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Report 92-24: Resource Guide for Assessing Campus Climate

Published by The California Postsecondary Education Commission

August 1992

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This guide results from a three-year study by the California Postsecondary Education Commission on the feasibility of developing an educational equity assessment system designed to obtain information on the perceptions of institutional participants about their campus climate. In that study, the Commission defined campus climate as "the formal and informal environment -- both institutional and community-based -- in which individuals learn, teach, work, and live in a postsecondary setting." The impetus for the study was two-fold: (1) the Commission's policy declaration that directs attention to the qualitative dimension of educational equity, and (2) Assembly Bill 4071 (Vasconcellos, 1988), which directed the Commission to investigate the feasibility of developing an education equity assessment system for California higher education.

In June 1990, the Commission published Toward an Understanding of Campus Climate, the report of phase One of the two-part study. That report centered on defining and better understanding the nature of campus climate. In January 1992, the Commission published Assessing Campus Climate, the second report of the study, which focused on the process, methodological issues, and educational significance of assessing campus climate.

The Commission believes that institutional self-assessment of campus climate is so important in ensuring educational equality achieving educational equity that it has urged progress by the entire higher education community in this direction. To assist in making progress the Commission developed this resource guide on the assessment of campus climate for use by institutional policy makers, leaders, and researchers.

This guide is organized into two major parts, following a brief introduction. Part One illustrates how colleges and universities throughout California have used a variety of methods in assessing facets of their campus climate. It offers illustrations of various methodological approaches to studying campus climate: surveys of students, former students, faculty and staff; interviews; focus groups and other group meetings; and the analysis of institutional documents to learn more about the perceptions, attitudes, and values of members of the campus community.

Part Two contains three pools of items -- student, faculty, and staff -- that institutions can use to design surveys of campus climate. These items cover topics such as: student/faculty interaction, curriculum, campus life, campus leadership, academic support, and relationship between the campus and surrounding community. Campuses can select items from these pools in combinations and permutations appropriate to the mission, values, and context of their circumstances.

Related Topics: Enrollment Demand and Capacity Analysis | Program Review

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(916) 445-1000 or via e-mail at

A copy of any publication may be requested from the Commission's Publications Unit
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