January 25, 2023

Town hall to address findings of campus climate survey

The majority of SIU faculty, staff and students feel welcome and safe on the campuses of the SIU System, but employees expressed concern about compensation and the promotion process, according to the findings of the SIU System Campus Climate Survey administered last spring. 

University leaders and representatives from constituency groups will hold a virtual town hall to discuss the findings from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31. Faculty, staff and students are invited to watch the livestream on the chancellor’s YouTube channel. Questions may be typed into the comment area during the livestream. 

Diversity, equity and inclusion form a pillar of SIU Carbondale’s strategic plan, Imagine 2030. University leaders will use the survey’s findings as a guide to achieve the plan’s goals and make SIU Carbondale a campus where everyone feels valued and welcome and has a sense of belonging. 

Perceptions of welcome varied by race and ethnicity, as did the perceptions of respect and fair treatment. Findings specific to SIU Carbondale include: 

Faculty and Staff

  • Most agree that the campus is diverse, are satisfied with their interactions with other employees, would recommend SIU to others considering working here and feel respected on campus. However, many also disagreed that campus personnel are held to the same code of professional ethics and conduct and that campus leaders are held accountable for the campus climate.
  • Most indicated that their work-life balance is appropriate and are satisfied with the employee benefits and performance evaluations. However, many also strongly agreed that they are underpaid for the work that they do, and that there are pay disparities, and that the merit and promotion processes are unfair.
  • A little over 40% have experienced bias and stereotypes on campus, and approximately 35% have experienced sexism.


  • Free tutoring services, community service opportunities, faculty office hours and ease of communication with faculty were rated highly. Students were least satisfied with the availability of need-based scholarships, open campus dialogue sessions, emergency funding for financially distressed students, and meetings between administrators and students.
  • On average, students agree that the campus is diverse and inclusive, and that they are satisfied overall with the faculty. Students agree that faculty create a safe and welcoming environment, and that students of all backgrounds interact together in the classroom.
  • Regarding their overall learning experience, students slightly tend to agree that their workload is too heavy, and while some students have reported experiencing stereotypes on campus, more students than not feel like there is a sense of belonging on campus and do not want to leave SIU. 

Based on the survey findings, Sheila Caldwell, SIU System vice president of antiracism, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and chief diversity officer, recommended the system and campuses:

  • Expand ADEI training among all groups.
  • Implement a framework of appreciative inquiry – that is, based on identifying strengths and what is working well and how to build strengths and continue good work.
  • Educate students on free speech.
  • Initiate “stay” interviews aimed at retaining employees.
  • Recruit and retain knowledgeable LGBTQ+ and employees of color.
  • Design the monthly Conversations of Understanding on the survey findings.
  • Collaborate with a research fellow to collect, organize, examine and report data.
  • Develop an equity plan consistent with the Illinois Board of Higher Education.