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The Other Climate

IUP by the Numbers

Climate as it relates to weather conditions is a recurring topic in world news. Recently, the IUP community has also discussed another kind of climate—the prevailing attitudes, standards, and overall learning environment on campus.

In the spring of 2015, IUP began assessing that climate with the Campus Climate Study. The study’s first phase involved an electronic survey of IUP constituents to gather a basic understanding of the climate. A sample of those results appears here. The following fall, sociology faculty members Melanie Hildebrandt and Melissa Swauger ’97 led focus groups and interviews of 178 stakeholders to explore in greater depth perceptions expressed in the survey. A full report of the study’s results appears on the IUP Office of Social Equity website.

The following figures show, by percentage, how the survey’s nearly 600 student participants described their experiences in the previous year.

They are comfortable with the climate at IUP:

  • Male: 75.2%
  • Female: 66.0%
  • White: 69.6%
  • Non-white: 65.8%
  • All students: 67.1%

They believe the campus encourages free and open discussion of difficult topics:

  • White: 64.4%
  • Non-white: 48.3%

They have personally experienced exclusionary, intimidating, offensive, and/or hostile conduct that has interfered with their ability to work/learn at IUP:

  • Non-white female: 24.4%
  • White female: 19.7%
  • Non-white male: 7.3%
  • White male: 6.3%
  • Heterosexual: 25.0%
  • LGBTQIA*: 36.9%

*Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, queer, intersex, asexual

They have observed exclusionary, intimidating, offensive, and/or hostile conduct that has interfered with their ability to work/learn at IUP:

  • White female: 22.6%
  • Non-white female: 22.5%
  • Non-white male: 15.0%
  • White male: 10.1%

They described the classroom climate as welcoming for students based on gender:

  • Male: 72.4%
  • Female: 70.9%

They described the classroom climate as welcoming for students based on race:

  • White: 66.3%
  • Non-white: 50.0%

They described the classroom climate as welcoming for students based on sexual orientation:

  • Heterosexual: 61.2%
  • LGBTQIA: 55.9%

They believe faculty members are genuinely concerned with their welfare:

  • White: 70.3%
  • Non-white: 51.7%

They believe their IUP courses include sufficient materials, perspectives, and/or experiences of people, based on race:

  • White: 55.9%
  • Non-white: 30.6%

They rated the overall campus climate as friendly:

  • Male: 72.1%
  • Female: 65.6%
  • White: 68.6%
  • Non-white: 63.1%

They described the campus as regularly having encounters with racism (as opposed to occasionally having these encounters or being virtually free of these encounters):

  • Male: 22.8%
  • Female: 20.2%
  • Non-white: 21.3%
  • White: 20.5%

In the months since the release of the Campus Climate Study report, IUP already has addressed some of the report’s recommendations, with efforts such as creating a multicultural center, establishing a presidential commission to lead development of a diversity action plan, and refocusing the IUP Punxsutawney campus to serve primarily students from that region.