Climate Survey

Climate Survey 2022 Frequently Asked Questions

As part of our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Respect (DEIR) Strategic Plan, the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources will conduct a college-wide climate survey for faculty, staff and graduate students beginning November 1, 2022.  Information about the survey is included below. If you have additional questions you do not see answered here, please contact Amanda Shaffer, AGNR Diversity Officer at

What do we mean by “climate”?

Climate is a measure of the real or perceived quality of interpersonal, academic, and professional interactions and consists of “the attitudes, behaviors, and principles that impact the level of respect for individual needs, abilities, and potential” (Hurtado, 1992; Rankin, 2001).  A climate includes both the experience of individuals and groups, and the interaction between those various groups and individuals. Diversity is one aspect of college climate.

What is a climate survey?

Understanding our AGNR climate is an important step toward ensuring the future success of our people and our land-grant mission. The survey offers as an opportunity for everyone to share their feedback about their work experience and what matters most to them as we assess our progress. AGNR has partnered with Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys, LLC to administer the survey to assure confidentiality.

Who is distributing the climate survey?

To ensure that survey participants remain anonymous, Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys, LLC, a third-party vendor, will distribute the survey. Participation is voluntary. 

The Viewfinder® Campus Climate Surveys are specifically designed to help colleges and universities measure and assess both their strengths and weaknesses around diversity and inclusion efforts for graduate assistants, faculty, staff, administrators, department chairs and unit leaders. They provide insight into what shapes the experiences and perceptions of diverse individuals on college campuses to help institutions create an environment where everyone feels safe, welcome, valued, and respected.

The Viewfinder® survey allows AGNR the opportunity to completely customize the survey so that the questions will reflect the experience of our community across the state of Maryland and at College Park.

Is the survey confidential?

Yes. This is a confidential survey only accessible via secure link.

In order to better understand everyones experience with diversity, equity, and inclusion, Viewfinder® analysts will access and analyze the data and provide a report and disaggregated data to the AGNR Diversity Officer. These analysts will treat the data with absolute confidentiality, and no one beyond the analysts will have access to individual-level data. Participation reports will be provided while the survey is still open to encourage all to respond but will not identify who has or has not taken the survey.

All information you provide is confidential. Supervisors will not receive individual employee responses. No one will be able to identify how you personally responded to any question.

Do we have to participate?

All faculty, staff, unit leaders, department chairs, administrators and graduate assistants who receive an emailed link to the survey are strongly encouraged to participate, as we are aiming for a 100% completion rate.

Your participation provides the information we need to build a more diverse, inclusive, equitable and respectful college. This brief survey is an opportunity to offer insight into your unique experiences.  The results will help us to examine the level of belonging, respect, dialogue, and trust present across the college so we can identify our strengths and new opportunities to shape programs and policies. Your input is not only valuable, but essential to efforts to foster, cultivate, and sustain a welcoming, respectful, and inclusive community that values each and everyone’s identities, abilities, and potential.

When can I take the AGNR climate survey?

The survey will be open from November 1st through November 22nd, 2022.

When the survey launches on November 1st, all faculty, staff, unit leaders, department chairs, administrators and graduate assistants should expect an email from Viewfinder. Anyone not receiving this email should check their spam folder.

How do I take the survey?

On November 1, 2022 you will receive an email directly from Viewfinder Campus Climate Surveys, LCC inviting you to participate in confidential AGNR Climate Survey with a secure link to the survey. Click on the link to begin your confidential survey on a computer, tablet or mobile phone. Your survey link is unique, so do not forward the survey email to others. In addition, once you complete the survey and click “submit”, your survey be closed and no longer editable.

The survey will take from 10 - 15 minutes to complete. If you have issues, please contact Amanda Shaffer, AGNR Diversity Officer, at

How will the climate survey benefit the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources?

Findings from the climate survey will be used to understand areas of growth and to make any needed improvements that will foster and promote the more inclusive environments which facilitate the success of our people and our land-grant mission. The results will help us to examine the level of belonging, respect, dialogue, and trust present across the college so we can identify our strengths and new opportunities to shape programs and policies.

How will the data from the survey be shared and/or used?

The staff at Viewfinder will provide the anonymous data and a summary report to the Diversity Officer to show overall averages and trends.  The data will be disaggregated by demographics such as race and ethnicity; gender; and role (e.g., graduate student, faculty, staff). The disaggregated findings will also be shared directly with senior leadership, posted on this website, and shared through open forum presentations and discussions with the AGNR community to further identify areas of progress, areas to address, and next steps. 

When will we see results?

The results will be made available college-wide in mid to late April. Please stay tuned for future updates.

How often will AGNR conduct a climate survey?

A climate survey serves as a snapshot to assess and compare perceptions over time, as well as address needed areas of improvement and engagement. To adequately benchmark these attitudes and perceptions AGNR will conduct the survey three times with the same third-party vendor: November 2022, October 2024, and October 2025