The February, 2020 issue of the Big Bend Gazette published results from a “Campus Climate Survey” that was reported to have been conducted by the SRSU Department of Institutional Research in October, 2019. Neither Sul Ross State University nor the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, to which the Office of Institutional Research reports, authorized or approved the survey that was issued in October. Further, Sul Ross State University did not release the results of that unauthorized survey to the Big Bend Gazette.

Campus climate is a key concern for administrators, faculty and staff at Sul Ross State University, because it impacts the work place and every one of our students. Therefore, measuring the climate of the institution is of primary importance.

In October, 2019, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness sent an invitation to all faculty, staff, and the Student Government Association to form a Guiding Coalition for developing and administering a campus environment survey. The committee, composed of five faculty, five staff, and the President of the Student Government Association, held the first meeting on December 12, 2019.

Since that first meeting, the Guiding Coalition has created a draft of questions to measure the critical areas of Commitment to Students; Work-Life Balance; Climate; Discrimination/Fair Treatment; Communication; Organization and Leadership; and Resources. During February, the committee members will vet the questions with their departments across all four campuses to assure the survey will be measuring all areas of interest and concern. The Campus Environment Survey will be launched at the end of March, 2020, and the results will be available to the university, community, and media in May, 2020.

Unlike the “Campus Climate Survey” that was reported in the Big Bend Gazette, the Campus Environment Survey, through the vetting process, will measure the interests of the entire university community on the Alpine, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, and Uvalde campuses. Furthermore, the Campus Environment Survey will seek input from all faculty, staff, and students. In the “Campus Climate Survey”, students were excluded. They had no voice.

Throughout the development, launching, and publishing of results, transparency is a top priority, and updates on the process will be ongoing. At the President’s Semester Kick-off meetings in Alpine on January 13 and in Del Rio on January 17, the timeline for the survey was discussed.

Anyone who would like more information about this process can contact Dr. Jeanne Qvarnstrom, Assistance Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, who is chairing the Guiding Coalition for the Campus Environment Survey.

During Summer 2020, a six-person team of faculty and staff will analyze the Campus Environment Survey data to develop a plan to enhance the campus climate at Sul Ross State University for the benefit of all.