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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Questions and answers will be updated and added as we receive them.

The Student Affairs IDEAL Survey is our organizational climate survey. IDEAL stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, and Leadership. This survey is structured around our Student Affairs values and satisfaction. The IDEAL survey will be administered every four years to all employees in Student Affairs. The goal of the Student Affairs I.D.E.A.L. Climate Survey is to develop a baseline and assess employees’ perceptions of the Student Affairsworking environment and to inform future planning, investments and strategic decisions that allow for alignment of work that contributes to inclusive excellence. The survey will help us better understand the perceptions of IDEAL in Student Affairs and how different groups perceive our climate.

Climate surveys are regularly conducted by organizations hoping to gain some insight into their environments and members’ perceptions or experiences on specific topics. You might be familiar with one of our key climate surveys already; Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct. Our Student Affairs IDEAL Climate Survey is only focused on our organization and not the climate of the entire population of the University of Utah. Our climate survey will assist us in measuring perceptions of how Student Affairs supports social justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.

The survey mostly captures quantitative responses. Each statement hopes to capture your perception through a star rating. We used the star rating system to improve accessibility and quickness of response. The lowest rating you can provide is  

1 star ( ), which relates to "strongly disagree" and the highest rating you can provide is 5 stars( ), which translates to "strongly agree. " There will also be one open-ended response question toward the end of the survey. Following all these items, we request demographic information. What follows is a breakdown and overall structure of the survey can be found below. 

  • Introduction/Overview of the survey 
  • Sense of Belonging at the University of Utah 
  • Sense of Belonging in Student Affairs 
  • Sense of Care in Student Affairs
  • Sense of Integrity in Student Affairs
  • Sense of Life-long Learning in Student Affairs
  • Sense of Self-Discovery in Student Affairs
  • Sense of Student-Centeredness in Student Affairs
  • Satisfaction
  • Open-ended question requesting feedback/perceptions/experiences.
  • Demographic information 

Our values for Student Affairs can be found on our Adapting to Student Needs Plan’s page. These values and their definitions can be seen below: 

  • Belonging: We will always strive for students and staff to bring their authentic self to campus, where they feel valued and connected. 
  • Care: We provide a holistic well-being approach so every staff member feels seen, valued, and heard. 
  • Integrity: We approach every situation with honesty and transparency to align our actions with our values.   
  • Lifelong Learning: We provide formal and informal learning opportunities to develop and improve knowledge and skills needed to be successful. 
  • Self-discovery: We believe acquiring insight into one’s own character, interests, and skills should be fostered in all aspects of student services.  
  • Student-centered: We consider the student perspective in all that we do.  

The Student Affairs IDEAL climate survey will take between 15-20 mins. However, we encourage everyone to carve out 45 mins of uninterrupted time to complete the survey. 

Conducting our IDEAL climate survey is a strategic initiative of ourAdapting to Student Needs Plan. The strategic objective that this initiative is directly linked to is Improve Culture. This has always been an important goal for Student Affairs, and we have the opportunity to be intentional and proactive so we can address any issues that may come up around EDI and employee development.  

Your feedback and insights are very important to Student Affairs! Our hope is to identify opportunities for improvement and strengths that reinforce positive morale, respect, and efficiencies. A major way we can do so, is by hearing from you! Each of us individually contributes to student success and well-being, and that means we have unique perspectives on how we can achieve this. Your perspective can also bring about change and let us know where our blind spots are. Take the survey and let us know your perspective! 

Yes! In fact, this is encouraged. You can do this by blocking out time on your calendar to complete the survey. If you have any concerns about this, discuss with your supervisor to help determine the best time.

The survey is anonymous, meaning that your responses on the survey will not be connected to your identity. All responses will be recorded and analyzed in summary format to dashboards and select reports. No individual responses will be shared, and your data will be securely stored. One faculty member will review the qualitative responses and will assist in the de-identification of any responses to maintain confidentiality.

The data will be housed in our Office of Assessment & Analytics. The data steward will be the associate vice president for student development and inclusion.

All the questions on climate survey are not required. However, we encourage you to complete them as it will be extremely helpful. 



The demographic information you share will be used to determine differences in perceptions of specific populations in student affairs. This also allows us to determine the variation in perceptions within populations. Based on the results, we can determine the work that we need to do as an organization so that everyone feels welcomed.

The data will be shared in an executive summary that will be made available to Student Affairs. As a general practice, the Office of Assessment & Analytics will build corresponding dashboards and reports for this project. The dashboards and reports may not be available until Fall 2023. Findings from the survey will be shared in select Student Affairs meetings. 

The data will be used to highlight the areas of staff experience and staff culture that we need to do more work on. It will also be used to highlight areas that may tap into our strengths as an organization. The data gathered can also be an opportunity to raise awareness about resources that may already be offered or we have in development. The data gathered will also be used to inform approaches, strategies, processes and policies that promote a sense of inclusion within Student Affairs. Findings can also help us to identify and be intentional with opportunities that contribute individual growth. 

The findings from the climate survey will help us develop implications and recommendations that provide a roadmap for our continued effort to create a more inclusive environment for our employees and students. Along the lines of our strategic theme of Inclusive Excellence, recommendations can shape “transformative practices and programs that enhance access, representation, sense of belonging that is culturally aware and remove barriers to success for students and staff.” The data will also help us to determine the campus efforts that exist, which we should be aligned with.  

After the survey closes on May 26, 2023, data analyses will be conducted over the course of the summer. Preliminary findings, implications and recommendations will be shared beginning August 2023. Our Assessment & Analytics team will assist in determining information that will be displayed through a dashboard. Here is a general timeline of what comes next: 

  • Data analysis: May 2023 – July 2023 
  • Student Affairs presentations: August 2023
  • Final report delivered to the Vice President for Student Affairs no later than December 2023. 
  • Executive Summary will be shared with Student Affairs: January 2024 

A more extensive timeline will be determined and shared along with the Executive Summary. 

Both positive and negative responses provide a snapshot of Student Affairs. Both responses will be shared in our reports. For any major findings that require immediate resolution, a status page on the Student Affairs website will be created to share the strategies or initiatives that are in progress, completed or will be initiated. Positive responses will also be shared to celebrate the things we do well.

  • Background characteristics: According to the Demographic and Health Surveys Program, background characteristics refer to qualities of someone that can be used to group population. Standard background characteristics include age, marital status, residence, subnational region, education, wealth quintile. 
  • Bias: Bias is a state of mind, prepossession, or prejudice toward an object, person, or view. Discrimination is an action that springs from that state of mind; the unfair treatment of a person or group based on prejudice or bias. The two terms are not interchangeable ( 
  • Diversity: Diversityrefers to the variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from the whole of who we are. These experiences are valued and include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, gender and gender expression, age, religion, mental or neurological function, language, disability, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. It is this collective that makes us a stronger whole ( 
  • Equity: Equityaims to identify and actively eliminate systemic barriers to access and opportunities that prevent the full participation of people, specifically those from historically marginalized groups in higher education. Equity ensures fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all students, faculty, and staff to develop to their full academic, social, and career potential. (  
  • Inclusion: Inclusionis the act of creating a community where everyone is welcomed, respected, supported, and valued. Inclusion actively embraces differences and engages historically marginalized individuals so that diversity can thrive ( 
  • Social justice: The objective of creating a fair and equal society in which each individual matters, their rights are recognized and protected, and decisions are made in ways that are fair and honest (Oxford Reference). 
  • Ability status: Ability status refers to varying degrees of mental, emotional, and physical abilities. 
  • Gender identity: A person’s sense of what gender(s), if any, with which they identify. This is a person’s internal sense and not to be confused with external expression (   
  • Sexual orientation: Emotional, romantic, or sexual feelings toward other people.  While sexual behavior involves the choices, one makes in acting on one’s sexual orientation, sexual orientation is part of the human condition, one’s sexual activity does not define one’s sexual orientation; typically, it is the attraction that helps determine orientation.  It is determined by a complex interaction of biological, genetic, and environmental factors.  
  • Religious affiliation: refers to the expression of or association with the ideals, worldview, or beliefs held by any religious group or organization (


If you require support, the Employee Assistance Program provides services at no cost to employees. 

For student employees: 

If you are taking the survey and you believe that you have experienced any form of harassment, discrimination, or sexual misconduct, please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity to submit report.  

  • Office of Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Title IX: | (801) 581-8365 



Last Updated: 4/26/23