Advancing Campus and Community Climate
The Strategic Planning and Coordinating Committee’s Theme 5 was charged with examining our campus environment and how the campus climate promotes achievement of our institutional goals. Additionally, this theme evaluates the University’s impact on the surrounding community. A central thread within this theme entails the core concepts of morale and equity. Recognition, compensation, accountability and effective communication strategies are key aspects applied to our assessment of how we are doing and how we can improve these matters. This report summarizes input gathered during the academic year of 2013-2014. In addition to synthesis of reports and input gathered, this report proposes further evaluations of campus climate and community impact as well as other related opportunities for growth and development.
Areas of Focus and Stakeholders
- Community impact
- Campus climate and morale
- Partnerships with local schools
- Government and alumni relations
The key questions that guided this theme’s visioning process were originally drafted after review of materials from previous University evaluation reports, including, but not limited to
the Recommendations from Subcommittee on Civic Engagement of the WASC EDUCATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS REVIEW,
the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) Faculty Survey 2010-2011,
the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement AY11-12 Marketing Plan, and
the External Assessment of University Role in Regional Innovation and Economic Growth.
Some questions listed have been modified based on findings from community conversations with faculty and staff. Specifically, the questions were modified to accentuate the need for documentation, evaluation, recognition and reward of service and impact concerning community-based scholarship and partnerships. The original formatting of the guiding questions may be accessed at planning.sfsu.edu.
- How are we effectively documenting, evaluating and rewarding our community outreach, partnership and research efforts, and ensuring that they are consistent with SF State’s core mission as well as our Service Learning Institution status?
- What can we do to improve the cohesiveness of our community outreach activities?
- How are we effectively documenting and evaluating the status of faculty and staff morale on campus?
- How might morale be improved?
- What opportunities exist for professional development and growth?
- Is the campus engaged in adequate succession planning?
- What is the economic impact of SF State on the city of San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area?
- How are we evaluating our impact and enhancing our relationships with local school and community college districts?
- Are there opportunities to increase our effectiveness in advocacy efforts with state, local and federal officials?
- What opportunities exist to leverage our extensive alumni presence in the Bay Area on issues important to the university?
Data was collected from subcommittee partners in a variety of ways listed below. The details of these data points are available in our appendices.
- 2015 Carnegie Elective Community Engagement Classification: Re-classification Documentation Framework and related reports that evaluate student, staff, faculty and community partnerships
- “What is Life Like at SF State?” Cesar Chavez Institue (CCI) Survey
- Neighborlands.com input and inquiry
- Office of the President Persistence Pilot Studies
- Student Success Graduate Initiatives findings
- Strategic Issues Campus Service Survey and related inquiry and reports from Academic Senate concerning Campus Climate
- Community conversations and structured visits from theme leads (e.g., engaging campus or community groups to discuss key issues related to the advancement of campus climate and community partnerships)
Top Five Action Items
Based on a number of responses gathered from community conversations, online postings, and meetings with campus and community stakeholders, the following action items emerged as dominant themes in need of immediate address:
- Radically improved communications plan, an “overhaul” that improves campus-wide as well as community-based information about campus work and community partnerships;
- Faculty and staff equity analysis concerning salary increases, assessment of staff satisfaction concerning workload and professional growth, and other formalized appreciation, recognition and celebration as community-building opportunities for staff, faculty and the students we serve as well as annual retreats or rejuvenation efforts and incentive programs;
- A University-wide entity charged with documenting, evaluating and rewarding campus-community partnerships and service opportunities, in addition to the management of related formalized, accountable and accessible communication portals (cf. ULink49 - http://www.sfsu.edu/~icce/login.html, CommUniverCity- http://cucsj.org/ , UNCG Community Engagement Collaboratory - http://communityengagement.uncg.edu/collaboratory-home.aspx)
- Improved Human Resources: better experience, access and communication with campus employees;
- University Club for Faculty, Staff and Community Guests
Many issues have a “do now” aspect, while others will require continued inquiry, evaluation and presentation of findings to further inform suggestions for structural changes and/or campus policy implications. The designation of a University Club for faculty, staff and community guests is a recommendation for execution as soon as possible. Likewise, designation of a university-wide entity that is responsible for documenting, evaluating, recognizing, rewarding and helping to communicate our campus success in regard to community engagement is also a high priority. Such an entity would work with existing Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and Faculty Affairs as well as Colleges concerning the documentation of service scholarship. Trainings in Behavior Economics could enhance our institution’s communications as well as perhaps address some of the issues that respondents discussed concerning human resources. Projects that require continued inquiry include the campus climate issues of morale and equity. These issues affect our core values and our institutional mission. The next steps entail a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of morale on campus. In addition, there is need for SWOT concerning the workload and equity pay issues, as emphasized by many respondents in online postings and community conversations. Thus, while there is much that is already being done—and done well, indeed WASC donned our campus as the gold standard of civic engagement and social justice and diversity—there is more that can be initiated for continued success and advancement in areas that our institution has already historically demonstrated much excellence and commitment.
Gabriela Alvarenga – Staff, Undergraduate Advising Center
Dawn-Elissa Fischer- Faculty, Africana Studies
Daniel Homsey – Strategic Initiatives, SF City & County
Egon Terplan – SPUR (formerly San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association)
Belinda Reyes – Cesar Chavez Institute
Carmen Gomez Mandic – Marian Wright Edelman Institute
Jerry Eisman – Institute for Civic and Community Engagement