University shares results of systemwide climate survey

University of Nebraska leaders on Tuesday shared results of a systemwide climate survey that assessed student, faculty and staff sentiments on the educational experience, workplace engagement, communication, inclusiveness and other areas.

The survey, taken last fall, was conducted in partnership with Gallup. It was the first in what will become a routine climate assessment, providing a baseline against which campuses and the system will be able to measure progress over time.

Complete results, available at a systemwide level and by campus, are available here. Key findings include the following:

  • Majorities of students across the University of Nebraska System feel respected by their classmates, faculty and staff, exceeding national averages.
  • University of Nebraska faculty and staff also exceed national averages in saying they feel respected and valued for their unique strengths.
  • Students across diverse backgrounds say the University of Nebraska is preparing them well for life after college. Students report being challenged academically, feeling confident that their major will lead to a good job, and that they are learning relevant skills and knowledge. Most students also say they have at least one professor who makes them excited about learning.
  • The majority of students report being regularly exposed to diverse people and ideas.
  • Faculty and staff report positive collaboration with and support from their peers, but there are opportunities to increase employee engagement. Less than half of employees agreed they have adequate opportunities for advancement, and staff members were even less likely to agree; and both faculty and staff expressed a need for greater clarity about the overall vision for the university’s future and their role in achieving it.
  • Employees also expressed a desire for more open communication throughout the organization.
  • In line with national findings, students, faculty and staff of color, particularly Black students and employees, responded less favorably on several key measures of engagement and inclusiveness.
  • One-third of University of Nebraska employees report struggling with burnout, including higher shares of women.

University of Nebraska leaders said the data will serve as a valuable tool to inform ongoing strategic planning with regard to campus climate, the student experience and their goal of making the university an employer of choice for all.

“Strengthening our campus climate will always be a work in progress,” the four NU chancellors and System President Ted Carter wrote Tuesday in a letter to all students, faculty and staff. “It is vital that we turn our intent into action, and that our strategies are informed by thoughtful input from our students, faculty and staff. That’s one reason we are pleased to have this initial set of data in hand and available for all members of the university community to review.

“Each of us will be closely engaged with our campus communities as we move forward.”

Survey findings are based on responses from about 6,700 students, 2,000 faculty, 3,900 staff members and 350 administrators from across the University of Nebraska System.