Climate survey results 2020

Thank you to everyone who participated in our September 2020 Geoscience Community climate survey.  The results are below. To ensure that respondents cannot be identified, all results are reported in aggregate and we have broken respondents into three separate groups: undergraduate students (20 respondents), graduate students (18 respondents), other (24 respondents including alumni, community members, faculty, staff, and those that preferred not to answer).

Respondents:
Alumni: 1
Community member: 1
Faculty: 13
Staff: 2
Graduate student: 18
Undergraduate student: 20
Prefer not to answer: 7
Total: 62

Do you identify as a member of an underrepresented group?
Yes: 22 total (8 undergrads, 5 graduate students, 9 others)
No: 33 total (10 undergrads, 10 graduate students, 13 others)
Prefer not to answer: 6 total (2 undergrads, 2 graduate students, 2 others)
No answer given: 1 total (0 undergrads, 1 graduate student, 0 others)

Do you feel like you are valued for who you are by the University geosciences community?
I don’t know: 5 total (1 undergrads, 2 graduate students, 2 others)
No, not at all: 3 total (1 undergrad, 1 graduate student, 1 other)
No, not so much: 8 total (0 undergrad, 3 graduate students, 5 others)
Prefer not to answer: 1 total (0 undergrads, 0 graduate students, 1 other)
Yes, somewhat: 22 total (7 undergrads, 5 graduate students, 10 others)
Yes, very much: 23 total (11 undergrads, 7 graduate students, 5 others)

Have you had a negative experience related to diversity, equity, inclusion and/or justice in the University geosciences community?
Yes: 10 total (2 undergrads, 3 graduate students, 5 others)
No: 42 total (18 undergrad, 11 graduate students, 13 others)
I’m unsure: 6 total (0 undergrad, 3 graduate students, 3 others)
Prefer not to answer: 4 total (0 undergrad, 1 graduate student, 3 others)

For students only: Are field excursions associated with your education a hardship for you?
Yes: 3 total (2 undergrads, 1 graduate students)
No: 32 total (17 undergrads, 15 graduate students)
Prefer not to answer: 0 total (0 undergrads, 0 graduate students)
No answer given: 3 total (1 undergrad, 2 graduate students)

For students only: Do you feel you have been given sufficient guidance about career opportunities that use your degree?
Yes: 25 total (14 undergrads, 11 graduate students)
No: 10 total (5 undergrads, 5 graduate students)
Prefer not to answer: 1 total (0 undergrads, 1 graduate student)
No answer given: 2 total (1 undergrad, 1 graduate student)

For students only: Do you feel there are adequate financial resources available to you?
Yes: 23 total (13 undergrads, 10 graduate students)
No: 11 total (5 undergrads, 6 graduate students)
Prefer not to answer: 2 total (1 undergrad, 1 graduate student)
No answer given: 2 total (1 undergrad, 1 graduate student)

Comments from respondents:
In addition to the survey questions, we also collected comments on a number of prompts related to DEI issues. We are refraining from posting the comments directly in order to ensure no individual can be identified; however, the following themes were echoed by multiple respondents:

  • Many individuals called to promote and increase our number of woman and individuals currently underrepresented in the geosciences at the student, faculty and staff levels.
  • Many individuals commented that efforts should be made to make the undergrad curriculum and costs flexible (including re-thinking field activities) in an effort to increase diversity.
  • Many individuals called for more focus on mental health of our community members, and suggested that supervisors should do a better job of promoting work-life balance.
  • Many individuals called for dropping the GRE exam for graduate admission, and the DGSE faculty has now voted to remove the GRE requirement from all future graduate admissions.
  • Many individuals called for more mentorship of both undergraduate and graduate students, including calls to make students feel like welcomed and valuable members of the community.
  • Many individuals called for increased salary support for graduate students and more funding/scholarship opportunities for undergraduates, and wrote about the hardships that the current lack of funds forces upon our students. There were many specific comments that the cost of the summer field camp is an extremely large burden on undergrads and a hindrance to adding diversity to our undergraduate population.
  • Many individuals commented that there is a lack of interaction between undergraduate and graduate students, and called for activities that would allow these two groups of students to interact more often.
  • Many individuals commented in strong favor of keeping field activities as part of the undergraduate and graduate curriculum.
  • Many individuals commented that they would like to have more career advice and guidance.
  • Some individuals commented about concerns of ongoing and past sexual harassment.
  • Some individuals expressed concerns that the DGSE Diversity Statement and creation of a DEI committee was mixing politics with science.