What is Viewfinder®?
Viewfinder® is a campus climate survey instrument that measures the extent to which diversity and inclusion play an integral role within the infrastructure of your college campus. The surveys extract why your campus may or may not be welcoming to people from diverse populations; why your institutional policies and processes assist or resist the needs of students, administrators, faculty, and staff; and why admissions and hiring practices that are in place either ensure diversity among students and employees or don’t. Viewfinder® innovatively helps you identify structural glitches and more by utilizing inquiry aligned with criteria and standards found in higher education accreditation agencies. By providing information and data about what causes student and employee perceptions, Viewfinder® surveys deliver like no other research instrument.
How are Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys different from other survey instruments?
Viewfinder® is comprehensive and affordable. We dig deep to assess matters of access, equity, and inclusion across all populations. No other campus climate survey enables you to gather the meaningful data required to make impactful change on your campus. Unlike other campus climate surveys, Viewfinder® doesn’t ask “Is something wrong?” but, more important, “What is wrong?” Then you can make the fixes and changes that will improve your campus culture and make your campus a more diverse and welcoming environment where everyone can thrive.
Can modifications be made to Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys?
Yes. We allow unlimited question modifications in order to customize our surveys for your campus. There are no additional fees for these changes or for multiple rounds of edits. Our surveys have been tested using an extensive reliability process by an outside researcher, therefore, any modifications may affect the reliability of your survey data and the effectiveness of your climate study.
Have Viewfinder® Surveys been validated for reliability?
Yes. The reliability of Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys was tested using Cronbach’s alpha — a measure of internal consistency that assesses how closely related a set of items are as a group. Our surveys were vetted by accrediting agencies and universities via beta testing. Items related to the core campus infrastructures were assessed and analyzed using statistical software.
This analysis is a function of the number of items and the average inter-correlation among them and sets of items with alphas over .70 were retained. Reliability was strong (over .80) for each of the infrastructures examined. Thus, the Viewfinder® reliability measure of its survey questions provides the degree to which reviewers consistently agreed that the question correlated to a systemic behavior/trait, many of which are required for accreditation by respective higher education agencies.
Factor analyses were also conducted on each infrastructure area to identify the relationships between items and their groupings to ensure that individual items within a section of questions measured the same concept. For these infrastructure areas, items were retained if their communality was above .60. Eigenvalues (the variance in all the items that is accounted for by that factor) and % variance explained (the amount of variance explained by the factor) for each infrastructure area was analyzed.*
Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys are also designed to be internally consistent, which refers to the degree different questions or statements correlate to the same systemic behavior/trait (Mora, 2011).
*Descriptions of this test come from Andy Field’s textbook Discovering Statistics Using SPSS (3rd Ed). 2009, SAGE, Thousand Oaks CA.
Is Viewfinder® available in other languages?
Yes. All Viewfinder® surveys are available in Spanish for an additional fee.
How long should each Viewfinder® Survey take to complete?
Our surveys include a feature called Question Logic. Several sections begin with a “yes” or “no” response, and when a respondent selects “no,” the survey skips to the next section. This reduces the number of sections/questions in the survey to only those that apply to each individual. Our surveys have been tested, and each takes an average of 15 minutes to complete. When we send out the email invitations, respondents are able to stop and resume the survey when it’s convenient for them.
Should we offer incentives to students to participate in our survey?
Student response rates are typically low. We have done an analysis of institutions that we have administered climate surveys for and found that those who offered incentives to students did have a higher response rate. Incentives have included anything from a simple cup of coffee, to drawings for tablets, to a new car (a local Honda dealer offered a drawing for a new car!). We can easily guide you through the process if you would like to offer incentives and we don’t charge extra for this service.
How does Viewfinder® ensure anonymity and confidentiality for survey respondents?
Campus Climate Surveys, LLC makes every attempt to ensure the anonymity and confidentiality of the data collected in the following ways:
● Survey data is collected and maintained on a secure server.
● No person except for employees of Campus Climate Surveys, LLC will have access to the online account where data is collected and stored.
● Collected data is only shared with designated employees from your institution as well as any outside consultants contracted by an institution.
● No identifiers are attached to individual survey responses, therefore, the only way for an individual response to not be anonymous is if someone self-identifies (i.e. may be the only person of color in a specific department).
● Survey participants may choose to answer some or all of the questions included in the survey.
Do we need to be concerned about violating FERPA if we give student’s email addresses to Viewfinder® staff in order to send out invitations to participate in the survey?
No. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
Generally, schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any information from a student’s education record. However, FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions (34 CFR § 99.31):
● School officials with legitimate educational interest;
● Other schools to which a student is transferring;
● Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes;
● Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student;
● Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the school;
● Accrediting organizations;
● To comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
● Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies; and
● State and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
How often should colleges administer Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys?
The National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) recommends that campus climate surveys be administered every two to three years. Each Viewfinder® survey carries a three-year Survey Use Agreement.
Should I purchase individual employee surveys or the combined survey for faculty, staff, and administrators?
Things to consider:
● Whether or not you want to survey all three employee groups at the same time. Some responses that are included on the combined survey will not be applicable to each constituent group, therefore, it may be somewhat confusing to survey participants. For example, “The tenure process is fair” does not apply to staff.
● Purchasing individual surveys allows for easier customization. We allow unlimited question modifications, therefore, you may want to add/delete or change the survey questions for each group. This can only be done on the individual surveys. You may also want to add an incentive for respondents in only one employee group.
● For reporting purposes, you will be able to drill down your data results much easier and much deeper with the individual surveys.
● We usually recommend only using the combined surveys for smaller institutions and/or those on a smaller budget.
Do Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys use inquiry that can be used in the accreditation process?
Yes. We have extracted portions of standards from several higher education accrediting organizations to demonstrate how institutions of higher education should examine their infrastructure. This often affects campus climates and achievement of diversity-related accreditation criteria. The information extracted was carefully considered in terms of meeting standards around accountability, resource allocation, and impact on community behaviors and perceptions of campus success. Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys capture the essence of these standards through strategic inquiry to students, faculty, staff and administrators. Use of our surveys will help provide a more accurate snapshot of current campus climate conditions, as well as illuminate and link infrastructures to policy and practice underpinnings that improve an institution’s ability to warm its climate from its present state.
Do Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys include any data reports?
Each Viewfinder® Campus Climate Survey includes weekly data summary reports. It’s imperative that you ensure that all campus groups are responding to your survey and these reports will identify where any additional outreach might be necessary. We include a final data summary report in PDF format and the raw data in two formats (Excel and SPSS) after the survey closes. We also offer Custom Climate Survey Reports for purchase. Click here for more information.
Does Campus Climate Surveys, LLC offer post-survey consulting?
Yes. Campus Climate Surveys, LLC has partnered with Segal Consulting. Click here to learn more.
Are Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 compliant?
Yes. SurveyMonkey, Inc., the platform used by Campus Climate Surveys, LLC to administer Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys, certifies on their website that their survey designs are Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 compliant. Most screen readers including NVDA, JAWs and Apple VoiceOver will accommodate people with disabilities.
We have also included the following to accommodate people with disabilities:
● Use an aqua color theme to assist with colorblindness
● Use a classic survey format with all questions on one page with no automatic scrolling
● No images appear in our surveys except our logo on the first page
● There are no required questions so no error messages appear
● No navigation labels except those set by default (Next, Previous and Submit)
Why did INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine create Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys?
We are committed, just like you, to ensuring that all students and employees on college campuses have the opportunity to live, learn, and work in a supportive, respectful, safe, and welcoming environment. Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys are priced to fit in every institution of higher education’s budget.
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, published by Potomac Publishing, Inc. is a related company of Campus Climate Surveys, LLC. INSIGHT is the most well-respected diversity and inclusion publication and website in higher education. For over 40 years, INSIGHT Into Diversity has engaged with colleges and universities to help advance the national conversation about diversity and inclusion.