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“It is central to our shared Jesuit, Catholic mission to support those in our community who are vulnerable and marginalized. None of us can be satisfied until everyone feels respected, included, and valued. We all have collective ownership of our campus climate.”

Michael E. Engh, S.J., President


After a series of forums, meetings and conversations, SCU President Michael Engh, S.J. and project coordinator Elsa Chen, in consultation with Campus Climate Study co-chairs Margaret Russell and Ray Plaza, senior leadership including Cabinet and Deans, the Planning Action Council University Policy Committee, and many others, took the outcomes of the survey and formulated ten priority areas that will receive careful attention and action in 2019.


Cultivate and enhance a culture of respect and belonging, grounded in our mission and values

Goal: Develop and support opportunities for honest, open and respectful engagement about difficult topics and across differences, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, political perspective, position and rank, administration and non-administration.  Encourage dialogues of discernment and care to foster free expression and active listening.

A quarter of Climate Survey respondents reported experiencing exclusionary, intimidating, offensive or hostile conduct.  Santa Clara must be an environment of tolerance, respect and inclusivity. Our Catholic, Jesuit values implore us to take all measures necessary to promote a healthy, welcoming campus climate for everyone.

This priority is focused on creating opportunities to enhance our awareness, giving people the tools to engage in constructive dialogue and deep listening, and other actions to foster a campus climate that embraces differences and celebrates the interconnectedness of every member of our community.  It is grounded in the Jesuit tradition of eloquentia perfecta - writing, speaking, and listening skillfully to promote the common good.

Coordinator:  Margaret Russell, Interim Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Associate Professor of Law

Initial Actions to Implement:

  • Organize and host informal opportunities for conversation across differences
  • Open formal and informal lines of communication on a regular basis between the administration and faculty, staff, and students
  • Offer educational opportunities for faculty, staff, students and administrators to improve cultural awareness (speakers, workshops, and discussions)
  • Implement leadership formation training for Department Chairs and Staff Managers
  • Facilitate conversations about Campus Climate at School/College level
  • Provide training for students, staff, and faculty to develop and practice skills to engage in and facilitate difficult conversations

Goal: Reduce sexual misconduct, and support community members who have experienced sexual misconduct, by reinforcing clear, effective, and transparent processes for responding to reports and by increasing community-wide education and awareness

A quarter of Climate Survey respondents reported experiencing some type of inappropriate sexual conduct or behavior. Five percent reported unwanted sexual contact. Santa Clara must ensure that appropriate systems are in place to encourage reporting and provide timely and effective responses to sexual misconduct.   

This priority is focused on examining how SCU provides direct support to sexual assault survivors, as well as on building greater awareness of this critical issue among the entire Santa Clara community.

Coordinator: Tiger Simpson, Assistant Director and Violence Prevention Program Coordinator, Wellness Center

Initial Actions to Implement:  

  • Develop a strategic plan for violence prevention that includes a campus-wide training programs designed for faculty, staff, and students
  • Evaluate, and if needed, increase community-wide education and awareness on topics related to bystander intervention, healthy intimate relationships, sexual violence, relationship violence, Title IX, consent, etc.
  • Reinforce clear, effective, and transparent processes for responding to reports of sexual misconduct
  • Increase support and advocacy for victims of relationship abuse, including sexual violence
  • Expand education/outreach efforts for students living on and off campus to ensure clear and consistent messaging regarding campus support for victims of sexual assault
  • Engage student leaders and student organizations to increase awareness and education regarding support for victims of sexual violence
  • Support Associated Student Government (ASG) efforts to engage members of the Greek community in sponsoring an event in the Spring term to educate students about consent

Goal: Foster a positive classroom environment for all students, regardless of race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, disability status, socioeconomic status, religion, political views, etc.

Among the students who responded in the survey that they had experienced exclusionary, intimidating, offensive or hostile conduct, nearly a third (32.1%) reported that they had experienced it in a class or laboratory.  Central to a healthy climate on campus is a healthy climate in the classroom.  We must be attentive to the classroom experience of both faculty and students. It must be challenging and rigorous, and serve as an incubator for critical thinking, all within an atmosphere of respect, inclusivity and tolerance.

This priority is focused on facilitating a conversation about the elements and attributes of a positive learning environment; as well as supporting faculty and students with tools and programs that can help.  

Coordinator: Eileen Elrod, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Professor, Department of English

Initial Actions to Implement:

Provide faculty learning opportunities on classroom climate and inclusive teaching

  • Year long comprehensive teaching course including positive classroom climate and inclusive teaching practices
  • 3-session Faculty Staff Learning Communities on using inclusive practices, focusing on needs of 1st-gen and 1st-year students.
  • Campus-wide online module with face to face discussion groups on research-based principles of positive classroom climate and inclusive teaching practices
  • Anti-Racist Teaching website designed by experienced Ethnic Studies faculty colleagues available to all faculty

Provide faculty learning opportunities within faculty communities--including STEM, new faculty, and the disciplines

  • Half-day TIDES (Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM, an American Association of Colleges and Universities initiative) training on inclusive teaching practices
  • STEM faculty leaders team to attend week-long 2019 TIDES Institute
  • STEM DISE committee pilot INSPIRE: a faculty-student collaboration to offer student feedback on inclusive teaching practices
  • Plenary session on inclusive teaching, culture of belonging and diversity in New Faculty Orientation
  • Plenary Student panel on classroom climate in New Faculty Orientation
  • Include positive classroom climate and inclusive teaching practices in the 2019-20 New Faculty Cohort sessions.
  • Faculty Communities of Practice addressing specific known gaps identified in Climate Study & NSSE data in Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering


Goal: Build a sense of belonging early as new members join the Santa Clara University community, and reinforce on an ongoing basis throughout their time at SCU

Sixty-five percent of undergraduate respondents who considered leaving Santa Clara suggested that it was because they lacked a sense of belonging. Belonging takes shape on the very first day a student, faculty or staff member arrives on campus and is either reinforced or diminished every day thereafter. We must work to create an atmosphere that is welcoming to all; that embraces a person’s unique contributions to the Santa Clara community; and intervenes when a person feels excluded.   

This priority is focused on strengthening the work we do to make everyone IN the community feel PART of the community.

Coordinator: Laura Jacobus, Adjunct Lecturer, Leavey School of Business & Adjunct Clinical Faculty, Law School

Initial Actions to Implement:

  • Review and improve first-year student orientation to enhance a sense of belonging
  • Develop opportunities for students with diverse interests to connect with other students through immersion programs and excursions starting with orientation
  • Review and improve New Faculty Orientation, New Faculty Retreat, and ongoing cohort groups for new faculty to increase community building
  • Foster opportunities for informal interaction between faculty, staff, and students

Goal: Support strategies that allow students and employees with disabilities to experience success and inclusion at SCU

Santa Clara is committed to breaking down barriers faced by those with physical, emotional or learning disabilities.  Where resources or accommodations already exist, access to them must be easy and universal. Where resources don’t exist, Santa Clara should work to identify, plan and develop better support for community members with disabilities.  Above all, we must work toward creating a stigma-free campus climate where everyone feels comfortable describing the challenges the face and is able to receive the support they need.

This priority is focused on using the feedback from the Climate Survey as a springboard for a comprehensive audit of what is being done and what needs to be done further to provide support to those with disabilities.  

Coordinators: Maude Nazaire, Director, Disabilities Resources and Belinda Guthrie, EEO & Title IX Coordinator

Initial Actions to Implement:

  • Address obstacles to accessibility including those described in campus climate survey responses
  • Provide additional online resources for community members to stay abreast of laws and expectations regarding ADA, and other compliance-related matters
  • Ensure that managers and faculty are well-educated about the need to respect approved accommodations and confidentiality
  • Offer opportunities to create a more inclusive classroom environment for students with approved accommodations
  • Promote Disabilities Resources as a service connected to the overall student experience rather than a standalone office/service students seek on their own
  • Rebrand the Disabilities Resources Office. Remove the word ‘disability’ and identify a new name to reduce the stigma associated with persons with disabilities
  • Expand outreach at high-visibility campus events (orientation, involvement fair, family weekend, Staff Faire, etc.




Promote and advance diversity & inclusion initiatives

Goal: Identify and articulate University-wide and unit-specific diversity priorities and advance them through concrete action steps

Academic excellence is achieved through a diverse and inclusive campus climate. The Office for Diversity and Inclusion and many other units on campus are at the forefront of this work, guided by the work of Unity 4, the Blue Ribbon Commission and Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion.

This priority is focused on supporting the good work that has already been underway and helping the Santa Clara community better understand, engage, and support D&I initiatives.

Coordinator: Ray Plaza, Director, Office for Diversity and Inclusion

Initial Actions to Implement:

  • Funds requested in FY20 budget to establish a senior level position and office to oversee Diversity and Inclusion initiatives university-wide
  • $5m+ already raised and more being sought for Cristo Rey Scholarships and other scholarships to increase diversity among students
  • Raise funds to support increased efforts to recruit and retain faculty from underrepresented groups
  • Establish committees within units to review Blue Ribbon Commission, Task Force on D&I, and Campus Climate reports and develop and support unit-level initiatives


Review and improve policies and processes to address concerns expressed in Campus Climate Survey

Goal: Respond to bias incidents with clear, effective, and transparent processes

Many Climate Survey respondents felt the university’s response to incidents of intolerance is not rapid enough and should be communicated better.

This priority focuses on strengthening the mechanisms that exist for the community to report incidents; for SCU to acknowledge and respond to those incidents; and to streamline the communications apparatus so the community receives timely and accurate information, while remaining mindful of privacy and confidentiality concerns and the intentional educational mission when addressing students who commit bias behaviors.

Coordinator:  Joanna Thompson, Director, Office for Multicultural Learning

Initial Actions to Implement:

  • Appoint a Bias Incident Response Team to provide timely response and communication following bias incidents
  • Use the recently completed Protocol for Responding to Bias Incidents in the Residence Halls as a model for developing a campus-wide protocol for bias incidents that occur outside of the residence halls
  • Increase education about options to report incidents of bias and informs persons about the educational process that the university engages in with students who commit bias behaviors
  • Provide clear, consistent, thorough and timely campus communication to the campus regarding bias incidents
  • Review, and as appropriate, increase awareness campaigns about bias, with a goal of eliminating bias-related incidents on campus

Goal: Implement actions to address challenges in compensation and benefits, including affordable housing, for University faculty and staff

The challenges associated with the high costs of living and working in the Bay Area were expressed passionately in the Campus Climate Study. Santa Clara is taking actions to provide more affordable housing but recognizes that this is a multi-faceted challenge requiring a multi-faceted approach.  

This priority is focused on taking a holistic approach to compensation, benefits and housing. It is about fostering a dialogue for greater insight and understanding, while developing specific programs to assist.       

Coordinator: Michael Crowley, Vice President for Finance & Administration

Initial Actions to Implement:

  • Plan new housing development proximate to the campus
  • Increase access to down payment and mortgage assistance opportunities
  • Expand rental assistance programs
  • Explore new options for professional advancement for faculty
  • Review compensation structures for staff and revise as appropriate

Goal: Reduce, de-escalate, and resolve conflicts with clear, fair and expeditious processes

Conflicts are inevitable within a community as large as Santa Clara.  How those conflicts are addressed and mitigated, however, has an enormous impact on the health of the campus climate. Some Climate Survey respondents shared details about conflicts that made their working or living environment uncomfortable. Some expressed dissatisfaction with the outcomes or timeliness of actions taken by the university to help resolve conflicts.

This priority is focused on examining the systems in place to reduce, de-escalate and resolve conflicts and proposing measures to make these systems more responsive, transparent and better understood by the community.    

Coordinator: Matt Duncan

Initial Actions to Implement:

  • Review existing processes for clarity, transparency, and fairness, proposing revisions as needed
  • Implement components of recommendations from Task Force on Informal Conflict Resolution

Goal: Address employee concerns about fairness and opportunities for advancement

Over twenty percent of faculty and staff respondents said they observed hiring or promotion practices that they thought to be unjust.  A healthy campus climate depends on the community having confidence in fairness in our practices around hiring, promotion, and treatment of employees. Employees should experience personal and professional fulfillment and development through their work.

This priority is focused on a comprehensive examination of this issue and consideration of steps necessary to ensure fairness and opportunity.    

Co-Coordinators: Don Heider and Shirley Mata