September 1, 2016

TO: President Tony Frank

FROM: Sue James on behalf of the President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity

SUBJECT: Recommendation to Reconsider Past Recommendation: Periodic Assessment of the Campus Climate for Women (2009)

Background

In 2009, the Commission recommended that periodic assessments of the campus climate for women be implemented at the University.  as a result of the recommendation, the Commission conducted an informal straw poll (i.e. an unofficial, non-scientific survey of opinion) of campus community members, regarding the climate for academic achievement and work on the CSU campus.  Drawing on the structure of the survey conducted in 1996 by the Task Force on the Status of Women (charged by President Al Yates and whose recommendation led to the creation of the Commission), the survey attempted to discover if circumstances had improved and what significant concerns should be addressed by the Commission in the coming years.

Other than the efforts of the 1996 Task Force on the Status of Women and the informal straw poll of the 2009 Commission, no other efforts have been made to assess the campus climate specifically for women.  While the Campus Climate Survey initiated by the Office of the Vice President for Diversity is a great tool for measuring overall campus climate, the survey used in that effort is not designed to capture a gendered view of the climate and does not provide data specifically for women and their views of the campus climate.

Recommendation

The Commission recommends that a periodic assessment of the University climate for women be implemented.  This assessment would focus on tracking improvements in climate and gaps as the University strives to meet its goal of making CSU the best place for women to work and learn.  Without such data, the progress towards that goal cannot be tracked.  The Commission recommends that this assessment be in addition to the already established campus-wide Campus Climate Survey.

The assessment could and should take several formats and could be modeled after the work that the Standing Committee on the Status of Women Faculty has been doing through focus groups and interviews for women faculty.  The Standing Committee’s work will be valuable in measuring the climate and culture for faculty women, however, such an assessment should be implemented and tailored to consistently gather information for all women on campus.

Promotes the Mission and Goal of the Commission

Such an assessment will help measure the progress towards the University’s and the Commission’s goal of making CSU the best place for women to work and learn.  The data gathered by a periodic assessment will also help shape the recommendations and work of the Commission and the Standing Committee on the Status of Women Faculty.

Attachments:
2009 Past Recommendation: Periodic Assessment of the Campus Climate for Women