This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield Hall 218
Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004
UW-Eau Claire Employees Report Feeling Connected to Campus
phone (715) 836-4741
fax (715) 836-2900
web http://www.uwec.edu
e-mail newsbur@uwec.edu

MAILED: Aug. 31, 1999

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire employees report a high level of satisfaction with their work settings, and a majority feel welcome in all campus and community settings, a new employee campus climate survey indicates.
"The survey generally paints a positive picture, with workers from a variety of different backgrounds reporting that they find a supportive environment at UW-Eau Claire," Barbara Stevens, assistant to the chancellor for Affirmative Action, said of the 1998 survey findings. "But the survey also helps us identify those areas in which we need to devote additional attention in the future."
Dr. James Williams, associate professor emeritus of sociology and anthropology, collected and analyzed data from the 1995 and 1998 Employee Campus Climate Survey. Surveys were sent to a total of 380 university employees, including classified and unclassified staff, during the spring of 1998. A total of 227 employees returned useable surveys, for a response rate of 60 percent.
UW-Eau Claire initiated the surveys to better understand the climate on campus, and to identify ways to continuously improve that climate, said Chancellor Donald Mash, adding that survey results will be among the tools used as the university creates its 10-year plan.
Overall, the campus climate has grown more positive since the first campus climate survey was done in 1995, Stevens said. For example, compared to three years ago, there is a reduction in the frequency of negative remarks about people based on their race, sex, religion or sexual orientation, she said. And significantly more survey respondents indicated in 1998 that they were fully supportive of allocating resources toward diversity initiatives on UW-Eau Claire's campus.
"I'm encouraged by the responses — I think we're going in the right direction," Mash said.
Survey results included:
Four of five employees feel a part of the university community to some or a great extent. About 75 percent of the respondents indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with their overall experience as an employee at UW-Eau Claire.
Few employees reported feeling uncomfortable with people on the job. However, the number of respondents reporting that they did feel very or somewhat uncomfortable increased about 10 percent when asked about working with people who are openly gay, lesbian or bisexual, and those who are not native speakers of English. People who speak English as a second language and gay and lesbian employees will find a chilly reception in some quarters, Williams said.
Most respondents said their attitudes toward people who are different from themselves had not changed since joining the staff at UW-Eau Claire. For those who did report a change, it was usually in the direction of greater acceptance of the group in question. "The conclusion is that the work environment at UW-Eau Claire is not promoting greater intolerance or hostility toward the named groups, and in many cases is promoting greater acceptance," Williams stated.
About three-quarters of the employees believe that gender is not a basis for unequal treatment in their department or unit. And 80 percent of all respondents agreed with the statement "people from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds are valued and respected in my work unit."
More than one-half of the respondents have heard a colleague make an insensitive or disparaging remark at least once during the last three years, down substantially from the 1995 survey, when nearly all employees had heard at least some disparaging remarks. "This appears to signal an improvement in the campus climate at the level of verbal interaction," Williams said, noting that employees are more likely to hear an offensive remark from a student than a fellow employee.
Forty-four percent of the respondents said they had not experienced any offensive behavior off campus. Of those who did report such an experience, the two most common were rude and disrespectful behavior and offensive language.
Slightly more than half of the employees are fully supportive of the allocation of resources toward diversity initiatives. This represents a significant increase over the number noted three years ago. However, one-third or more remain opposed to increasing minority numbers, promoting cultural awareness, and showcasing distinctive cultural contributions.
A significantly smaller proportion of employees believe that too much attention is being given to race issues and gender issues than three years ago.
The Employee Campus Climate Survey will be distributed to departments and units on campus. It also will be available for review on the Office of Affirmative Action web page at www.uwec.edu/Admin/Affirm. Additional copies are available in the Affirmative Action Office in 217 Schofield Hall.
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JB


UWEC [Administrative Offices] [News Bureau]

Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 218
(715) 836-4741
newsbur@uwec.edu

Updated: Aug. 31, 1999