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Share your voice through the Know More Campus Survey

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As Michigan State University continues to focus on improving the university's culture and emphasizing the importance of a safer, more inclusive campus, the next Know More Campus Survey is being launched on March 16. It will be open to all MSU students, faculty, and staff, and will assess perceptions of the university culture related to sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and workplace incivility.

Feedback from the MSU community is valued and necessary to continue the work-improving policies, programming, and services that create a culture that seeks to eliminate discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, and relationship violence.

“Know More is a survey that we did or the first time in 2019, and we’re repeating it this spring,” says Carrie Moylan, associate professor in MSU’s School of Social Work, member of the RVSM Expert Advisory Group, and lead on the Know More Campus Survey project. “It's an opportunity for MSU to learn about how members of our campus - students, staff, and faculty - think about how the university is doing related to relationship violence, sexual misconduct, and stalking. The survey is designed to gather perceptions of the university, perceptions of the climate and culture here at MSU, and a sense of the experiences that student, staff, and faculty are having related to RVSM.”

Is Know More related to the Support More initiative?

“The name Know More came first, and it was an opportunity for us to have more information to help us think about how to improve programs, policies, services, and support for survivors,” continues Moylan. “Then as we started working on the strategic plan and the Support More initiative, we thought it's a nice way to say when you know more then you can as a campus do more. And if we're doing more, then we'll do a better job at supporting survivors. It seemed a nice way to sort of tie it all together and to think about the work that we've been engaged in as a university and as a community in the past five years to really look at what we're doing to improve our response to survivors and to make sure our policies are appropriate and doing what we need them to do. Know More, Do More, and Support More tie together and feed into each other.”

What is the goal of the survey itself?

“There are really two goals,” continues Moylan. “One goal is to get an understanding of how our campus is feeling about MSU’s culture and climate and the experiences they've had over the past year or so. It's good for our campus to do that every few years to understand the pulse at any given moment. Because we also did the survey in 2019, this is a chance to see if anything has changed. Have we improved anything? We have a strategic plan, and we've started some different programs, and there have been some policy changes. It's an opportunity to see any of the impact of that work that we've been doing. Because we can now compare from 2019 to 2022.

What are some things you found in 2019 that have informed the survey for 2022?

“We found that LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and faculty experienced higher rates of sexual harassment and sexual assault than their non LGBTQIA+ peers. We made sure that the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center was a resource that students could go to with some sense of privacy to be able to seek support. They've gotten some training, and so we hope to be able to see some of the effectiveness of making changes like that.

“We've added the Sexual Assault Healthcare Program that provides some additional services on campus that are convenient and easy to access for our community members. There've been some policy changes around sanctions for RVSM. We hope to be able to get a sense of how that might be impacting community members' perceptions and experiences here at the university.”

Who would you like to take this and how would they take it?

“It's a survey designed for all students, staff, and faculty,” Moylan says. “That’s undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. All staff and all faculty will be invited to take the survey. It's really important that we hear from as many of our community members as possible. The more responses that we get and the more people we hear from, the better sense we have that we're getting a clear and complete picture of the climate and the culture here at MSU. We really hope that everyone will, when they get that email, click on the link and take the survey.”

“That email will be coming to all students, faculty, and staff on March 16, which is the Wednesday after spring break, from knowmore.msu@rti.org,” says Jacob Nason, a PhD student in social work who is helping with the survey as Moylan’s graduate assistant.

“Everyone will get their own email, and in that email will be an access code,” Moylan continues. “When you click on the link, you have a personalized access code. There's no need to forward it to a friend because your friend should already get their own email and access code. It'll be very easy to click on the link and then just stick that access code in and you'll get right to the survey.

“We noticed a few things in 2019, including for example, that staff and faculty and students who are Black or from other marginalized racial and ethnic groups experience some higher rates of RVSM. But we also noticed that we had some lower rates of participation among some of those communities. We really want to encourage everyone to share their experiences so we can have a clear and complete picture of their thoughts about our campus climate and culture and the experiences that they've had.

“We encourage everybody to consider taking the survey. The survey is administered by an external nonprofit research organization. That's really important because it means that MSU doesn't actually have access to the data. Whatever information you share in the survey is confidential. It won't be linked back to you; MSU won't know whether you took the survey, and that data will never be linked back to you and your specific identity. We hope that makes people feel confident and free to share their experiences knowing that they can remain confidential.”

“To underscore the importance of making sure that students, faculty, and staff who we didn't hear from necessarily as much last time, this is a great opportunity for members of those communities to be able to share their voices, especially because a lot of campus climate surveys on other campuses aren't necessarily reaching out to staff,” says Nason. “They're not necessarily going out to faculty and graduate students, but everyone's voice and everyone who is being invited to the survey's voice is important and pivotal to being able to understand and inform change on our campus.”

You're going to find what you're going to find, but are there things you hope to learn and will what you learn inform some of the evolving Support More initiatives?

“Absolutely, yes,” Moylan says. “We learned a lot in that 2019 survey that we fed into the formation of the strategic plan, and we thought carefully about how this data and this information could teach us where we needed to put additional energy. We hope to find out how our community is feeling about the university and their perceptions of some of those changes in policies and perceptions of just how included they feel on campus in general. We look forward to hearing the good, the bad, the indifferent, and all sides of the issue so that we can have a good sense of what are the remaining areas of need. What can we continue to target to keep MSU on this path of trying to improve our response to survivors?

“Most campuses when they do these climate surveys related to relationship violence and sexual misconduct only survey students. We felt like at MSU that it was important to think about our community as a full community and that staff and faculty are a big part of the culture, the climate, and the community at MSU. To do a campus-wide climate survey is still unique among other institutions. We found that we learned so much from staff and faculty and the experiences that they're having. That helped us to think about what MSU could be doing better. We really look forward to getting that sense of experiences and perceptions across the full community.

“So, we hope that everyone will click on the link, enter their access code, and take the survey. It takes about 15 minutes so you can do it while you're having your coffee or before you have a meeting that's starting in 15 or 20 minutes. The information really will help us. We will use the information, and we'll share the information back with the community so that the community can also use that information to help MSU continue to improve our response to survivors.”

MSU Today airs Sunday mornings at 9:00 on WKAR News/Talk and Sunday nights at 8:00 on 760 WJR. Find, rate, and subscribe to "MSU Today with Russ White" on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.