Student voices to drive change
January 18, 2023
Next week, Queen’s is launching its campus climate and culture survey of the entire student population for the second time.
The Shift Survey, previously named the Student Experiences Survey in 2021, asks students about their experiences and perceptions of campus safety, incidents of exclusion, harassment and racism.
“We’re hoping to have broad participation again so we can hear directly from students about their lived experiences and determine what additional actions Queen’s could take to make this a welcoming campus, particularly when it comes to equity, belonging, and accessibility” says Associate Vice-Principal (Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion) Stephanie Simpson. “We encourage all students across the university to respond to the survey.”
The survey will be used to gauge progress on equity and diversity goals, and help guide continuing efforts to address systemic racism, target exclusionary and discriminatory behaviours, and improve the student experience for all.
The 2023 Shift Survey will be emailed to all students on Jan. 23 and will remain open until Feb. 13. All responses are voluntary and confidential, and results will be shared with the campus community when they are available.
In appreciation of their time and feedback, the first 2,000 students to complete at least 65 per cent of the survey can choose to have a $5 donation from Queen’s directed to the campus food bank or receive a $5 flex dining credit. Students can also choose to be entered into a draw for 10 Skip the Dishes credits of $100. In 2021, more than 60 per cent of students who received an acknowledgement directed it to one of three local not-for-profit organizations.
2021 survey results and actions
More than 5,400 students responded to the 2021 survey. The results showed that equity-deserving students experience disproportionate incidences of oppression, violence, discrimination, and exclusion.
Queen’s has acted on these results by strengthening initiatives across the university to increase access and diversity and improve the campus climate. Related actions taken to further the university’s equity and diversity goals include expanding the Access and Inclusion Team and its Equity Ambassador program in Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment, establishing the Commitment Scholars award program that celebrates inclusive leadership, and increasing funding for admitted applicants with highest financial need with the renewable Major Access Awards.
The survey results led to the establishment of a Student Engagement and Inclusion Coordinator in Student Affairs, and the creation of the Queen’s Shift Project, which is an ongoing collection of events and initiatives aimed at centering equity-deserving student experiences, providing more opportunities for dialogue on survey topics, and advancing campus culture. The survey and project’s Student Advisory Group continues to help inform decisions and actions. The group comprises students in various leadership roles across campus, who are compensated for their contributions.
Student Affairs is also currently recruiting for a new staff position – Senior Director, Student Equity, Belonging and Inclusion – a role that will lead the development and implementation of proactive Indigenization, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility and Anti-Racist (IEDIAA) initiatives in support of the division’s priorities, engaging diverse communities across the campus and in the broader community.
“We greatly acknowledge the leadership and dedication of students as we collaborate to promote a campus environment where everyone feels safe, welcome, and included,” says Corinna Fitzgerald, Assistant Dean, Student Affairs. “We are looking forward to using this latest survey data to continue to advance the university’s efforts to improve student life and belonging.”
Improving campus culture
Queen’s has committed to surveying the student population every two years to help fulfill the goals of the Declaration of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism, which was signed by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane along with other senior leaders of the university in 2020. The Shift Survey also supports Queen’s implementation of the Scarborough Charter, a sector-wide agreement to undertake meaningful action against anti-Black racism in Canadian colleges and universities.
Learn more on The Queen’s Shift Survey webpage.