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Campus Climate Survey FAQs

What is the purpose of the survey?

Part of the land grant mission of SDSU is to provide educational access and inclusion and to accept and embrace diverse cultures to improve the quality of life for people and communities of South Dakota. As such, South Dakota State University is participating in a national survey developed to assess the overall climate on campus.

The primary purpose of the Skyfactor Campus Climate, Safety, and Sexual Assault Assessment is to provide SDSU with information to inform policies, programs, and practices that enhance the campus environment.

This assessment provides campus constituents an opportunity to voice their experiences and perceptions of the campus environment.  Specifically, it serves as a conduit for providing feedback to help direct university initiatives.  This information will be used to develop strategic priorities related to the campus environment and all who interact with the campus community including all students, future students, alumni, visitors, faculty, employees, and all stakeholders.

Why was the survey selected?

The Campus Climate committee reviewed several national campus climate surveys.  After a review of the surveys, the committee found that Skyfactor had many capabilities that were important.  This included a survey for students and employees; meeting Title IX recommendations; a flexible administration timeline; add additional questions; peer comparisons and national benchmarks; reporting features. In addition, by using a third party vendor, the company provides an additional layer of data confidentiality.

Most important, the survey addressed topics that were of institutional priorities related to campus climate.

The Skyfactor Campus Climate, Safety, and Sexual Assault Assessment focuses on:

  • Perceptions of the campus related to the ability to assess diversity, inclusiveness, visibility, equity, safety, and treatment

  • Personal attitudes and behaviors related to working with people from diverse backgrounds

  • Perceptions of institutional policies, procedures, and training in compliance with Title IX (sexual assault and harassment)

  • Perceptions of measures and satisfaction with the institution  

When will the survey open?

The surveys will launch the third week in January with subsequent reminders.

Who can take the survey?

The surveys will be sent to the following:

Student survey

  • Degree seeking undergraduate students

  • Graduate Students

  • Non-degree seeking students

  • Excluding dual credit and concurrent enrollment (HS students)

Faculty/Staff survey (primary role)

  • Permanent (full-time or part-time) Employees

How long will the survey take to complete?

The Campus Climate, Safety, and Sexual Assault Assessment will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

As faculty/staff, can I complete the survey during work hours?

Yes.  Completing the survey should be considered part of your service to the institution.

How is my privacy and confidentiality protected?

Informed Consent

Participation in the survey is encouraged but is voluntary.  Students and employees will not be coerced to participate. Emails and the first page of the survey will contain language that addresses informed consent.  For example, the survey states:

“By accessing the survey, you are verifying that you have read the explanation of the study, and that you agree to participate. You also understand that your participation in this study is strictly voluntary.  If you do not wish to participate in this survey, simply exit the survey by closing your internet browser.”


Due to the nature of this survey, reasonable precautions to protect confidential information obtained through the survey will be taken.  The following describes how we plan to protect participant information.

The survey data is collected from a third-party vendor.  No personally identifiable information is captured unless participants voluntarily offer personal or contact information in any of the comment fields. Additionally, responses are combined with those of many others and summarized in a report to further protect participants.

However, if a participant chooses to report information related to discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct or retaliation, we are required to report this information to the Title IX/Equal Opportunity officer.

Please review the sections below (Survey Data and Survey Results) for additional information on how the data will be stored, accessed, and used.

Survey Data

The Campus Climate data will be collected and stored by a third party vendor (Skyfactor).  SDSU does not receive the data until approximately 6 months after the survey administration has ended. 

Survey data may be available by request.  A request will need to be made to the Director of Institutional Assessment. The request will include why the data is needed (purpose), who will have access to the survey data, how the data will be analyzed, and how the results will be used and shared. The Campus Climate committee will review requests and make a determination.

Good faith effort will be made to provide data as requested; however, some requests may not be possible due to how the data is collected and organized.

The survey contains open-ended responses and comments. Because of the potential sensitivity of open-ended responses and comments, only the Director of Institutional Assessment, Ombudsperson, Director of ODIE, and the President of SDSU will have access to unredacted (uncensored) comments.

Redacted (censored) comments may be reviewed and analyzed by the Campus Climate survey committee.  Redaction procedures include removing all names, departments, and other identifiable information.

How will the survey results be used?

The Executive Report will be released in Fall semester.

Reports and presentations will use aggregate (summary) data.  Efforts will be taken to protect participants’ confidential and private information.

Reports and presentations will be saved to the InsideState or MyState Campus Climate site.

Efforts will be made to present the executive summary of the survey to a variety of campus committees and groups.  In addition, the institution will utilize the Gallup method of having discussions with departments and groups on how to utilize the data to make improvements.

Because of our shared governance commitment, it is our hope that the survey data is used by a variety of campus constituents (e.g. Student Association; Faculty Senate; Civil Service Advisory Council; Professional Staff Advisory Council, Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, etc) and leadership to make institutional improvements and direct strategic university initiatives and create a welcoming campus climate for all stakeholders.