Campus climate surveys spring Baylor into action

The Baylor Sciences Building, like the campus climate survey, is dedicated to the future of Baylor. Mesha Mittanasala | Photographer

By Tyler White | Staff Writer

Baylor launched its 2023 Campus Diversity Climate Survey last week, beginning to gather responses from faculty, staff and students about diversity, belonging, inclusion and the overall atmosphere of campus.

Dr. Robyn Driskell, vice president and chief compliance and risk officer, said campus climate surveys are used to see where Baylor excels and where the university can improve. The results are shared with everyone in the Baylor community.

“It’s for students, faculty and staff, so everybody associated with Baylor,” Driskell said. “We parse [the results] out, so [departments] can see how their units are doing and working.”

Driskell said the surveys have highlighted areas of weakness that have allowed for the implementation of improvements. She said new programs and policies have been established in response to these surveys throughout the years.

“These are all based on how we knew we needed to make improvements,” Driskell said. “We knew we needed to continue to grow, and so we implemented new things university-wide.”

Since the surveys began in 2017, programs like the McNair Scholars Program have been established, and enforcement of policies like the Civil Rights Policy and Title IX Policy have been initiated. Additionally, strategic planning, listening sessions and the presidential conversation series have shown commitment to improving the campus climate.

Jones, Okla., junior Mike Chapple is a student representative for the campus diversity committee — one of the committees established in response to the surveys. Chapple said the student body is the largest constituency at Baylor, so it’s important for students to respond to these surveys and share how they feel.

“I do think that these studies are important because they’re gauging student attitudes and student atmosphere,” Chapple said. “And at the end of the day, a lot of these committees, advisory bodies … implement what they hear, and they hear from the surveys.”

Chapple said Baylor works to take all of the feedback it receives from students to make improvements for the benefit of the university.

“I would say to the student who is involved who is worried about campus events and is really concerned with the climate of their university, this is a prime opportunity to make their voice known — but also to students who don’t think it affects them, it really does,” Chapple said.

Driskell said it’s important for everyone at Baylor to take part in completing the survey. She said the results will help everyone learn how to improve the campus climate for years to come.

“We just want to know where we need to focus to continue to do better,” Driskell said. “We never really reach the finish line with this, because it’s always continuous improvement.”