By Sasha Narinesingh
The long-awaited findings of FIU's inaugural Belonging Survey are now available for review.
The report details the results and findings, representing a key initiative in FIU's unwavering effort to cultivate a culture of belonging. The climate survey was designed to measure the working and learning environment across the entire university community, focusing on perceptions of diversity, equity and inclusion. It has allowed administrators to examine Panthers’ personal campus experiences, perceptions of the campus climate and FIU’s institutional actions.
In the fall of 2021, 5,985 surveys were completed by members of the FIU community, with an 11% response rate overall. Here are five key takeaways from the survey’s quantitative analysis:
1. The overall campus climate is favorable for those in majority groups.
The campus-wide survey finds that 83% of respondents expressed satisfaction with FIU's overall campus climate. Satisfaction levels were consistent across all stakeholder groups, with undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff reflecting similar satisfaction rates.
2. A sense of belonging is fundamental to creating a better experience for all.
A total of 73% of respondents indicated that they were satisfied regarding the survey item: “the extent to which you experience a sense of belonging or community at FIU.” However, the percentage of faculty who indicated they were satisfied with their sense of belonging or community at FIU is 67%. Communities that indicated the lowest level of satisfaction are administration/staff who self-reported as multiracial (52%), undergraduate students who self-reported as nonbinary or transgender (51%), graduate students who self-reported having a long-term disability (49%), and faculty who self-reported as Black or African American (42%).
3. There are significant differences in levels of agreement regarding the university’s climate and support.
There were substantial differences in responses with satisfaction levels for survey questions relating to FIU's campus climate, and levels of agreement in survey items connected to FIU's institutional support for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. However, the survey items on institutional support of diversity, equity and inclusion represent the lowest percentages among these stakeholder groups and are as follows:
- 66% of undergraduate students, 62% of administration and staff, and 59% of graduate students agreed that “Retention of historically marginalized students, faculty, and staff is an institutional priority.”
- 55% of all faculty agreed that “the campus environment is free from tensions related to individual or group differences.”
4. Black/African American faculty reported the lowest levels of satisfaction and agreement.
Black or African American faculty reported the lowest levels of satisfaction and agreement across all survey items related to campus climate and FIU's institutional support of DEI practices. These findings include:
- 34% were satisfied with “the extent to which you feel all community members experience a sense of belonging or community at FIU,” and 42% were satisfied with their own experience with a sense of belonging or community at FIU.
- 44% were satisfied with “The campus experience/environment regarding diversity at FIU.”
- 20% agree that “Retention of historically marginalized students, faculty, and staff is an institutional priority.”
- 32% agree that recruiting historically marginalized members is an institutional priority, the campus environment is free from tensions related to individual or group differences, and senior leadership is showing a commitment to diversity and equity on campus.
5. There's room for improvement to better the campus climate.
The key findings mentioned present areas of improvement for strengthening experiences of campus climate and institutional support among communities, including graduate students and faculty members, particularly Black or African American faculty.
In addition, this report highlights important responses that undergraduate nonbinary and transgender students provided regarding their experiences. Although information about nonbinary and transgender graduate students, administration, and staff was not included in the report (the sample size was not large enough to guarantee anonymity), it is important to note that these groups provided significantly lower levels of satisfaction and agreement than their male and female counterparts. Accordingly, the reported perceptions of numerous respondents who identify as multiracial, LGBQIA+, have a long-term disability and belong to the aggregated minority race category reveal additional opportunities for improving diverse communities on campus.
The last item of the survey was an open-ended prompt asking, “What one change would you make in order to enhance the sense of community at FIU?”
A total of 2,922 open-ended responses (nearly half of all respondents) were submitted. The survey team is currently in the process of analyzing this qualitative data and will release the results during the Spring 2023 semester, as part of the extended dissemination plan.
Visit go.fiu.edu/belongingsurvey to read the entire report on the quantitative results of the survey.
All students, faculty, and staff are invited to community discussion sessions hosted by FIU's DEI team, which will be both via Zoom and in person on the following days: