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Campus Climate - January Update

 

Dear Members of the University Community,

Last year, I announced the launch of a comprehensive Campus Climate Survey, a sweeping examination of the state of our community. Nearly 3,000 community members participated. This fall, a report of the survey’s findings was shared with the Santa Clara community. We have learned a great deal about Santa Clara’s strengths, along with opportunities for improvement.   

Taking concrete action to enhance our campus climate is among my primary goals for the remainder of my presidency. This work is inspired by our shared Jesuit mission to support those in our community who are vulnerable and marginalized.  None of us can be satisfied until all members of our community feel respected, included, and valued.

Our work ahead will focus on ten core priority areas, developed in direct response to the findings of the Campus Climate Survey report. The priorities are not an exhaustive catalogue of opportunities for improvement. Rather, they are a starting point for deeper and broader conversations about our campus climate and culture. They fall under three complementary categories:

  1. Cultivating and enhancing a culture of respect and belonging, grounded in our mission and values;
  2. Continuing our work towards a diverse and inclusive campus; and
  3. Reviewing and improving policies and processes to address concerns expressed in the Campus Climate Survey.

The ten priorities were identified and refined through numerous consultations. At the Fall Diversity Forum, students, faculty, and staff highlighted important concerns represented in the survey data. Conversations about next steps have included the Campus Climate Study co-chairs, my Cabinet and the Deans, the Planning Action Council University Policy Committee, representatives from Academic Affairs, Student Life, and Human Resources, and student representatives. The Faculty Senate Council, Staff Senate, and groups within our Schools and the College have also participated in Campus Climate discussions. As we move forward, we will take care to engage Santa Clara’s collaborative governance system as appropriate for proposed policy changes.

For each priority, a coordinator will engage with the community on specific actions and milestones, identify gaps, and work collaboratively to address our needs. I extend my special thanks to Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Elsa Chen for leading our university-wide Campus Climate response, to Campus Climate Survey co-chairs Margaret Russell and Ray Plaza, and several other colleagues for collaborating on this framework for action. I also wish to thank the faculty and staff who have generously and enthusiastically agreed to serve as coordinators. This effort is a work in progress, and opportunities are available to serve as a coordinator or co-coordinator or to join an action group.

I encourage all students, faculty, and staff to help begin or continue efforts to advance these priorities with your ideas, energy, creativity, and wisdom. To learn more or to get involved, please visit the newly-updated Campus Climate website. Throughout the remainder of this academic year, I shall convene the priority area coordinators to monitor our ongoing progress, and share regular updates. I am certain that we will be able to demonstrate real progress and momentum by the end of this academic year.

Santa Clara’s campus climate belongs to us all.  Each of us can make meaningful contributions to a culture of respect, inclusion, support, and trust. I invite you to join me in advancing the priorities that have emerged from the Campus Climate Study, and building a brighter future for SCU.

Sincerely,

Michael E. Engh, S.J.
President

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