2013-2014 Climate Survey on Race and Ethnicity (Faculty and Staff) 

 

Campus Climate Survey Task Force

 

Edythe Abdullah, Special Advisor to the President

President's Office

 

Katie Chenard, Assistant Director

Adam W. Herbert University Center 

 

Cheryl Gonzalez, Director 

Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity 

 

Janet Hurlock-Dick, Adjunct Professor

College of Education and Human Services

 

John Kemppainen, Director

Academic Advising, College of Education and Human Services

 

Sophie Maxis, Assistant Professor

Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management 

 

Judy Rodriguez, Chair/Professor

Nutrition and Dietetics 

 

Oupa Seane, Director

Intercultural Center for PEACE

 

Tarah Trueblood, Director

InterFaith Center

 

Thomas Van Schoor, Dean of Students

Student and International Affairs   

 

JeffriAnne Wilder, Associate Professor 

Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work

 

Fen Yu, Assistant Director

Institutional Research 

 

Executive Summary

 

The University of North Florida’s commitment to diversity in our student body, faculty, staff, and academic teaching, learning and research has been a strongly held value since the institution’s inception in 1972. As evidenced by UNF’s mission statement, values and strategic goals, diversity is one of the university’s top five priorities.

 

The UNF Climate Survey on Race and Ethnicity was released to staff and faculty, including Other Personnel Services (OPS) and adjunct faculty, March 2014 and yielded a 42 percent response rate. This abbreviated report is issued to the university community. A more in-depth comparative report will be published after the student survey results are collected. In this report, the contrasting views of staff and faculty, by sub-groups, are shared. The major categories compared are all employees, under-represented minority faculty and staff, Asian faculty and staff, and White faculty and staff. Additionally, adjunct faculty responses are broadly reviewed. 

 

The compared sub-groups noted above are compared to determine if the experiences of different races are remarkable. Minorities in general have a different experience in an environment in which they are not the majority. Asians/Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans are more likely to experience feelings of isolation and marginalization in those environments. Under-represented minorities (URM) are African Americans and Hispanics. These individuals have the same experiences as all minorities but their encounters in the academe are exacerbated because their numbers are so small.

 

The following charts are breakdowns of the current UNF faculty and staff diversity mix. (See Charts A and B)


Chart A:  Race Breakdown - Faculty

Chart A - Race Breakdown - Faculty

Chart B:  Race Breakdown - Staff
Chart B - Race Breakdown - Staff

Survey Development 

 

A Campus Climate Survey Task Force was convened of various stakeholders in the institution. Their role was to assist in the review of other universities’ surveys, communicate issues they felt were important to explore with their constituent groups, provide personal and professional counsel on the university’s climate, assist in identifying and moderating pre-development focus groups and provide input into the creation of the final survey.

 

Before the survey’s release, the task force hosted seven focus group meetings, with 56 participants of staff, faculty and students. Questions were posed to elicit responses that might lead us to ask cogent and relevant questions in the survey. To ensure a significant response rate, vice presidents’ staff meetings and the Faculty Association were visited to promote the survey and encourage participation. Additionally, emails were sent to University Support Personnel Association (USPA) and Administrative and Professional Association (A&P) staff by their association presidents to encourage participation.

 

The survey allowed employees to answer questions based on their status as faculty or staff. Note that all questions did not have to be answered by all respondents. Therefore, some charts may not reflect the entire number of respondents as 100 percent of the total responses. Additionally, a few questions allowed multiple responses by one respondent.

 

Participant Characteristics

 

UNF’s Climate Survey on Race and Ethnicity received a significant employee response. Forty-two percent of the staff and faculty completed the survey. The total number of completed surveys was 1,146. Of the completed surveys, 31 percent (n = 351) was from faculty and 69 percent (n = 795) was from staff. Staff respondents were primarily A&P at 47.2 percent (n = 371) and USPA at 39.3 percent (n = 309). OPS employees followed in the number of responses at 6.9 percent (n = 54), A&P executive at 4.5 percent (n = 35) and others at 2.2 percent (n = 17). Within the faculty ranks, associate professors led the response rate at 24.1 percent (n = 84). Assistant professor and adjunct faculty responses were both at 17.8 percent (n = 62/62). Full professors followed at 16.7 percent (n = 58), instructors at 10.9 percent (n = 38), librarians at 3.4 percent (n = 12) and lecturers at 1.1 percent (n = 4). Responses indicating a status of other within faculty were 8 percent (n = 28).  (See Charts C and D)


Chart C: Faculty Respondents 
Chart C - Faculty Respondents

Chart D: Staff Respondents
Chart D - Staff Respondents

Females made up 60 percent of the respondents and other gender identities were less than 1 percent, combined. Hispanic employees were 6 percent (n = 62) of the respondents, Asians were 5 percent (n = 54) and Blacks comprised 15 percent (n = 144). American Indian/Alaska Native represented 1 percent (n = 11) of the respondents. 

 

Findings

 

Closed and open-ended questions, as well as Likert scale questions were posed to the university community. These questions covered a wide range of topics and accounted for more than 40 questions. Additionally, employees were given five opportunities to make comments about their mean responses. More than 570 comments were submitted.

 

Highlights

  • Job Satisfaction

Approximately three out of four respondents, or 77.7 (n=850) percent of UNF employees, are satisfied to very satisfied with their positions at the university.  Fifty percent (n=542) of employees were satisfied to very satisfied with their career advancement. 

  • Hiring Practices

Nearly four out of five, or 78.6 percent (n = 827) of employees, responded no to the question, “Have you observed unfair, unjust or perceived discriminatory hiring practices at UNF (e.g., pool diversity, supervisor bias, search committee bias, job offer)?”

  • Employment Practices

A resounding 84.3 percent (n = 885) responded no to, “Have you observed unfair, unjust or discriminatory employment practices at UNF, up to and including dismissal?”

  • Tenure and Promotions

Four out of five employees responded no to, “Have you observed unfair, unjust or discriminatory tenure/promotion practices at UNF?” In fact, 81.9 percent (n = 856) responded no to this question.

  • Instances of Marginalization

One in four employees reported feeling marginalized within the last two years in response to this question: “Within the last two years, have you experiences instances of marginalization (e.g., sense of exclusion or feeling left out) at UNF?”

  • Values, Relationships and the Academic Environment

Employees were asked to rate 33 statements regarding their perceptions of the university’s values, employee relationships and academic environment. These statements allowed each employee to rate his or her perceptions on a five-point Likert scale. The responses were aggregated to calculate the mean rating for each question for each sub-group compared in this report. Along a continuum, the mean ratings and categories are as follows.

Strongly Disagree

1

Disagree

2

Neutral

3

Agree

4

Strongly Agree

5

In general, employees agreed with the importance of diversity in the university. Overall the employee mean rating was in the agree mean category. However, the mean ratings declined as individuals were asked how the climate of diversity and inclusion, as it relates to race and ethnicity was experienced by them personally. In other words, employees believe that diversity is important but did not always agree that the climate reflected diversity and inclusion with regard to their experiences.

 

The following questions yielded the widest variance between mean ratings by sub-groups. Questions whose mean ratings reflect a difference of 0.50 or greater between one or more subgroups (White faculty, White staff, URM faculty, URM staff, Asian faculty and Asian staff) are noted in this executive summary.  

  • I feel free to discuss racial and ethnic differences with my co-workers. 

White staff reported they feel more comfortable discussing racial and ethnic differences with a co-worker than Asian faculty. White staff generated a 3.71 mean rating, very close to the agree mean category. Asian faculty’s mean rating was more neutral at 3.18.

  • Diverse curriculum content and transformational learning opportunities (TLOs) that reflect the contributions, research, thoughts and impacts of racial and ethnic groups are critical to great teaching and learning. 

Focusing on faculty responses only, URM faculty believed, stronger than any other group, that diverse curriculum was critical to teaching and learning. Their mean rating was 4.57. Asian faculty nearly agreed with this statement with a high neutral rating of 3.85. However, there is a large mean difference of 0.72 between URM and Asian faculty’s perception about this question.

  • I am expected to represent the point of view of my identity (e.g. race or ethnicity) by my colleagues.

URM faculty generated a 3.14 neutral rating. On the other end of the spectrum, White faculty disagreed with this statement, with a mean score of 2.42. The difference in mean ratings is relatively large at 0.72. URM faculty, as well as Asian faculty, at a 3.12 mean appear to perceive some level of the burden to represent the point of view of their race.

  • I feel consistently under scrutiny by my colleagues.

White staff do not feel that they are under scrutiny by colleagues, generating a disagreed mean of 2.06. However, Asian staff appear to disagree less with the statement about scrutiny with a mean rating that was almost neutral of 2.74. A 0.68 difference is large enough to warrant some exploration of the reasons for the difference.

  • There are higher expectations for me than other faculty/staff.  

White faculty reported that they do not believe there are higher expectations for them than other employees, generating a disagree mean rating of 2.42. Asian staff are neutral about this statement, generating a 3.04 mean rating. However, the 0.62 difference in the two ratings indicates a variation in the perceptions about high expectations.

  • I believe I only receive rewards and recognition based on working harder than others.

Asian staff seemed to believe more than Asian faculty that the awards and recognitions they received were based on working harder than other. Asian faculty seemed to disagree somewhat having generated a 2.63. Asian staff, on the other hand were neutral about this statement. The perception difference was 0.60 of the mean, which leads one to wonder if this is related to the types of rewards and recognitions available to faculty versus staff or something more meaningful.

  • Salary determinations are fair.

Asian faculty generated a neutral mean rating, although low neutral, 3.08 perspective regarding the fairness of salary determinations. This might indicate an acceptance of the way salary determinations are made. URM and White faculty disagreed that salary determinations are fair, generating mean ratings of 2.54 and 2.53 respectively. The mean perception difference was 0.54.

  • Salary determinations are clear.

Asian staff are neutral regarding the clarity of salary determinations, generating a 3.24 mean rating. On the other hand, URM staff moderately disagreed at 2.71with the assertion that salary determinations are clear. In fact, across the board all sub-groups disagreed to some degree with this statement, except staff.

  • The University’s administration adequately reflects the diversity of the faculty and staff.

URM faculty disagreed with the statement that the university administration reflects the diversity in faculty and staff, with a mean rating of 2.57. However, Asian’s perception of the university’s administration reflecting diversity neared a high neutral mean rating of 3.64. This question generated the largest perception difference between sub-group employees. The mean difference was 1.07.

  • The University understands the value of a diverse faculty and staff. 

White staff reported that the university understands the value of a diverse faculty and staff. They generated the highest mean rating of 3.84, almost an agree rating. Conversely, the URM faculty perception was less positive about the university understanding the value, generating a 3.18 rating. There is a 0.69 difference in mean ratings between URM faculty and White staff.

  • The University acts effectively to recruit and retain a diverse faculty and staff.

URM faculty moderately disagreed with the statement that the university acts effectively to recruit and retain diverse employees. Their mean rating was 2.72. Asian staff’s perception about this statement was more positive, yielding a mean rating of 3.69 or high neutral. This question generated the second highest difference in sub-group perceptions of 0.97.

Observations

 

The findings of the UNF Climate Survey on Race and Ethnicity clearly illustrate the university community’s recognition of the value of diversity and inclusion. Employee responses regarding this recognition are evident by the no responses to the discriminatory practices questions and the agree and high neutral mean ratings regarding the mission and climate of the university. However, the trend of agree and neutral ratings begins to decline when employees are asked questions about how they perceive treatment toward them, a racial or ethnic group. In other words, employees believe that diversity is important but did not always agree that the climate reflected diversity and inclusion with regard to their experiences. 

 

The greatest mean differences by sub-group related to questions about equity in treatment and the university fully reflecting its commitment to diversity initiatives. There are some areas of concern that should be explored in greater depth and may present opportunities for enhancing university initiatives and shifting sub-group perceptions. One such example is the findings regarding instances of marginalization. Another example is the wide variation between the belief that diversity within the university is important, yet some sub-groups perceive that the university does not effectively recruit and retain diverse employees. Moreover, some employees feel the burden of representing their race’s point of view and salary determinations are not fair or clear. There appear to be opportunities for enhancing our practices and the university climate.   

 

While the survey was designed to examine the race and ethnicity climate, other findings regarding diverse groups emerged. Concerns regarding treatment based on gender and sexual orientation, status and relationships within the institution, and age became evident through comments and survey choices on reason for perceived discrimination. There were numerous comments about the importance of hiring the best qualified applicants versus diverse hires. However, at no point did any respondent advocate diversity hires for the sake of diversity. 

 

Next Steps

 

The UNF Campus Climate Survey Task Force will review these findings and submit them to the Commission on Diversity and Inclusion (CODI) for review. After review, the CODI will submit recommendations to the president. The Climate Survey Task Force will release the student survey and compare and combine it with the faculty and staff survey. The student survey will be released in early October, completing the collection of input from the entire university community.  At that time, additional findings will be issued and a comprehensive report published and submitted to the CODI and the university community.

 

Edythe M. Abdullah, J.D.

Special Advisor to the President
September, 2014