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Assessing the Campus Climate at Simon’s Rock


Your campus. Your voice. Youor rocker experience.The campus climate at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and Bard Academy shapes the lives of all of us. Understanding the varied experiences of our community is a critical part of continuing to improve how we work toward creating a more inclusive, equitable, and safe campus environment.

With this goal in mind we are engaging in campus climate assessment. These assessments will allow us to better understand the experiences of our community. We know from the research that thriving campus climates contribute directly to overall success for students, staff and faculty. We believe the results will assist us in better understanding our learning, living, and working environments (what we are doing well and where there are challenges). These assessments are an opportunity for you to ensure your voice is part of this effort.

Campus Climate Matters

The research literature supports that the campus climate influences the levels to which students, faculty, and staff members thrive. People who feel connected and supported by their campus communities have a higher likelihood of success in every area of their lives.

Over the last few months, we have heard from some of our students regarding our policies and procedures related to sexual misconduct on campus, and we remain committed to working together to create the safest possible living and learning environment for all of our students. It’s time to hear from all students so that we can implement change to make Simon’s Rock the best experience for every student. To help lead this effort regarding sexual misconduct climate on campus, we have partnered with Rankin Climate, LLC, which has conducted more than 250 campus climate assessment projects over the last 22 years.

We also know campus climate goes beyond sexual respect, thus, in spring 2024 we will begin work with Viewfinder Campus Climate Surveys, LLC, which has conducted climate surveys at over 120 institutions to assess and measure the institutions’ strengths and weaknesses of diversity and inclusion efforts on their campuses.

To lead these efforts a working group of Bard College at Simon’s Rock students, staff, and faculty are working with Rankin Climate and Viewfinder to develop and implement the assessments with our Simon’s Rock community in mind. If you have any questions about the climate assessment, please email

There are currently two Climate Surveys planned for Academic Year 2023–2024:

  • Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey — Students: Fall 2023
  • Equity and Inclusion Climate Survey: Spring 2024

Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey Fall 2023

Learn more about what you need to know to help make an impact via these surveys in the Simon’s Rock community and shape the future of our campus.

View Rankin’s Introductory Presentation

July – August 2023

  • Develop survey with the working group

September 2023

  • Finalize the survey instrument
  • Engage the community

October 2023

  • Administer survey to students, faculty, and staff

November 2023

  • Analyze survey responses
  • Develop data-driven report of survey results

December 2023

  • Present survey results to students, faculty and staff
  • Develop action plan

January – March 2024

  • Begin to implement actions based on survey results

Spring 2024

  • Implement the Viewfinder Survey

The committee is lead by:

  • Susan Lyon, Vice Provost
  • Anne O’Dwyer, Director of Institutional Research and Associate Professor of Psychology

Other committee members include: 

  • Jake Aloia, Student
  • Edan Dalsheim-Kahane, Community Director
  • Diane Dillon, Director of the Wellness Center
  • Brooklyn Jack, Student
  • Claire Kelly, Student
  • Sarah Porter-Liddell, Dean of Equity and Inclusion
  • Monk Schane-Lydon, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Instructional Technology Specialist, Adjunct Faculty of the Arts
  • Fiona Scruggs, Director of Communications and Marketing

Creating an environment of change requires us to deeply listen and understand current students’ experiences. You can help us by sharing your stories and encouraging others to do the same.

How can you participate? Below are a few ways to get involved:

  • Complete and submit the survey
  • Connect with members of the working group to get answers and/or make suggestions about the survey
  • Once the survey is made available to the community, spread the word about the survey and encourage others to make their voices heard
  • Participation in the survey is completely voluntary, and participants do not have to answer any question and can skip any other questions they consider to be uncomfortable. Paper and pencil surveys are also available and will be sent directly to the consultant.

How are the questions developed?

  1. Rankin Climate, our consultant, developed a repository of tested questions from administering climate assessments at more than 250 institutions across the nation. To assist in contextualizing the survey for Simon’s Rock, and to capitalize on the many assessment efforts already undertaken, the Simon’s Rock Climate Survey Working Group was formed. The committee is responsible for developing the survey questions. The team will review selected survey questions from the consultant’s tested collection and will also include Simon’s Rock-specific questions which will be informed by the focus group results.

What will be included in the final summary reports?

  1. The consultant, Rankin Climate, will provide a final report that will include: an executive summary; a report narrative of the findings based on cross tabulations selected by the consultant; frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations of quantitative data; and content analysis of the textual data. The reports provide high-level summaries of the findings and will identify themes found in the data. The committee will review draft reports and provide feedback to the consultant prior to public release.

What will be done with data from the results?

  1. The purpose of conducting the survey is to assess student sense of belonging and culture at Simon’s Rock and to identify successes and opportunities for improvement.
  2. The findings will serve as a guide when creating the action plan that accounts for the identified opportunities for improvement.
  3. Although the committee believes the survey process itself is informative, we have sought and received commitment from the senior leaders that data will be used to plan for an improved climate at Simon’s Rock.

Taking the survey?

  1. Participation in the survey is completely voluntary. Additionally, participants do not have to answer every question and can skip any questions they consider to be uncomfortable.

How is a respondent’s confidentiality protected?

  1. Confidentiality is vital to the success of campus climate research; particularly as sensitive and personal topics are discussed. No data already protected through regulation or policy (e.g., Social Security number, campus identification number, medical information) is obtained through the survey. In the event of any publication or presentation resulting from the assessment, no personally identifiable information will be shared.
  2. Participation in the survey is completely voluntary, and participants do not have to answer any question and can skip any other questions they consider to be uncomfortable. Paper and pencil surveys are also available and will be sent directly to the consultant.
  3. While the survey cannot guarantee complete confidentiality because of the nature of multiple demographic questions, the consultant will take multiple precautionary measures to enhance individual confidentiality and the de-identification of data. Confidentiality in participating will be maintained to the highest degree permitted by the technology used (e.g., IP addresses will be stripped when the survey is submitted). No guarantees can be made regarding the interception of data sent via the Internet by third parties; however, to avoid interception of data, the survey is run on a firewalled web server with forced 256-bit SSL security. In addition, no names or information that would identify a respondent to those outside the campus are collected in the survey.
  4. The consultant and college will not report any group data for groups of fewer than five individuals, because those “small cell sizes” may be small enough to compromise confidentiality. Instead, the consultant and the college will combine the groups or take other measures to eliminate any potential for demographic information to be identifiable. Additionally, any comments submitted in response to the survey will be separated at the time of submission to the consultant so they are not attributed to any individual demographic characteristics. Identifiable information submitted in qualitative comments will be redacted and the college will only receive these redacted comments.
  5. Information in the introductory section of the survey will describe the manner in which confidentiality will be guaranteed, and additional communication to participants will provide expanded information on the nature of confidentiality, possible threats to confidentiality (see c.), and procedures developed to ensure de-identification of data.

What protections are in place for storage of sensitive data, including for future secondary use?

  • Rankin Climate uses a research data security description and protocol, which includes specific information on data encryption, the handling of personally identifiable information, physical security and a protocol for handling unlikely breaches of data security. The data from online participants will be submitted to a secure server hosted by the consultant. The SaaS hosting platforms are SOC2. The firewall is via Next-Gen Fortigate Firewall. Data is stored in a SQL database which can only be accessed by VPN via authorized personnel only. Our encryption for communication is via HTTPS TLS 1.2. Rankin Climate associates working on the project will have access to the raw data. All Rankin Climate analysts have CITI (Human Subjects) training and approval and have worked on similar projects for other institutions. The server performs an hourly and daily backup and stores the backup on a separate context offsite for safety.
  • The consultant has conducted more than 250 institutional surveys and maintains an aggregate merged database. The data from the Simon’s Rock project will be merged with all other existing climate data stored indefinitely on the consultant’s secure server. No institutional identifiers are included in the full merged data set held by the consultant. The raw unit-level data with institutional identifiers is kept on the server for six months and then destroyed. The paper and pencil surveys are returned to the consultant directly and kept in a locked file drawer in a locked office. The consultant destroys the paper and pencil responses after they are merged with the online data. The consultant will notify the committee chairs of any breach or suspected breach of data security of the consultant’s server.
  • The consultant will provide the primary investigator with a data file at the completion of the project. Any names or identifying information will be removed before the data file is sent to the institution.

Support resources are available to students through the Wellness Center, Title IX Office, Campus Life, Campus Safety,The Center for Equity and Inclusion, and off-campus at the Elizabeth Freeman Center.

“Partnering with Rankin Climate and Viewfinder gives us the opportunity to better understand our students’ experiences through qualitative and quantitative data to find our campus’ successes and areas for improvement. Through these surveys, we can implement impactful and meaningful change as a community. I look forward to our continued work of making a positive campus climate at Simon's Rock.”
— Provost John B. Weinstein

Providing an inclusive, equitable, and safe campus environment is essential to your student’s well being and success at Simon’s Rock. We are committed to this work as we take these next steps towards improving our campus community. If you have questions about the survey, please reach out to Sue Lyon, Vice Provost ( or Anne O’Dwyer, Anne O’Dwyer, Director of Institutional Research and Associate Professor of Psychology (

Equity and Inclusion Climate Survey Spring 2024

We will be partnering with Viewfinder Campus Climate Surveys, LLC, to conduct a campus climate survey in spring 2024. More information about the survey development process, timeline, FAQs, and additional information will be made available later in the fall 2023 semester.