Presidents Commission on the Status of Women

Campus Climate Study 2005


Comments:

You will find many similarities in the ways in which people respond when comparing student, staff, and faculty. This gives me some measure of confidence in the data itself and in finding something meaningful. By far sex, racial grouping, and sexual orientation were characteristics that impacted responses across the groups. Sometimes years at MTSU, for all groups, and religious affiliation were important as well.

I did not include the graduate student information because I am not confident in the data. First, few students responded and of those who did there were many blanks given the students do not spend a lot of time on campus. The data is available if you want it, but I did not put it into the same summations as the other groups.

The tests that I ran on the data were fairly simplistic - mostly Chi-square, an occasional T-test and correlation. I did this for simplicity of others' evaluations and because the data is not always conducive to more sophisticated analysis such as multivariate analysis, but I will do additional analysis on certain questions if that is desired and appropriate.

Finally I enjoyed this project and hope the committee and university find the information useful. I do apologize for taking so long, but when the work has been done mostly by me alone, well...first I underestimated the time such a project takes and it is easy to have this project overtaken by more pressing demands.

Please let me know if you have other requests or questions concerning these reports, findings, etc.

Recommendations:

The PCSW race and gender subcommittee needs to critically review the information and make recommendations for programming, workshops, etc as relevant. The committee should consider the possibility of producing a document for others, beyond making my summations available to whomever wants it.

Most large data sets that are compiled nationally are done at least every other year so that longitudinal information is gathered. I strongly recommend this survey be made available every other year. Now that the survey is readily available, easily updated, statistical comparisons readily established, etc. it will be a relatively easy institutionalized practice. This could be made available via the PCSW for little cost (student worker familiar with SPSS and one summer salary would be sufficient from now on) or part of institutional research. My point is that I am hesitant to draw too many conclusions on a one-shot survey, but I believe the survey has a potential to provide useful information about both positive and negative social change in our campus climate. Certainly as time goes by questions would need to be revised, added or deleted.

We should work with the graduate student survey and try to make it more useful.

Limitations of and recommendations for the data:

Obviously the sample is not random, therefore generalizability is limited, but I stand by the value of the information we received by making the surveys available to the whole campus. (For those who may have forgotten, we made the surveys available on the MTSU website for each of the groups identified. Through various strategies we encouraged and reminded people to take the survey which was available for approximately 3 months). We would need to weigh the cost and efficiency of random sampling for future surveys.

In an effort to assuage persons' fears of not remaining anonymous, we left off some identifying characteristics of staff/administration and faculty. This needs to be changed so that we can more readily identify target groups for programs, activities, etc. For example, we did not ask about college affiliation for faculty and I think we should next time. The classifications for staff were confusing and became impossible to separate respondents, therefore we did not know important information about experience with various issues, etc. This should change in future surveys.

Trying to decipher and organize comments was time consuming with very little reward as most were individualized complaining that lacked patterns. The only interesting comments among students were when several identified a "bad" professor by name. Among staff the most valuable comments were those related to low salary, lack of ability and knowledge about advancement, and subsequent decisions about looking for employment elsewhere. The same could be said for those persons filling non-tenurable positions across campus.

- Dr. Jackie L. Eller
Chair, Sociology and Anthropology