Be Heard: Georgetown Launches its First Cultural Climate Survey

Georgetown University in Qatar launched its first-ever cultural climate survey late last month to assess students’ perceptions of diversity and inclusion on campus.

The Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) climate survey, modeled after the first survey of this type launched in the DC campus in Spring 2020 and modified for the Qatar campus by the GU-Q Title IX Working Group, is open to all students at the campus and is being extended to March 6th. The survey will ask students questions about students’ sense of belonging at Georgetown, support for cultural communities on campus, as well as “diversity and identity across various dimensions,” according to a schoolwide email announcement on January 25, 2021, from Dean Ahmad Dallal.

Earlier last month, students were invited to a survey information session with the Title IX Working Group, Dean Dallal, and Rosemary Kilkenny (L’87), Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer. Students are also prompted by a weekly email reminder to take the survey via a personalized link.

The survey will remain open through March 6th, 2021 and requires only 20 minutes of attention from each student. As a token of appreciation for participating, students will be entered in a lottery for a chance to win one of three QAR 200 vouchers to the GU-Q Bookstore and an iPad

Only the student from the class with the highest participation rate will have a chance to win the iPad. According to the Office of Assessment and Decision Support, the current participation percentages at GU-Q as of February 20, 2021 are: 34% seniors, 33% juniors, 29% sophomores, 31% first-years. The Hilltop campus managed to achieve an overall participation rate of 35%. We can do better, Dunetop Hoyas! 

Nicole Heinz, Associate Director of Human Resources and Deputy Title IX Coordinator for the Qatar campus, expressed her enthusiasm about the launch of the survey: “I am thrilled that the cultural climate survey is now live, and I am grateful to the Title IX Working Group and all of my colleagues who helped get us to this point.” According to a memo from Ms. Heinz obtained by the Gazette, the CECE framework that Georgetown’s climate survey is based on has been developed using data from six different qualitative studies and twenty years of higher education research on racially diverse college populations. It has been shown to help create “more positive, engaging, empowering, validating, and satisfactory student experiences,” including among low-income students, international students, and minority groups. “This is an important step for our campus to better understand the experiences of our students, and we truly want to hear as many perspectives as possible so that we can identify what’s working well and where we need extra attention,” said Ms. Heinz.

Indeed, the responses to the questions will enable GU-Q leadership to gain a better understanding “on issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and sexual misconduct,” according to Dean Ahmad Dallal. This would translate to “meaningful programs and community systems” optimized by the administrators “to ensure an inclusive educational experience for all members of our community.”

Participation in the survey is completely voluntary, and the administrators stress that the “responses are fully confidential” and will “not be used to identify individuals in any manner.” The GU-Q Climate Survey website also confirms that “all identifying information will be removed when the survey is closed.” It also published a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section, which can be accessed here

An official Instagram account for the Title IX Working Group at @inclusiveguq has been created recently to promote the survey and facilitate future interaction of the group with the student body, including “raising awareness of Title IX rights” and “contributing to an inclusive and safe campus environment,” according to Anam Fatima (SFS’24), a member of the Title IX Working Group.