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Campus Climate Survey 2021

In fall 2021, more than 13,000 UW–Madison students — a 28% response rate — shared their thoughts, experiences, and concerns about campus in the university’s student Campus Climate Survey. The results will build upon the university’s 2016 survey to help us better understand our students’ campus experience and enhance programs and services that foster a campus environment where everyone feels like they belong.

Summary of Key Findings

Dr. James Yonker, director of the Office of Strategic Diversity Planning and Research and principal investigator for the 2021 Student Campus Climate Survey, shares a brief history of student campus climate surveys at UW–Madison and highlights some key findings and themes from the 2021 survey.

Technical Report

The years between 2016 and 2021 were turbulent at UW–Madison and other universities. The COVID-19 pandemic, a nationwide social justice movement, and intensifying political and social divisions made it unclear how the results of the 2021 survey would compare to 2016.

As it turns out, student perceptions of campus climate were stable in most areas from 2016 to 2021. Overall, students continued to report a generally positive experience of the campus climate at UW–Madison, with most students feeling welcome, respected, and safe on campus.

However, results from the survey also reflected nearly the same set of group differences seen in 2016. The survey showed consistent differences in perceptions of campus climate for historically underrepresented and marginalized groups.

Task Force Report

The Campus Climate Survey Task Force was charged with reviewing the survey findings and developing recommendations for the campus community. The group issued its report in November 2022. The task force includes nearly 30 campus community members representing faculty, staff, students and recent alumni.

Read the Task Force Report

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Task Force Members


Gabe Javier, Student Affairs
Anju Reejhsinghani, Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement


Kevin Black, Physics
Omar Dumdum, graduate student, School of Journalism & Mass Communication
Elise Fjelstad, undergraduate student, Sociology and Political Science
Brenda González, Director of Community Relations
Andrew Hahn, Division of Enrollment Management
Laura Hiebing, Academic Coaching & Tutoring Services
Megan Holman, Center for User Experience, Division of Information Technology
Siti Hydara, recent UW graduate, Political Science
Amanda Jovaag, University Health Services
Shelby Knuth, Center for the First-Year Experience
Darshana Mini, Department of Communication Arts
Grant Nelsestuen, Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Integrated Liberal Studies
Ulrich Rosenhagen, Center for Religion and Global Citizenry
Tawandra Rowell-Cunsolo, School of Social Work
Warren Scherer, Gender and Sexuality Campus Center
Kellen Sharp, recent UW graduate
Adrian Treves, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
CC Vang, School of Human Ecology
Amanda Venske, University Veteran Services
Kimberly Vue, Precollege Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence, Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement
Nola Walker, UW Campus Libraries
DeVon Wilson, Office of the Dean of College of Letters & Science
Cole Wozniak, undergraduate student, Political Science

Ex Officio Members

Rosie Bae, Office of Strategic Diversity Planning and Research, Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement
Markus Brauer, Department of Psychology
Doug Erickson, University Communications
Mary E. Fitzpatrick, Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity in Engineering
Sara Lazenby, Academic Planning and Institutional Research
Ruth Litovsky, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Brent Plisch, UW–Madison Police Department
James A. Yonker, Office of Strategic Diversity Planning and Research, Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement

Survey Details


Oct. 19, 2021 Survey opens
Nov. 8, 2021 Survey closes
Dec. 2021 UW Survey Center delivers raw survey data
Spring 2022 DDEEA reports high-level, preliminary results
May 2022 Campus Climate Survey Task Force begins reviewing results
Fall 2022 DDEEA publishes technical report
Fall 2022 Task Force publishes findings and recommendations
Fall 2022 Implementation Team begins carrying out recommendations


The Office of Strategic Diversity Planning and Research (OSDPR) administers the Student Campus Climate Survey in conjunction with the UW Survey Center. OSDPR staff will produce a technical report with the survey findings.

The Campus Climate Survey Task Force will review the technical report and develop a set of recommendations for ways to improve the campus climate. The Campus Climate Survey Implementation Team will then be responsible for carrying out those recommendations.


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