We believe you will find Viewfinder® surveys instrumental in aligning the infrastructure of your campus with the climate goals you’ve set for the coming years. This climate study checklist is meant to serve as a reference for major activities that should occur during your study.


Pre-survey Planning

Discuss the importance of a climate study. Why is it needed, and what can be done with it?

 What information is needed from the campus? Determine your focus.
 What methods will be used to gather the necessary information?
 How will the study validate feelings and perceptions?
 When can you publicly begin working after learning about significant findings?
 What types of findings can be anticipated?
 Which groups need to be addressed as a priority?

Discuss financial matters.

 What is the value of the information in regard to institutional mission and vision?
 Budget options — where will the funds come from?
 What will be an acceptable return on your investment, and how will this be measured?

Discuss personnel support.

 Discuss the need for outside consultants, steering committee, or internal researchers
 Will strategic personnel be afforded details to focus on study oversight?

Discuss macro- and micro-communications strategies.

 Determine a theme or premise for the study.
 Discuss the inner workings of the study — why, what, and when.
 Create a web page where information about the study can be found.
 Form a steering committee and determine its role.
 Decide who will receive weekly and final data reports from Campus Climate Surveys, LLC.
 Determine how to ensure confidentiality of data and testimonies.


Survey Period

Send a letter from the president/chancellor to the campus community to announce the survey, its significance, incentives for participating, the time frame for participation, and expectations on how to use the results. 

Determine ways to model transparency for an open process and opportunities to participate.

 Call attention to your website, where information about the study and results can be found.
 Direct communications to certain groups in which participation may be lacking — underrepresented populations, councils, affinity groups, etc.
 Make the study and its anticipated impact the topic of all media inquiries — social, local, newsletters, etc.
 Show response numbers periodically — weekly, bi-weekly, or following spikes in responses.
 Draft a presidential “thank you” message to the campus community for its participation at the end of the response period.


Post-Survey Evaluation

Steering committee reviews significant findings and implications.

 Note trends in groups, routine experiences, and random encounters.
 Ensure that various groups are properly represented.
 Compare challenging implications to past and current data (if available).

Determine immediate, short-, medium-, and long-term actions to be taken.

 Consider pre-survey planning steps again under this step.

Prepare a budget for immediate and short-term action items.

 Include resources for any outside expertise.
 Determine where resources will be allocated and the expense process.

Install an accountability system.

 Determine key leadership personnel and performance measures.
 Determine success metrics.
 Secure resources for additional support as needed during implementation.

Publicize plans to strategy groups first, then everyone else.

 Prepare talking points about the study for highly visible officials: Overall premise, findings, recommendations, next steps
 Include a list of key terms and definitions to ensure continuity in usage.
 Call a press conference to unveil actions to be taken.
 Invite strategic groups to share their support for these actions.

Plan to revisit the findings and implications throughout the implementation process.

 Post and share completion of immediate and short-term actions, along with supporting data and recognition of personnel.
 Publicly launch medium- and long-term actions, sharing findings and time lines for completion.

Plan to administer this survey again in three (3) years for longitudinal assessment.

 Seek to compare significant findings and implications for substantive change.

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