Checking campus mood

How are U of S students feeling these days? Do they feel welcome on campus, respected and supported?

For the most part, the answer is yes according to a campus climate survey done last fall, but the survey results also show there is still room to improve the student experience at the University of Saskatchewan.

"The results are positive overall and show that our students do feel welcomed, supported and respected," explained Tanya Robertson- Frey, research analyst in Institutional Planning and Assessment. "But we were also able to pinpoint some key areas that need to be addressed, especially related to specific groups of students who rated their experience lower than their peers."

More than 5,200 students answered the survey, an initiative of the third integrated plan and the first project of its kind at the U of S.

The survey results were released earlier this month. The survey included questions in five main areas: overall campus climate, campus experiences, classroom experiences and interactions with staff and faculty, helpfulness of support services, and how to improve the campus climate.

"There are areas where we were pleased to see students rating the university quite highly," said Robertson-Frey. "For instance, 85 per cent of students felt that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed at the U of S, and 89 per cent of students feel they were treated fairly by professors. We also saw that very few students have experienced harassment, exclusion or discrimination."

Although results were positive overall, the survey did highlight areas in which further work is needed.

"Those reporting less positive campus experiences were more often students who self-identified as Aboriginal and sexual-minority students, as well as those indicating a disability. We also saw that, on average, students indicating a mental-health condition had fewer positive experiences than other students," Robertson-Frey explained.

Patti McDougall, vice-provost teaching and learning, said that based on the results, "the university now needs to dig down a little deeper to determine where changes need to be made and which of these changes are the most pressing,"

McDougall will spend the next few months meeting with key members of the campus community who work directly with students to get their thoughts and opinions on the results, and their input on where the university should focus its attention moving forward.

The result will be an implementation plan outlining a series of actions to be taken. It is expected this will be shared with the campus community in the spring.

"The information we have gathered through this survey, along with conversations in the coming months, will directly inform how we support our students moving forward, and where we need to invest time and energy," said McDougall. "It will also provide us with a baseline to help measure our progress to make sure we continue to improve the university experience for all of our students."

Full survey results are available at

Jennifer Robertson is the communications officer in Institutional Planning and Assessment.
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