Summary of Graduate, Professional, and Undergraduate Students

Read the announcement here
March 24, 2022

Administration

The 2021 student surveys were conducted from March 29 to May 28, 2021, through three key channels:

  1. A campus climate survey was developed internally and administered to professional students at the University of Iowa.

  1. The Student Experience at Research University (SERU) general survey was administered to undergraduate students at national educational research institutions including the University of Iowa.

  1. The Graduate Student Experience at Research University (gradSERU) general survey was administered to graduate students at national educational research institutions including the University of Iowa.

As a whole, the survey reached three student population groups: professional, graduate, and undergraduate students.

Data Review & Reporting Focus

A selected subset of survey questions and associated data was chosen from each survey–graduates, professionals, undergraduates–and used to home in on two key diversity, equity, and inclusion-focused themes in the reports:

Perceptions of Belonging Across Campus

Equity in Student Achievement

The subset of analyzed questions was identical for graduate and professional students. The subset of questions for undergraduate students was similar to the graduate and professional student groups, but not identical due to slight differences in the survey tool.

The following summary report looks at three “areas” of questions across the entire student population that reflect the focal themes of “perceptions of belonging across campus” and “equity in student achievement.” This summary report is meant to be considered in tandem with the more specific reports for each student constituency.

Mission

  1. To give voice to every student, faculty, and staff member to confidentially share their perspectives on the state of the campus in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion

  1. To provide clear, transparent reports of the collected data that serve as tools and inspiration for leadership, at all levels of the university, to enact meaningful change toward an inclusive and equitable campus where all people can thrive

  1. To understand trends in our campus climate over time.

19 %

Undergraduate students

Administered to 19,998 with 3,884 respondents

28 %

Graduate students

Administered to 4,389 with 1,246 respondents

36 %

Professional students

Administered to 3,146 with 1,146 respondents

What we have learned from our students about our campus climate.

Belonging: Overall most students report a sense of belonging.

Overall, most students report a sense of belonging at the University of Iowa or within their graduate or professional programs.
This sense of belonging remains consistent across most social identities in the different student populations.

79 %

of Undergraduate Students feel a sense of belonging

89 %

of Graduate Students feel a sense of belonging

95 %

of Professional Students feel a sense of belonging

Belonging: Overall, most students report their social identities and characteristics are respected on campus.

With these ranges across student constituencies:

90-96 %

of overall Undergraduate Students report their social identities and characteristics are respected

92-97 %

of overall Graduate Students report their social identities and characteristics are respected

93-96 %

of overall Professional Students report their social identities and characteristics are respected

However, certain social groups are less likely than overall students to agree their social identity is respected.
STUDENT GROUPS Undergraduate Graduate Professional
Race/ethnicity: URM Students* 75% 76% 83%
Race/ethnicity: Asian Students 73% 76% 81%
Gender: TGNC Students** 70% 62% n/a
Political beliefs: Conservative students 44% 50% 41%
Ability: Students identifying as having a disability 79% 78% 82%
*URM/Underrepresented U.S. Minority includes people who identify as American Indian or Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Black or African American, and Latinx
**TGNC includes people who identify as trans woman, trans man, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, non-binary, or people who elected more than one gender identity

Equity in Student Achievement: Overall, most students report feeling respected by advisors or faculty.

Though professional students are less likely to agree their advisors/faculty have time for them when needed.

93 %

of undergraduate students feel respected by their advisors or faculty

97 %

of graduate students feel respected by their advisors or faculty

94 %

of professional students feel respected by their advisors or faculty

Equity in Student Achievement: Overall most students report their advisors or faculty have time for them when needed.

Though professional students are less likely to agree.

78 %

of undergraduate students report their advisors or faculty have time for them when needed.

92 %

of graduate students report their advisors or faculty have time for them when needed.

42 %

of professional students report their advisors or faculty have time for them when needed.

Equity in Student Achievement: Undergraduate Mentorship

Asked specifically to undergraduate students
(this theme will be added to graduate and professional student surveys in 2022)

43 %

of undergraduate students

agree they have worked with a faculty or staff member they think of as a mentor.

What are our students asking us to do?

The summary below highlights considerations from each specific student group report and applies a “whole campus” frame to those considerations. This summary is intended to be processed in tandem with the specific reports for each student constituency.

Recommendations

Overall the surveys reflect a sense of belonging from most students across student groups and social identities. Additionally, students feel their social identity is respected on campus, though some groups are less likely to agree, including students identifying as URM, Asian, TGNC , conservative (political beliefs), and as having a disability.

The data might compel UI leadership to better understand why many students feel they belong in their programs (or at the UI). Leadership can also continue exploring methods for ensuring students are heard and respected across all social identities and characteristics.

As noted in the considerations across each specific student group report, there are multiple approaches for strengthening respect and understanding across social identities. Regardless of tactics employed, it might be most useful for UI leadership to develop structures that align the efforts of several key offices and divisions–Provost, collegiate deans, Student Life, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion–toward a multi-tiered, sustained plan of campus culture improvement. Identifying strategic centralizations and creating systems for more robust communication channels between these academic support hubs can potentially multiply the effectiveness of faculty, staff, and student efforts in building a more unified campus.

While climate reports–and other forms of quantitative and qualitative feedback–might reveal urgent environmental issues that require immediate attention, the path toward a welcoming, inspiring campus climate is long-term work. Toward that outcome, leadership should facilitate a clear (and adaptive) multi-year strategy–and ensure sustained application of resources where needed.

The surveys suggest most students agree that their advisors and faculty respect them and are available when needed. However, two data points bear further investigation:

  1. Only 42% of overall professional student respondents agree that their advisors are available when needed.

  1. Only 43% of overall undergraduate student respondents agree that they have worked with a faculty or staff member they consider to be a mentor.

For professional students, this might necessitate further analysis on a program level to understand the mechanisms leading to the tension suggested by the report data. Involving all key constituents–advisors, students, and program administrative leadership–will likely be a necessary step toward achieving more positive outcomes.

Further analysis might also be prudent for the undergraduate community. A series of inquiries could determine if there are missing elements in student education regarding the role of mentors and how to engage them. Likewise, do faculty and staff need further direction on their possible roles as mentors to undergraduate students? An inquiry might also determine if there is a lack of resources available to provide meaningful mentorship to interested students. Ultimately, strong mentorship for the undergraduate population will serve as an instrument of retention, student achievement, and success in post-graduate pursuits.

Deeper analysis of our student groups.

History and purpose.

History and Purpose

Through an ongoing and evolving process, the University of Iowa assesses its campus climate for all stakeholders through the lenses of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The first survey occurred in 2018, incorporating feedback from faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students. The second survey, in 2020, engaged faculty, staff, and postdocs. During the 2020-21 academic year–an unprecedented year for students worldwide–a survey was conducted with undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

The next survey, launching March 29, 2022, will align our entire community of students, postdocs, faculty, and staff onto the same timeline for climate assessments.

The campus climate survey is implemented and reported by the University of Iowa’s Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with considerable support from faculty, staff, and students across campus.

Next steps.

Visit the campus climate timeline here.

Following the release of the 2021 student reports, the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion staff are immediately engaging representatives across the University of Iowa to discuss the data in real-time, direct conversations.

Within and beyond the scope of these specific reports, our division’s staff are also available, year-round, to:

  1. Address long-term strategies for building inclusive program climates.

  1. Facilitate training sessions for interested faculty and staff.

2021 Student Survey Implementation and Analysis Team:

The team:

 

Bradley Cramer | College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Kimberly Carter | Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost

Bruce Drummond | University Human Resources

Wayne Jacobson | Office of Assessment

Bria Marcelo | Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Dawn Moore | Information Technology Systems

Maurine Neiman | College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Andre Perry | Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Duane Staskal | Information Technology Systems

Charlie Taylor | Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Elizabeth Tovar | Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

KaLeigh White | Graduate College

Learn more.

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Strategic Planning Discussions

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2022 Campus Climate Survey

Watch your email beginning March 29, 2022!

Speech Bubble Two

Training Opportunities

Brianna Marcelo
brianna-marcelo@uiowa.edu

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Media Inquiries

Charlie Taylor
charlie-taylor@uiowa.edu

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