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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

January 14, 2005

Planning begins to improve campus climate

by Anne Krapfl

A 16-member committee is working to meet an April 15 deadline to recommend specific action plans that address needs identified in last spring's campus climate survey. The recommendations will be submitted to President Gregory Geoffroy.

In working groups, the members will develop plans tied to five aspects of an implementation model developed by consultant Susan Rankin. Rankin conducted the climate survey for the university and remains involved in the implementation phase. The five will focus on:

  • Access and retention
  • Curriculum and pedagogy
  • Intra-group and inter-group relations
  • Research and scholarship
  • University policies and services

Professor of materials science and engineering Larry Genalo chairs the implementation committee. He said this month the working groups will identify critical issues in the survey results and propose action plans that address them. Committee members may involve in their studies members of the campus or Ames community, particularly members of the constituencies they represent. Action plans also should reflect priorities outlined in Iowa State's proposed strategic plan for 2005-10.

When the larger group meets in mid-February, the committee will endorse or suggest changes to the small groups' initial plans.

"It's a good group, with a lot of interest and ideas," Genalo said. "I hope our work has an impact on the campus."

The committee's meetings are open and meeting minutes will be posted online at the "Diversity" Web site, (see campus climate study).

The President's Advisory Committee on Diversity, chaired this year by LAS dean Michael Whiteford and associate vice president for human resource services Carla Espinoza, will work with the committee to prioritize the recommendations, based on which ideas could reap the most significant benefit to the campus community.


Joining Genalo on the campus climate implementation committee are:

  • Claudia Baldwin, veterinary clinical sciences
  • Robert Baum, religious studies
  • Sharon Bird, sociology
  • Kaela Black, Extension staff services
  • Christopher Deal, sophomore in mechanical engineering
  • Patricia Hamm, political science
  • Bellinda Hegelheimer, graduate student in curriculum and instruction
  • Ashley Lerch, junior in genetics, development and cell biology
  • Leonard Perry, office of multicultural student affairs
  • Penny Rice, women's center
  • Ellen Semran, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender student services
  • Jonathan Wendel, ecology, evolution and organismal biology
  • John Wong, marketing
  • Megan Wolf (HRS), committee staff member
  • Karen Zunkel, program for women in science and engineering

Spring 2004 survey

Rankin conducted an online survey last February and March to gauge the inclusiveness of the campus environment for minority and majority populations. All 27,000-plus Iowa State students and more than 6,100 employees -- 1,751 faculty and 4,412 staff and administrators -- were contacted to participate in the survey; 1,930 respondents completed the 64-question survey.

Twenty-two percent of the respondents reported that they had experienced conduct that interfered with their ability to work or learn at ISU. These respondents most frequently attributed the experiences to their gender (49 percent), ethnicity (29 percent), race (28 percent), position at ISU (26 percent), physical characteristics (18 percent), age (17 percent), sexual orientation (14 percent) and educational status (13 percent).

Forty-eight percent of respondents reported observing offensive, hostile or intimidating conduct. These respondents said they felt the conduct was based on the victim's gender (49 percent), ethnicity (47 percent), sexual orientation (44 percent), race (43 percent), country of origin (31 percent) and religion (22 percent).


Working groups of a 16-member committee appointed to address needs identified in last spring's campus climate survey will focus on: access and retention; curriculum and pedagogy; intra-group and inter-group relations; research and scholarship; and university policies and services. The committee's deadline is April 15.