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Climate and Approach

Climate refers to how community members may experience inclusion or exclusion, through attitudes, behaviors, or policies on campus (Milem et al., 1998). Rather than primarily focusing on numbers, climate draws our attention to how experiences, views, and behaviors impact how specific groups and individuals experience membership and belonging in a community. Climate encompasses faculty, staff, and students, and is central to our efforts to strengthen an inclusive Miami for all. As a tool, climate surveys can contribute to the development of action items, initiatives, programming, and policies or structures to build on strengths and address opportunities for growth.

In Spring 2023, Miami University conducted the “Your Voice. Your Miami” Campus Climate Survey for all currently enrolled students, faculty, and staff. The survey provided an opportunity for all Miamians to share their voices and experiences, as we assess our progress and identify next steps in our inclusive excellence approach. Data from the survey is critical in allowing us to identify and design additional initiatives, programs, and actions to continue to reflect our inclusive excellence approach, in alignment with our core values and mission. The previous campus climate survey was conducted in Fall 2017.

The Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence (OTIE) led the campus climate survey initiative process starting in late Fall 2021. After extensive research on national vendors, we opted to partner with ViewFinder, a division of INSIGHT Into Diversity. Development of the survey instrument began in late Spring 2022. Faculty, staff, and student feedback contributed to the content and execution of the survey. The campus climate survey project included an employee and student survey version. The survey took approximately 20 minutes to complete. Topics included classroom and workplace experiences, as well as out-of-classroom engagement. A list of key terms and definitions were also provided to support consistent understandings of terms among respondents.

The 2023 climate survey project is part of an ongoing comprehensive, multi-method climate study approach. This approach currently includes the 2023 climate survey, stay interviews with faculty and staff, climate interviews with students, and the launching of topic-specific Task Forces, such as the LGBTQ+ Task Force and the Accessibility Task Force. Data from these initiatives will inform next steps needed to ensure a more inclusive community for all.

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Pandemic Context

The COVID pandemic necessitated a sudden switch to online teaching and learning, and to remote work. Nationally, these changes resulted in challenges to meeting student and employee needs, accessing resources and support, and building community and sustaining connections. We know that pandemic and post-pandemic challenges also included mental health, including significant increases in social isolation, anxiety, and depression, and we continue to learn about the impact of COVID and the pandemic context. Additionally, during the pandemic, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other individuals, as well as the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes resulted in a rise in awareness of racial inequities and injustices on a national scale, and in racialized trauma.

In the workplace, increased responsibilities, especially for those in caretaking roles, resulted in heightened rates of burnout during and post-pandemic in the U.S. and globally. In the U.S., the “Great Resignation” started in 2021. Recent studies suggest that some of those who took part in the Great Resignation regret their decision and are unsatisfied in their new roles (Jared, 2023). While there is still much to learn about the pandemic and post-pandemic context, these are some of the areas that informed experiences during this time and may be worth considering in interpreting results from the climate survey.

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Comprehensive and Multi-Method Climate Approach


Campus Climate Survey

Regular campus wide data collection, to inform the direction of initiatives and efforts to improve and evaluate the campus climate.

Campus Climate Concerns

Reported concerns from students, faculty, and staff allow us to identify possible trends and develop educational programming and resources.

Task Forces

Faculty, staff, and students review population or topic-specific offerings, climate, and provide recommendations. Accessibility Task Force; LGBTQ+ Task Force; Mental Health Task Force.

Employee Stay Interviews

Interviews with faculty and staff to complement surveys and inform next steps in addressing Miami community needs.

Student Climate Interviews

Interviews with students to complement surveys and inform next steps in addressing Miami community needs.

Annual Student Surveys

Student Health Survey; Student Transition Survey.

The 2023 climate survey reflects one component of a comprehensive approach to climate at Miami. Our holistic approach is informed by multiple sources of quantitative and qualitative data on a regular basis. Together, this systemic approach helps us recognize, understand, and respond to the experiences in our community to intentionally work towards progress in areas that need improvement.

Our approach currently includes the 2023 climate survey, stay interviews with faculty and staff, climate interviews with students, information from Campus Climate Concerns, regularly scheduled student surveys through Student Life, such as the Student Health Survey and the Student Transition Survey, and Task Forces to review population or topic-specific offerings, climate, and provide recommendations. Examples of current or recent Task Forces include the Accessibility Task Force, LGBTQ+ Task Force, Mental Health Task Force, and Presidential Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force.

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Process and Methodology

The survey represents the input of students, faculty, and staff across Miami and is the result of a robust participatory process. ViewFinder provided Miami with a template survey to begin the process. After reviewing the instrument, the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence (OTIE) staff worked with ViewFinder to adapt the survey for the Miami community, engaging content experts throughout Miami. The survey also drew on broader questions and recommendations from the Presidential DEI Task Force, MiamiRise, and input from stakeholders across Miami. It also drew on a review of Miami’s 2017 climate survey results and recommendations, and discussions with OTIE Leadership Councils, chairs, deans, and student leadership groups like the Diversity Affairs Council, OTIE Student Advisory Council, and the Associated Student Government.

The first draft of the survey was shared with 108 Miami faculty and staff content experts across the university to provide recommendations and feedback on both the student and employee surveys. Based on the feedback provided by content experts, an updated version of the survey was redistributed to the same content experts and additional key stakeholders (inclusive of student leaders). This revised version was shared with a total of 180 individuals for this round of review. Once the feedback provided in this second round of review was incorporated by OTIE, the survey was shared again with all reviewers to pilot the survey. Feedback was provided through a form designed to capture key information: clarity of questions, understanding of response options, gaps in the survey, length of survey, and any other input to enhance the survey. After this final review and update, both surveys were provided to ViewFinder for their input and recommendations before finalizing the surveys. During this process, OTIE submitted materials through the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process and the campus climate research plan was reviewed and approved by the Miami Research Ethics and Integrity Office.

In Fall 2022 the OTIE team, with the Academic and Divisional Leadership Councils, worked to develop a strategy for promoting and raising awareness about the campus climate survey among students, faculty, and staff. An incentive program promoted participation in the survey. Preliminary outreach and communication about the survey began in early January 2023 through social media. The official launch included President Crawford’s letter and video to the Miami community, raising awareness about the survey and encouraging participation. This was immediately followed by individualized emails sent by ViewFinder to all potential participants. The data collection window was from January 25 through March 1 (5-weeks). ViewFinder sent weekly reminders to all campus stakeholders to encourage completion of the survey.

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2023 Climate Survey Timeline

Your Voice. Your Miami.


Step 1 - Survey Development

Designing employee and student survey instruments with ViewFinder's templates. 

April - May 2022

chat bubble

Step 2 - Review Process

Content experts and key stakeholders reviewed and piloted both survey instruments.

May - June 2022

person thinking

Step 3 - Finalizing Surveys

Incorporated final round of feedback to finalize survey instruments.

June - August 2022


Step 4 - Implementation Planning

Developing promotional strategy and incentive program to encourage full engagement from the campus community.

September - November 2022

ohio outline with M in middle

Step 5 - Survey Collection

Email sent on a weekly basis by ViewFinder for 5-weeks to collect survey responses.

January - March 2023

The survey included questions on the experiences of specific populations such as military veterans, persons of color, those with disabilities, individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+, and international individuals to better understand a range of experiences at Miami. Questions focused on experiences in the classroom, workplace, co-curricular experiences, and overall climate. It was projected to take approximately 20 minutes to complete the survey.

A robust, multi-prong communication strategy focusing on awareness, education, and promotion surrounded the climate survey.

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Multi-Pronged Communication Strategy

To promote and raise awareness about the 2023 Campus Climate Survey

computer mouse

Miami Website

  • Climate Survey Webpage
  • Miami Matters Article
  • OIDI Newsletter
instagram logo

Online Promotion

  • Promoted regularly on OIDI and Miami social media platforms
  • Miami University TikTok videos promoting the survey
  • Canvas messaging and promotion
ohio outline with M

Miami Senior Leadership

  • President's email letter and video promoting the survey
  • Regular email updates on response rates to Vice Presidents and Dean
computer monitor

Email Correspondence

  • Weekly emails from ViewFinder to all community members
  • Email blasts to student leaders and organizations
  • Regular email updates to Academic and Divisional Leadership Councils
  • Unit specific newsletters

On-campus Visibility

  • A-Frames
  • Digital Screens (Oxford, Hamilton, and Middletown)
  • 4 Awareness Raising Events
  • Tabling across Oxford campus
  • Residence Life promotion on social media and in residence halls

An incentives program consisting of gift cards, Miami gear, and other incentives complemented the communication strategy. The incentive program provided giveaways on a weekly basis for both employees and students throughout the entire survey window.

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Climate surveys provide important information about the experiences and perceptions of campus community members. While there is no standard number recognized for campus climate response rates, the lower the response rate the more challenging it is to generalize the key findings to the broader group or community. Because respondents self-select (selection bias), it is also possible that non-respondents may have different experiences than those captured by the survey.

It should also be noted there may be discrepancies between the identities captured when individuals first arrived at Miami and the identities reported in the climate survey, since individuals self-report identities in each of these cases. We provide Miami population totals and percentages of Miami populations acknowledging that numbers from the survey and Miami may not match.

Findings provide insights into potential current areas of strength and opportunities for improvement, but should not be assumed to be generalizable to entire populations. Key findings in this report complement our broader multi-method approach and suggest areas to further examine in our efforts to improve climate.

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Key Findings

Review the findings of the 2024 Campus Climate Report with MU credentials.

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Hurtado, S., Milem, J. F., Clayton-Pedersen, A., and Allen, W. R. (1998). “Enhancing campus climates for racial/ethnic diversity: Educational policy and practice.” Review of Higher Education, 21(3), 279-302; Rankin, S., & Reason, R. (2008). “Transformational tapestry model: A comprehensive approach to transforming campus climate.” Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 1(4), 262–274. 

Lindzon, Jared, (2023). “Why So Many Who Took Part in the Great Resignation Have Regrets.” Fast Company, 2/13/2023. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a climate survey?

Miami University will administer a university-wide climate survey to all students, staff, faculty and administrators from January 25-March 1, 2023. This provides an important opportunity for all Miamians to share their voices and experiences as we assess our progress and identify next steps. Data from the survey will be critical in allowing us to identify and design additional initiatives, programs, and actions to continue to reflect our inclusive excellence approach.

Am I required to take this survey?

Your participation is voluntary and will have no bearing on your grades, status or employment. The purpose of this survey is to more fully understand the perceptions and experiences of students, faculty and staff, evaluate progress on climate issues, and identify next steps for Miami.

How will I take this survey?

You will receive an email from our partner Campus Climate Survey, LLC/Viewfinder®. The email received from "Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys" will contain a link to the survey that is unique to you.

What do I do if I haven’t received an email invitation to complete the survey?

The email is coming from our campus partner, Viewfinder®. If you have not received your email, please check your spam folder. If the email is not in your spam folder, please email the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at to report that your email has not been received.

How long will it take to complete the survey?

The survey should take between 20 and 25 minutes to complete.

Do I have to complete the survey in one sitting?

The link is unique to each individual, therefore you have the option to start the survey, stop and resume at a later time if necessary. Just make sure to complete the survey before it closes on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.

Is the survey confidential?

Yes! Your responses are confidential, and no personal identifying information will be collected from you. Individual data will not be reported, only aggregated data will be reported.

How does Viewfinder® ensure anonymity and confidentiality for survey respondents?

Campus Climate Surveys, LLC makes every attempt to ensure the anonymity and confidentiality of the data collected in the following ways:

  • Survey data is collected and maintained on a secure server.
  • No person except for employees of Campus Climate Surveys, LLC will have access to the online account where data is collected and stored.
  • Collected data is only shared with designated employees from your institution as well as any outside consultants contracted by an institution.
  • No identifiers are attached to individual survey responses, therefore, the only way for an individual response to not be anonymous is if someone self-identifies (i.e. may be the only person of color in a specific department).
  • Survey participants may choose to answer some or all of the questions included in the survey.

To read more about Campus Climate Surveys, LLC and how we protect your information, visit

Who is administering the survey?

Viewfinder, a third-party vendor, will be distributing the Climate Survey to all faculty, staff, administrators, and students. Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys are designed to help colleges and universities measure and assess both their strengths and weaknesses around diversity and inclusion efforts for students, faculty, staff, and administrators. They provide insight into what shapes the experiences and perceptions of diverse individuals on campus to help institutions create an environment where everyone feels safe, welcome, valued, and respected.

What are the official rules of the incentive program?

View the Incentive Program Official Rules to learn more.

I need an accommodation or have experienced an accessibility barrier, who do I reach out to?

All surveys were reviewed for accessibility, to ensure everyone has equal access to the survey content. If you anticipate or experience a disability related barrier to using the survey tool, report an accessibility barrier. For technical issues, contact Debra Boyd, Director of Operations and Research at Campus Climate Surveys, LLC at

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to the Office of Transformational and Inclusive Excellence at

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