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GRCC Campus Climate Survey asks to hear your voice, offers a chance at $1,200 scholarship

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By Rachael Ocampo

Some may say that Grand Rapids Community College is a great place to be, but how can we know that for sure? What if some people disagreed, and thought there were some aspects that school officials needed to work on? School administrators seek to answer those questions and others in GRCC’s first-ever Campus Climate Survey beginning today.

The survey, which can be filled out online, will assess students, faculty, and staff’s perceptions about the social climate at GRCC. John Cowles, dean of student success and retention and co-chair of the Campus Climate Survey team, hopes that participants’ answers will give an accurate summary of what it really feels like to be a member of the Raider nation.

“We want to know what your perceptions are of this place. Do you feel comfortable here? Is this a place where you feel welcomed? If it’s not a place where you feel comfortable or welcomed, tell us why, (because) we want to make improvements to that,” Cowles said.

The survey, which will take around 20-30 minutes, will be completely anonymous and “will never ask for a name or ID number,” Cowles assured.

This is to encourage participants to be completely honest, according to MaryBeth Beighley, director and fellow Campus Climate Survey team member. “We want you to be completely honest. That’s the only way we’re going to be able to address any issues that might be on campus,” she said in a question-and-answer video on GRCC’s website.

“We want to have a very inclusive campus, but until we ask those hard questions, we just can’t find out how we’re doing,” she added.

Beginning today, an email with a link to the survey will be sent out to all current students and employees at their GRCC email address. Pencil and paper copies will also be available at the enrollment center for the entire two to or three weeks the survey will run.

The survey will ask questions about participants’ demographics, including age range, gender, ethnicity, religious background and other identifying factors. It will also ask questions about participants’ personal experiences and reflections on GRCC’s campus.

After the data is collected, a report will be issued and sent to select school officials by Rankin & Associates, the third party consulting company GRCC has hired to perform the survey. Rankin & Associates will then address any issues or concerns shown in the results and work with school officials to develop an individualized plan focused on changing these negative environs for the better.

“The actual survey itself is not even on GRCC’s servers, so (school officials) will never have access to that information,” Cowles pointed out. “We will only get a composite report at the end of the survey.”

At the end of the survey, students will have a chance to click a link to go back to GRCC’s website and enter a drawing for one of two prizes. Two lucky winners will receive either a $1200 GRCC scholarship or a 16 GB iPad Air. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to participate, but the special prize drawing is only available for students.

“I’m really encouraging students to participate. That’s why we have a couple of excellent prizes for student participation,” Cowles added.

“Every voice counts at GRCC. That’s our slogan, but it really is the heart of what we’re trying to do. We want to hear from every individual,” Cowles said.

For more information, visit GRCC’s Campus Climate Survey webpage, which addresses frequently asked questions and hosts a short video on the survey.