Climate Check

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Kennesaw State launches first campuswide survey to assess the University’s environment for…

Georgia (Feb 19, 2014)

Kennesaw State launches first campuswide survey to assess the University’s environment for diversity and inclusion
A lively celebration in Prillaman Hall Feb. 19 launched the first campuswide assessment of the culture and climate at Kennesaw State University. 
Cupcakes, posters, business cards and specially designed T-shirts were only backdrops for a milestone initiative called “Ignite: Your Voice, Our Future,” which gives Kennesaw State students, faculty, administrators and staff an opportunity to weigh in on the current campus climate and provide useful insights into how it might be improved.   
Beginning Feb. 19, students, faculty, administrators and staff can complete the online “Assessment for Learning, Living and Working,” which is designed to determine how different groups view and experience the University and also how they believe other individuals and groups are treated.
“This assessment is an important first step in creating a more inclusive and welcoming Kennesaw State University,”said Erik Malewski, chief diversity officer. “We need a better understanding of our best practices — there is a lot in diversity and inclusion we do well already — and our challenges — those areas that we need to improve.”
The assessment is so critical to Kennesaw State’s future, Malewski said, that the “Ignite” campaign has been supported by extensive promotions across the campus and designed with “some very attractive” incentives. Through daily drawings, participants will be entered to win one of five $50 gift cards awarded each weekday the survey is live. Students completing the survey will also be entered in a drawing for President Dan Papp’s parking space for one month. “The sooner you take the survey, the better your chances of winning because you’ll be in each day’s drawing,” Malewski noted.
To assure confidentiality, the independent consulting firm of Rankin & Associates will administer the survey and analyze the data. The firm also has worked over the past year with the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and a 40-member, Campus Culture and Climate Assessment Task Force responsible for guiding the survey development process and promoting its benefit to the campus community. The task force, headed by co-chairs Valerie Whittlesey, associate vice president for curriculum,and Christine Ziegler, professor of psychology, comprised faculty from each of the colleges, staff from academic and operational units, and undergraduate and graduate students.
“We wanted to ensure that the members of our community felt comfortable taking the survey, so we partnered with Rankin and Associates, who are leaders in institutional climate assessment,” Malewski said. “We want everyone to know that the thoughts and experiences they share will remain entirely confidential; no one will be identifiable.” 
The online survey, which takes between 15-25 minutes to complete,is available at  It can also be accessed on mobile devices by scanning a QR code from promotional fliers and notices posted across the campus. In addition, some 200 student, faculty, and staff ambassadors will be wearing the “Ignite” T-shirts with the QR code on the back, allowing mobile devices to scan the code directly from the shirt. Pen and paper copies of the survey in English and in Spanish can be picked up from the Offices of Diversity and Inclusion, Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, and disAbled Student Support Services. All pen and paper surveys come with postage paid, pre-addressed envelopes and will go directly to Rankin and Associates.
Once the survey is completed, Malewski said, the data will help guide his office in determining how to support successful programs and develop initiatives that improve the environment for learning, living and working at Kennesaw State. 
“We have created an action oriented process and are ready to use the results of the survey to develop initiatives that make us even better,” he said. “The actions we develop out of the survey results might further support some of our best practices or address concerns that surface. The important thing to know is that the findings will directly feed into a series of actionable items that will be completed within 12 to 18 months after Rankin and Associates presents its report to the campus community in fall 2014. We will use the results of this survey to make a difference.”

-- Sabbaye McGriff


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit