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Office of Diversity & Inclusion

Climate Survey Summaries

About the Climate Survey

In November of 2009 Emerson College requested feedback from students, faculty, and staff with regard to perceptions of diversity at Emerson in the form of a campus climate survey. A total of 832 confidential responses were collected and analyzed. Across the three groups of respondents common themes emerged, suggesting areas where the College is perceived to be performing well and others where work needs to be done.

Survey Responses

Students, faculty, and staff were generally positive with regard to their prospects for success at Emerson, with a majority of respondents indicating that Emerson is a place where they can succeed, regardless of race or ethnicity. However, all three groups were less positive in assessing the extent to which they believed Emerson’s climate contributes to their success and each indicated that the role of campus mentors was lacking. Although success is generally perceived as attainable, it is clear that success is perceived to be attainable in spite of, rather than in partnership with, Emerson’s current environment.

While all three constituent groups felt respected by their peers and were likely to indicate that they fit in socially, constituents also perceived the racial/ethnic diversity at Emerson to be lacking. Additionally, all groups were unlikely to indicate that their experiences at Emerson had improved their ability to interact with people from different backgrounds. Finally, all three groups were ultimately suspect of Emerson’s commitment to diversity. Challenging this perception of Emerson’s environment as homogeneous, and overcoming general doubt regarding Emerson’s commitment to diversity, can only be accomplished through a prolonged and organized effort by the College at multiple levels.

Emerson students, faculty, and staff were asked to provide written comments regarding what aspects of Emerson encourage or discourage diversity, and what recommendations they would make to increase the sense of diversity at Emerson. While the content of responses varied across the constituent groups, several common themes emerged from their written responses. Among all three constituent groups, respondents were able to point to specific programs or initiatives they felt had been effective in promoting diversity at Emerson, including various student groups, campus offices, and specific College-wide diversity initiatives. All three groups also prominently identified the lack of diversity within the Emerson population at all levels as a principle obstacle to improving diversity. The most frequently cited suggestions for improvement targeted making Emerson more heterogeneous through the admissions and hiring process as well as increasing financial aid to improve socioeconomic diversity.

Survey Analyses

In addition to the broad findings above, each constituent group provided additional information, including successes and challenges. Detailed analyses of each of the three constituent groups are provided via the links to the individual reports below.