University of Michigan
News for Faculty and Staff

May 22, 2018

DE&I All-Staff Climate Survey effort frequently asked questions

March 20, 2017

DE&I All-Staff Climate Survey effort frequently asked questions

Topic: Campus News

What is the All-Staff Climate Survey?

As a complement to the strategic Diversity, Equity & Inclusion five-year planning process, we are committed to the creation of scientifically valid metrics for monitoring the campus climate over time. To this end, on March 28, we will launch the All-Staff Climate Survey effort, which aims to gauge the climate regarding diversity, equity and inclusion among staff on the Ann Arbor campus.

The web-based survey will help schools, colleges and units create a base level of statistics for measuring climate in their local environments that can be repeated across time to measure progress toward established goals. It will also provide insight into key climate issues that warrant further, or a deeper level of, assessment.

Additional climate survey efforts will be deployed in fall 2017, which will focus on students and faculty.

When is the survey open and who can participate?

The All-Staff Climate Survey will be open from March 28-April 18 and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. All staff across the university are strongly encouraged to participate. The survey findings will provide critical information for assessing climate and will inform future DE&I-related initiatives in every school, college and unit.

Is the survey confidential?

Yes. The U-M survey will be completely confidential and voluntary. To maintain confidentiality for all respondents, the survey is being managed and hosted by SoundRocket, a survey research firm based in Ann Arbor that specializes in large-scale institutional data collection, and has particular expertise in web-based surveys. SoundRocket is a fully independent entity that is not affiliated with U-M through owners, staff or board members. A contract between the U-M and SoundRocket specifically requires this level of confidentiality.

SoundRocket incorporates and enforces stringent privacy, confidentiality and ethical research practices in all research activities, and goes beyond minimum requirements. SoundRocket ensures that respondent confidentiality is protected through a multi-faceted approach that includes: ongoing training (including employees, clients, subcontractors and other collaborators); robust data systems (using industry standard network security, logical access controls, monitoring and support); secure physical spaces (all SoundRocket property has physical barriers to access); and strict policies around data protections (including media handling, survey procedures, data transfers and ongoing risk identification).

SoundRocket will destroy all U-M faculty, staff, and student identifiable data on contract termination, or sooner if requested by U-M and no further scope of work requires its use. SoundRocket is also bound by a survivability clause that includes confidentiality beyond termination of the contract. Its full privacy and confidentiality policy may be viewed at

When will the results be available and how will they be used?

The survey findings will be available in September 2017, and will provide unit-level reports to help the individual units that developed DE&I strategic plans to measure those efforts over time. Note: The availability of reports will be predicated on a high enough response rate within each unit to protect respondent confidentiality.

How is this different from the first climate survey?

Earlier this year, the university surveyed a scientific sample of the university community, including 3,500 students, 1,500 faculty members and 3,500 staff members spread throughout the university community. The All-Staff Climate Survey effort is open to all regular staff members at the university. Additional climate survey efforts for all faculty and students will be conducted in fall 2017. This all-staff (and later, the all-student and all-faculty) effort will provide schools, colleges and units with information about their local climates, whereas the earlier sampling effort provides university-level data.

How were the questions created?

Survey questions were developed during the past year by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in consultation with a faculty advisory committee and a student-staff advisory committee. Subject matter experts from the campus community and survey research experts from the university's Survey Research Center also collaborated on the development of the survey.

What will the survey ask about?

The survey includes questions about demographic information that are intended to capture an accurate picture of the campus and the composition of its community. As a reminder, no one at the university will have access to any identifying information and every measure possible has been taken to ensure respondent confidentiality.

The remainder of the survey includes questions about the staff member's experience on campus relative to diversity, equity and inclusion. Participants will respond to statements about climate, rating questions on a scale of "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree." The survey will ask respondents to address questions about the university climate as well as the unit climate.