Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Marquette Students Ignoring Climate Survey

An e-mail from Kimberly A. Newman, Executive Administrative Assistant in the Provost’s office:
The Climate Study Working Group seeks your help in getting more students to complete the Marquette University Climate Survey. As of today less than 10% of our undergraduate and graduate students have taken the time to complete the survey, falling short of what we need to get the pulse of students’ experiences and observations of life at Marquette. And with a new President and Provost, what information students provide will go far in setting priorities for the future of Marquette.
Faculty are then asked to encourage students to take the survey. Students should be assured, for example, that even if they are Freshmen and relatively new to campus their input is wanted. The survey only takes a few minutes. And further, students should be told “That by ‘climate’ survey, we are asking about what they’ve experienced and observed at Marquette and not their opinions about the weather.”

Good to get that cleared up.

Of course, if students were paying any attention, they would notice some questionable things about the enterprise. For example, Newman assures people:
All responses are anonymous. There will never be an analysis of the findings that might identify any individual who completes the survey, and safeguards have been taken to assure both confidentiality of information and anonymity of responses.
But then you have this:
Why do some demographic questions contain a large number of response options?

It is important in campus climate research for survey participants to “see” themselves in response choices to prevent “othering” an individual or an individual’s characteristics. Some researchers maintain that assigning someone to the status of “other” is a form of marginalization and should be minimized, particularly in a campus climate research that has an intended purpose of inclusiveness. Along these lines, survey respondents will see a long list of possible choices for many demographic questions. It is impossible reasonably to include every possible choice to every question, but the goal is to reduce the number of respondents who must choose “other.”
So students who are asexual or of Croatian ancestry might get alienated if they don’t see that choice in the response categories offered.

But then you have this:
How is a respondent’s confidentiality protected?

Confidentiality is vital to the success of campus climate research, particularly because sensitive and personal topics are discussed. Though the survey can’t guarantee complete anonymity because of the nature of multiple demographic questions, the consultant will take multiple precautionary measures to ensure individual confidentiality and the deidentification of data. No data already protected through regulation or policy (e.g., Social Security Number, campus identification number, medical information) is obtained through the survey….
That’s very reassuring.

But the fundamental problem with the survey is that we know perfectly well how it will turn out. The outside consultant who is doing it (one Dr. Susan Rankin) is in the business of making surveys turn out the way campus administrators want them to.

First, it will not be determined that the “campus climate” sucks for everybody. That would be bad publicity for Marquette. But it will be determined that there are “problems,” almost certainly problems for some politically correct group. It’s completely inconceivable that (say) devout Catholics will be found to face a “hostile climate” as their views are demeaned, or that males will be found to chafe under anti-male sexism from feminists.

These “problems” will need to be “addressed” by more programs, more mandatory “training,” and more “initiatives.” All of which will justify the budgets and staffing of various bureaucracies at Marquette.

The game is pretty transparent.  Except to administrators at Marquette, who probably believe their own rhetoric.

[Update]

From a comment, information on the firm that is doing the survey. Is there any doubt that the “fix is in” as to how this survey will turn out?

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3 Comments:

Blogger Walter-marie Miller said...

For reasons we all know, politically correct indoctrination has never been more on-the-radars of Marquette students.

That 10% figure is a significant repudiation by the student body of Marquette's bland Establishonormative policies.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Mary Jarvis said...

A quick look at the consultant company Marquette hired to conduct the survey will give you a pretty good indication as to how this will all turn out and what "problems" will be revealed (and in need of urgent correction) - https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=443671845783497&id=356212237862792

8:42 PM  
Blogger Kirby Olson said...

It has been the coldest February since 1979. The global warming fanatics get hot under the collar when you tease them. Global warming is the latest front in the Cold War, which has somehow outlasted the fall of the Soviet Empire in 1989-1991, and is continuing on, with Putin trying to take back the Ukraine in a surreptitious hot war, and the push of the communists through the universities continuing to burn up whole fields of knowledge. I'm reading one of the last true Cold Warriors, James Burnham, and his recently revived book, The Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism (1964; Yale UP, 2014), with an introduction by Roger Kimball. It's not exactly hot off the press, but was on C-Span the other month with an impressive array of cool champions. If we're going to have to relive the Cold War, then we might as well reread the Hector who hectored, instead of the Parisian postmods who are now mostly dead and unreadable, and try again to understand the communist epigones who are trying once more to turn our economy back to the stone age with the head of Medusa and the rolling guillotines of Robespierre; let us save our Troy this time around, Hellenizing it with Locke and Smith, Madison and Washington, who kept their heads, and are more likely to help us keep ours.

Today the tumbril is operating again with our universities, and mad queens such as Abbate screaming Off with his Head! at anyone who would stop them, including tenured professors such as McAdams. The nightmarishness of this scenario is such that it threatens to make all of our universities and colleges look as fragile as houses of cards, with jokers and jacks and jills all tumbling into the tumbril as craven administrators enact the orders to lop off the heads of anyone who would stand up to the new gods of race gender class.

8:18 AM  

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