Presidential Perspective - December 7, 2017

December 7, 2017

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Today we are releasing the results of Baylor University's 2017 Academic and Work Environment Survey. The study, which was conducted during the Spring 2017 semester, consisted of three distinct surveys with stratified responses from students, faculty and staff. The purpose of the study was to understand the thoughts, perceptions and experiences of faculty, staff and students as they relate to overall campus climate, support and diversity.

Each survey group responded to specific questions relating to their status as students, faculty or staff; and, some questions were tailored to each group. As with any survey of this nature, it is important that the University protect the privacy and the anonymity of all respondents. Results are therefore being reported in the aggregate by group, with the student, faculty and staff results available for review online.

In addition to the survey’s executive summary, I want to take this opportunity to share several key findings with the entire campus community. All responses are on a 5.0-point scale.

Student Survey Responses

  • When it comes to overall campus climate and how strongly they would recommend Baylor to other students, students rated Baylor positively at 4.1. However, along racial lines, the overall climate rating dropped to 3.4 among African American students, 3.8 for Asian students and 3.7 for multiracial students.
  • When it comes to faculty support, students rated faculty helpfulness and belief in their students' potential to succeed at 4.2.
  • Two questions related to students' personal experiences with threats of physical violence or physical assaults, with results registering at 4.9, "indicating that these are rare experiences at Baylor."

Faculty Survey Responses

  • When it comes to departmental diversity, faculty rated the University's effectiveness in retaining diverse faculty at 3.4, and 3.0 in terms of Baylor's efforts recruiting a diverse faculty.
  • The overall climate rating among faculty is 4.0. Along gender lines, "the mean among women is 3.9, compared to 4.1 among men."
  • Under the topic of courteous and professional relations, faculty favorably rated relations between faculty, students, staff, departmental leadership and deans an overall score of 4.2.

Staff Survey Responses

  • In the departmental diversity category, staff rated the racial/ethnic diversity in their units at 2.7, which translates to "moderately diverse."
  • When it comes to fair and equitable processes such as recruitment practices, allocation of resources and promotion and salary decisions, staff rated the University 3.4 overall.
  • Staff members' responses overall indicate they "do not feel very isolated and rarely experience bullying or intimidating behavior."

While a significant number of responses demonstrate favorable experiences and areas of strength for the University, there are many areas in which Baylor can improve and create an even more welcoming, inviting and supportive environment. I want to thank the President's Advisory Council on Diversity for championing this survey and appreciate the many ways they have contributed to our diversity initiatives. These faculty, staff and students have remained engaged on this Council much longer than anticipated and I am grateful for their work. As we move forward, I plan to reconstitute a similar Presidential-level committee to collaborate across campus to affect change in areas identified through this survey.

At Baylor, we believe in and embrace Jesus' command to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Our Christian mission is at the heart of our Baylor identity. Living out this great commandment in how we treat one another – students, faculty and staff – is vitally important to me, our leadership team and our entire campus community. I pledge to hold firmly to our Christian faith tradition while also fostering a caring community where all are welcome.

To any student who has experienced incidents of bias or prejudice, I encourage you to report the incident to the Bias Response Team or through the Baylor Report It system. Faculty and staff also can utilize the Baylor Report It system or report an incident anonymously through EthicsPoint. The more we know about incidents of bias or discrimination, the better we can address concerns and affect change.

I would like to thank the 1,644 students, 635 faculty and 952 staff from all Baylor campuses who participated in the survey. Your feedback will guide our efforts to develop initiatives that enhance the experiences of the campus community. Thank you for your valuable input and for being our partners in this endeavor.

Each member of the Baylor Family enriches this institution with their very presence. I look forward to our work together as we continue our growth as a strong, resilient, Christ-centered University and preeminent research institution that positively influences our city, our country, and our world.

Sincerely,

Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D.
President

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