- University of California, Los Angeles is rolling out a bi-weekly campus climate survey through a new smartphone application that officials hope will give them a better, more timely picture of student mood, according to Inside Higher Education.
- The BruinXperience survey will gather data to measure how identity influences students' feelings of community over the course of a year, and how those feelings change in conjunction with local, national and global events, according to Inside Higher Ed.
- The university’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion developed the app, an official said, because campus climate surveys are done infrequently and the data is just one point in time. This process will create a database of incidents and experiences over time, while immediately assessing them.
Funding for the UCLA climate survey app came from a grant through the Lumina Foundation, which set up a fund to support projects that improve race relations on campuses. The $625,000 fund was developed after protests on the University of Virginia campus resulted in violence and one death because Lumina wanted to do more than “simply issue another statement," according to a foundation official.
UVA is among the 19 grant recipients out of more than 312 two- and four-year colleges and public and private institutions that applied. Projects supported include a Bard College effort to use art to tell stories that have “historically been silenced," and Temple University’s plan to host "interactive community conversations that help participants reflect on their roles in a racist culture." In addition, the University of New Mexico will develop strategies related to race concerns that can be integrated into the curriculum.
In connection with cultural sensitivity on campus, the University of Maryland recently released preliminary results of its climate survey that showed people of color, women and gender non-binary students were concerned about their safety and felt less attached to the university than white students. The survey was implemented after an uptick in hate incidents on the main campus.
The use of cellphone technology for the UCLA survey is supported by studies that have recommended colleges make various material easily accessible through smartphones or tablets, including course information, because they are often students' primary communication tool. And often a smartphone is the only digital devise available to low-income students.
Meanwhile, Apple also announced plans to provide an app to institutions that will allow learners to use their phones the way they use their ID cards to access facilities and services, and the Department of Education has released plans to make the FAFSA form available through an application.