and monitored? When will the next climate study be?
The University of Mississippi owns the campus climate survey and data. The study will be used to develop action items. These items will become part of the university’s strategic planning and assessment process. The goal is to repeat the climate study periodically, every three to five years.
I want to know why the qualitative section of the report left identifiable information. We took the survey understanding that our comments would be anonymous. Departments and situations are discussed which make the responder obvious.
All of the quantitative data was aggregated when the n < 5 to maintain the confidentiality of the respondents. All of the qualitative data was redacted (e.g., all names were removed). Following the R&A review, the draft report review committee from the University of Mississippi also reviewed the qualitative responses to ensure that the no identifiable information was present in the report. If respondent identifies a quote that they provided, it is known to them, but others are not aware it was their quote unless they shared their identity.
Sue, what have other campuses done well after climate studies? Does UM have the resources and organization structure to respond well to this study?
Campuses that conduct follow-up forums to encourage community participation in determining the actions moving forward do well. Particularly if they create accountability and communication on the action process to the community. UM has an array of offices and resources to respond well to the Campus Climate Study. With the support of the entirety of senior leadership, the study’s genesis was the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, whose mission is to collaborate with units from across campus to transform people, institutions, and communities through partnership, access, and engagement that fosters belonging, enriches learning and development, enhances research, and creates equitable opportunities for all. Chancellor Boyce, Provost Wilkin, and each Vice Chancellor at the university have contributed time and resources in assessing the campus climate and developing and sustaining actions that create a more welcoming, inclusive, and productive university. The findings in the report will inform and support the institution’s future strategic planning processes and tracking as assessment of climate initiatives.
Will you also be using other data to inform these decisions? For example, data from the Title IX on how many reports they receive? Data from the Conduct Office?
Offices with specific responsibilities such as Title IX, Student Disability Services, and Student Conduct track these issues specifically within the context of their function. The Campus Climate Study adds layers of data that are available to these offices and provides a greater context to understand how these specific issues affect the overall campus climate. Each of these offices are strategic partners to ensure that the University of Mississippi is an inclusive, welcoming, and productive community.
Dr. Mead mentioned that the Cohort model was an action step that we were considering to combat a loss of sense of belonging. Could she elaborate on this?
The University of Mississippi has experienced success in using cohort models to improve student success by fostering a greater sense of belonging. This is evident in the success of IMAGE, McNair, Luckday, and FASTrack, as well as several others. There are several additional cohort based programs that are being explored and/or pursued by UM, including: TRIO Student Support Services, TRIO GEAR UP, and Bonner. Additionally, thoughtful expansion of learning and residential communities, including those that focus on community engagement and leadership development are being explored. Similarly, faculty hiring that focus on cluster-hires in specific and/or complementary areas create a sense of belonging and positive professional cohesion that fosters faculty productivity, retention, and advancement.
Are you going to use this data to submit and NSF ADVANCE grant?
The Office of the Provost and the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement are currently considering how to move forward with an application for an ADVANCE grant. Certainly the campus climate report and data will be valuable in this process. These data and any refined reports that are requested through UM Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Planning will be available to scholars and administrators who wish to submit grants.
Why did so few men participate in the study? (about half!)
Women, in general, respond to surveys at higher rates than men. There are several studies that support this tenet. Two references follow here:
• Smith, G. (2008). Does gender influence online survey participation?: A record-linkage analysis of university faculty online survey response behavior. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 501717. – One of the seminal articles as it pertains to higher ed
• Slauson‐Blevins, K., & Johnson, K. M. (2016). Doing gender, doing surveys? Women’s gatekeeping and men’s non‐participation in multi‐actor reproductive surveys. Sociological Inquiry, 86(3), 427-449.
Is there a plan for how this will fold into the University’s new messaging/branding with marketing?
In late 2019, University Marketing & Communications created a committee focused on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion within the department and throughout broader marketing and communications efforts across campus. Since that time, the UM&C DEI committee has developed goals that will form the basis of a diversity plan with the aim of creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive department and working environment and will facilitate how the unit can infuse DEI best practices and guidelines throughout institutional messaging and marketing initiatives.
Is climate study data available to researchers?
Individual researchers may submit a proposal to request an additional report that addresses their research question using this form. Completed proposals will be reviewed to ensure the research question can be examined without compromising confidentiality of respondents. If approved, the researcher is provided with a report based on the data to respond to their research question after March 22, 2021. If you have questions about the proposal process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.