Charges for the Climate Survey Working Groups

The university formed four university-wide working groups in summer of 2022 and charged them with assessing resources, programs, policies, and practices, and recommending improvements or changes. These groups are working in parallel with and in support of the unit-level efforts to develop tools, programs, and potential policy changes. They have convened over the 2022-2023 academic year and are in various stages of assessment, review, and making recommendations.

In spring 2023, each group provided progress updates to members of senior leadership that included:

  • A summary of activities, which fall into several categories—cataloguing and assessing existing resources and programs, defining the scope and focus of the work, supporting unit-level work, and sharing information. 
  • Identified gaps and recommendations to improve programs and change policies.

One very clear theme that emerged from each working group is that there are many resources, programs, tools, and initiatives designed to address workplace culture, equity, and belonging across our campus and in our units. However, in many cases, there is a lack of awareness, clarity, coordination, understanding, and/or accountability for this work. Every working group is recommending better coordination, outreach, and education regarding currently available resources and programs. 

Working Groups

Each group is supported by an administrative unit and includes individuals on campus with expertise, responsibility, and/or involvement in the topic area. Detailed information about each group's charge, activities, and recommendation is provided below.

Engagement and Onboarding Working Group

  • Lead: Kaia Rogers, Chief of Staff and Senior Director of Human Resources Programs and Services 
  • Senior Leadership: Mark Schmelz, Chief Human Resources Officer and Vice President 
  • Administrative Unit: Office of Human Resources

Focus: defining engagement, providing tools and resources to support an engagement culture; recommending strategies for unit-level action and options for an accountability structure.

Summary of activities:

  • Launched Employee Engagement web resources and worked with HR Partners and leaders across campus to increase awareness of these resources and consult on how they could be utilized to enhance engagement in units. 
  • Compiled a Climate Survey Guide to Data Sharing and Action Planning Discussions that was made available to vice presidents and deans and their senior leadership teams in February. 
  • Explored and identified options related to a potential accountability structure for supervisors and managers to enhance and sustain employee engagement efforts and focus.
  • Evaluated additional resources that may be needed to support employee engagement work on an on-going basis. 
  • Evaluated onboarding resources to enhance what already exists and identify potential opportunities for additional resources.
  • Started collaboration with HR and the Division of Graduate Studies to identify engagement and professional development resources to meet the unique needs of graduate employees. 

Recommendations to senior leadership for discussion and consideration:

  • Implementation of subsequent workplace climate surveys every 3-5 years to sustain employee engagement and workplace culture.
  • Adoption of an accountability statement for use on webpages and other written materials as needed. 
  • Addition of employee engagement accountability language to supervisor/manager position descriptions in the “Job Duties” section. 
  • Addition of employee engagement accountability language to supervisor/manager performance reviews. 
  • Development of metrics to evaluate supervisor/manager leadership around employee engagement initiatives.


  • Co-Leads: Elliot Berkman, Professor of Psychology, and Lesley-Anne Pittard, Assistant Vice President for Campus and Community Engagement, Division of Equity and Inclusion  
  • Senior Leadership: Yvette Alex-Assensoh, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion 
  • Administrative Unit: Division of Equity and Inclusion

Focus: developing tools and interventions to address gaps in equity among groups based on race, gender, disability, ethnicity, and employee group; embedding equity practices and an equity lens approach; and partnering with human resources to develop equity expectations and tools for supervisors.

Summary of activities:

  • Identified experts to support facilitation of unit-level climate survey discussions. 
  • Developed and is hosting workshops to support faculty and staff including: 
    • Facilitating Challenging Group Discussions: Listening and Leading with Care facilitated by Justin Freeman, partner at Juniper Rim Partners 
    • Journaling Experiences: An Equity Resource facilitated by Michelle Stimpson 
  • Identified existing list of institutional resources related to equity that need to be embedded in accountability processes. 

Recommendations to senior leadership for discussion and consideration:

  • Regularly communicate to all employees about expectations regarding equity in the workplace and provide reporting pathways to identify and address areas of inequity. 
  • Equip managers and supervisors with equity tools and hold leaders accountable for incorporating equity appropriately in all unit-based decision-making, policies, and processes. 
  • Amplify institutional equity successes and address equity gaps where they exist. 
  • Communicate climate survey findings and analyses, as well as a shared definition of equity, to foster a common understanding of the work across campus. 
  • Ensure the actions that administrative leadership and units are taking to address equity gaps and barriers to change are being reported on and communicated regularly.
  • Amplify existing professional development and campus resources related to equity for all campus and institutional decision-makers. 

Response, Reporting and Anti-Discrimination 

  • Co-Leads: Nicole Commissiong, Associate Vice President, Chief Civil Rights Officer and Title IX Coordinator, and Brett Harris, Assistant Vice President, Ombuds Program
  • Senior Leadership: Jamie Moffitt, Interim President
  • Administrative Unit: Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance

Focus: preventing bias discrimination and harassment as well as other impacts around inclusion and belonging on campus; improving the system of university reporting and response.

Summary of activities:

  • Assessed reporting obligations of designated reporters, reporting forms, and employee checklists. 
  • Identified and assembled resources for employees to increase clarity and understanding of resources; policies and reporting responsibilities; and resources for training and training requests.

Recommendations to senior leadership for discussion and consideration:

  • Increase campus understanding of reporting avenues, investigation process and regulations, and response options. 
  • Develop training and resources to increase employee understanding of reporting obligations and available support. 
  • Develop training to increase understanding of policy violations versus conduct that fall below investigation threshold and non-investigative resolutions. 
  • Develop process to accompany investigation process to further inform and support campus through the investigation process. 
  • Create resources, and support and response procedures for incidents not meeting threshold for investigation or formal action. 
  • Improve anti-discrimination through education and awareness.

Faculty Tenure and Promotion, and Service

  • Lead: Karen Ford, College of Arts and Sciences Dean for Faculty, and Acting Executive Vice Provost
  • Senior Leadership: Janet Woodruff-Borden, Interim Provost and Executive Vice President 
  • Administrative Unit: Office of the Provost

Focus: identifying gaps in understanding of and knowledge about promotion and review policies, process, and expectations; augmenting the role of mentoring in clarifying expectations around promotion; implementing the University Senate-developed recommendations on equitable and transparent faculty service. 

Summary of Activities:

  • Developed Community Canvas training modules on compiling tenure and promotion review materials for faculty and unit heads.
  • Developed and implemented Faculty Mentorship Programs created for career and tenure-track faculty.
  • Updating Academic Affairs faculty evaluation webpages with templates and resources. 
  • At the request of the University Senate taskforce, developing a faculty dashboard for reliably tracking faculty employment information and recording faculty service.

Recommendations to senior leadership for discussion and consideration:

  • Bring additional clarity to expectations for promotion through the current process of unit policy revisions.
  • Develop additional training for unit leaders to foster mentorship around promotion.
  • Create additional training resources and community awareness around equitable and transparent service allocations.