Campus Climate

Students walking in hallway

Campus Climate refers to the experience of individuals and groups on a campus and the quality and extent of the interaction between those various groups and individuals. Educational researchers, Hurtado et al. (2008), describe campus climate as a part of the institutional context that includes community members' attitudes, perceptions, behaviors, and expectations around issues of race, ethnicity, gender identity, and other dimensions of diversity.

Minnesota State Resources

Resource from the American Indian College Fund: Creating Visibility and Healthy Learning Environments for Native Americans in Higher Education

Campus Climate Contact Information

If you have any questions, contact Tarnjeet Kang, PhD, Director of Equity Assessment at or Paul Shepherd. PhD, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at

Stay Informed

Below you will find information and resources relevant to campus climate including surveys, reports, and articles. 


The Minnesota State campus climate assessment framework aims to have all colleges, universities, and the system office undertake an assessment of campus climate for both students and employees over the next three fiscal years starting in FY2023. The overarching goal is to improve the support, policies, practices, and impact of efforts to promote equity and inclusion, improve workplace climate and meet the needs of our students and employees across the system.

This framework is intended to promote regular, open, and constructive communication on employee and student perceptions of campus climate, to include perceptions of how the college and university supports diversity and equity.

Campus Climate Assessment Options

The assessment survey tools used need to assess climate related experiences and go beyond a general assessment of employee and student engagement or satisfaction. The tools need to be customizable, provide digestible and disaggregated reports and analysis, and inform campus and system priorities to include Equity 2030 goals and the Equity Scorecard.

As schools plan to complete campus climate assessments, currently schools can select among the following vendor’s tools to assess campus climate experiences:

• GCW - Great Colleges to Work (employee facing survey)
• PACE - Personal Assessment of College Environment (employee facing survey)
• HEDS - Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (employees and/or students facing survey)

The GCW and PACE instruments have been customized to provide insight into climate experiences for employees, in addition to the instrument’s existing employee related facets. The HEDS climate survey assesses both student and employee stakeholder group campus climate related experiences and have also been customized to meet Minnesota State’s needs. Institutions have the flexibility of using the HEDS instrument to assess employee climate experiences and sentiments. HEDS currently is the only option being made available for assessing student climate experiences and sentiments. Other vendor tools potentially could be considered if they are able to meet the needs and requirements of our system’s campus climate assessment efforts.

Climate Assessment Schedule

Under the campus climate assessment framework, all colleges and universities are expected to administer both student and employee climate assessments at least once over the next three fiscal years and reassess climate at least once every three years following their initial assessment.

The Office of Equity and Inclusion will build out the schedule and begin slating institutions for year FY23, FY24 or FY25. The goal is to establish a schedule with reasonable distribution of institutions completing an assessment each year over a three-year assessment period.