Interfaith Work On Campus

How to Assess the Campus Climate for Religious Diversity

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The following information will enable you to plan for an assessment of your campus climate for religious diversity. It covers the major steps of the assessment planning process, providing information that is useful to consider in executing an effective assessment.

The workbook is divided into three steps with specific questions to answer. You can use this resource as a structure for group work related to collecting information about your campus climate. You can complete the questions all at once, or you may wish to take more time to discuss the information with others.

download a printable worksheet of this resource

Tip: Individuals often experience their campus environments differently. Depending on what is motivating the assessment of your campus climate (e.g., particular concerns raised, incidents on or off campus, shifting demographics, changes in institutional policies), it could be useful to learn whether perceptions of the climate differ across particular characteristics.

Examples of such characteristics include religious/secular/spiritual identities, other demographic categories, role/location on campus, time at the institution, level of engagement in training, and level of interaction across differences. If you are interested in learning whether there are different perceptions of your campus climate across particular groups/characteristics, you should add this as an additional assessment question.

Recall that the main purpose of climate assessments is to make informed changes on campus. If your institution is using assessment findings to do this, it is critical to continuously collect information to determine the effectiveness of those efforts. For instance, your institution could establish a cycle that collects information about the campus climate every three years. Or those coordinating the assessment of your campus climate could select distinct religious/ secular communities to invite to focus groups each year to learn about their perceptions of and experiences on campus.

The populations within our institutions and surrounding communities can change over time. This can impact the frequency and quality of interactions across difference as well as the expressed norms in our campus contexts. In order for your campus to be responsive to these potential shifts, it is useful to continuously collect information from students and employees on how they understand their campus contexts.