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Brockport continues campus climate survey


Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 08:02



The College at Brockport will be continuing its campus climate study in the coming weeks, which involves getting feedback from students, faculty and staff.


Trevor Lewis/NEWS EDITOR

Many students believe Brockport has a diverse campus, but there is always room for improvement. Focus groups will be meeting in the coming weeks as the study begins.

The College at Brockport is hosting a campus climate study for the first time since the middle of the 1990s. The first open meetings of the study were conducted Dec. 4 and 5 and involved students and staff. 

The study will try to get the outlooks, sentiments and insights of every individual who works and studies in a college campus community. It is being held at Brockport to get a sense of the inclusiveness that exists on the campus. The data gathered during the study will be used to improve the understanding of how a college is viewed by its students.

“Just because you have one of each race does not mean that you are diverse,” said Britney Willis, a sophomore who lives on campus in the residence halls. “It might mean that you are diverse for the minority, but it does mean that you are diverse for the majority.” 

Many colleges conduct these studies to determine the diversity of their campus, which is important because of the large influence it has on employment of diverse staff and faculty members.  The climate of a college affects the productivity of every part of the college’s inhabitants.   

“I really feel comfortable,” said Alyshia-Mae McElroy, a junior who commutes. “I really feel like I made a good choice to come here because I do feel that it’s diverse and I do feel the teachers see that. They take initiative to make sure that everyone is OK with everything.” 

Brockport’s President John Halstead is at the heart of the campus climate study and created the Campus Climate Task Force (CCTF), which is devoted to handling the intricacies of the study and is charged with working alongside the Rankin and Associates consulting firm. The taskforce is chaired by Dr. Thomas Hernandez and Adrienne Collier. Hernandez is the chair of counselor education and Collier is the assistant director of human tesources and affirmative action office of the college. 

The consulting firm was hired by Halstead to assist in conducting the study and presented the CCTF with a liaison, Susan Ruskin, as a personal consultant. Rankin and Associates have been involved with more than 90 campus climate studies nationwide with more than 35 years of experience.

The study will continue Feb. 25 and 26 with the gathering of focus groups, which will be used to collect data that can be used in a survey. The college hopes to create a survey that will be ready to distribute campus-wide by this fall  to further measure the diversity on Brockport campus and how the climate can be improved. 

“I think it should be an every semester thing,” McElroy said. “I think toward the end of the semester, when the weather is nice, we should have some sort of outside activity, just to get us out there. I mean we meet each other on a daily basis but get us all out there and involved with each other on that day would be really cool.” 

The climate of Brockport’s campus is constantly changing. There is room for change that can make the campus more diverse and more open to diversity. That is the purpose behind the campus climate study — to improve the campus environment for all people on campus and make it a place where students and faculty members will not feel isolated. 

“I feel that we do have a fairly, relatively diverse campus from everything from ethnicity to gender, to orientation to religion and everything in between,” Brent Swanson, a resident attendant (RA) at the Mortimer residence hall said. “I feel that as in any area environment, culture is diverse. There is always room for improvement. 

“However, I do feel that at Brockport we have a very strong group of students from very diverse areas who help represent from either the sexual orientation alliance or for the culture clubs or for the religious organizations on campus. So, I feel that the diversities that we do have on campus really do help to promote a really inclusive campus in general.” 

The survey is expected to be electronically distributed to the Brockport community during the fall 2013 semester.

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