We all have a community, whether in our department, through student organizations, in the larger Bay Area, or with family and friends. Our communities help to uplift and affirm us throughout our time in graduate school. Because these spaces are so important to us, it is crucial that we take the time to provide feedback on the ways they can continue to improve.
In late February, the Division of Equity & Inclusion announced a campus climate survey open to all members of the UC Berkeley community. The goal of this survey is to collect input on how Cal can better fulfill its mission of “integrating equity, inclusion, and diversity into all aspects of university life.”
As graduate students, we play a critical role in this mission, and participating in the survey is an opportunity for us to voice our experiences on this campus. “Sometimes, graduate students underestimate how powerful their voices are in shaping the University,” said Abby Rincón, Assistant Dean for Graduate Diversity. “Students are the experts of their own experience, and sharing their truths is critical and valuable.”
The results of the campus climate survey will help to not only bring awareness to best practices as well as areas of improvement, but also to inform policy recommendations moving forward. In the past, climate survey findings have resulted in tangible policy changes, such as:
- Improved access to graduate student mental health services at the Tang Center;
- Increased trainings to inform the academic departments on best practices in creating inclusive classrooms;
- Integration of Interactive Theater with a focus on inclusion into GSI preparation for teaching;
- Expanded support for staff professional development and management pathways.
While respondents’ identities are kept completely confidential and all replies are reported as summarized data, responses will be made available at the department-level and could be a tool for fostering dialogue on equity and inclusion, as well as informing department-level policy changes.
I hope you will join me in sharing your experience as a graduate student at Cal. Our voices matter, so let’s use them!
You can fill out the survey at myexperience.berkeley.edu by April 25, 2019. You could win a $50 Amazon gift card for participating. Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments, or concerns!
Rachel Wallace is a Professional Development Liaison at the Graduate Division and a Master of Public Policy Candidate at the Goldman School of Public Policy.