McCourt Cultural Climate Survey
Survey Development, Methodology and Response Rate
Developed in the spring of 2022 by the McCourt Inclusive Environments Committee in partnership with the McCourt Student Association (MSA), the Cultural Climate Survey gave students the opportunity to reflect on a range of issues related to their experience at McCourt, including their sense of belonging, experiences inside and outside the classroom, experiences involving bias, and University resources and responsiveness.
All students enrolled in degree programs at the McCourt School during spring 2022 were invited to participate in the survey, which was conducted between April 27, 2022, and May 15, 2022.
Among all eligible participants, 34% completed the survey. Comparing McCourt program and demographics (age, gender, race, ethnicity and nationality), respondents were generally representative, though full time MPP and MIDP students were somewhat more likely to participate.
Interpretation of the Results
Designing and fielding this survey was a big effort, and we are grateful to all those who contributed, as well as to the many students who responded in a relatively short window at the end of the semester.
As our students know from their methods classes, the response rate limits our confidence that the results reflect the experience and perspectives of the full McCourt student population. Moreover, the limited sample size does not allow us to break down responses by many sub-groups (e.g., specific programs, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.).
Key Insights and Areas of Concern from Respondents
The results provide insights into the thinking of the respondents, reveal some patterns, and will contribute to our overall work to build a more inclusive community here at McCourt.
We found many of the results encouraging:
- Over 80% of respondents indicated that educators at McCourt care about students and are committed to their success.
- 70% of respondents indicated that they agree that people at McCourt are willing to take time to understand their experiences.
- 73% of respondents indicated that the McCourt community works together to achieve common goals.
- Most respondents agreed that McCourt is proactive at offering programs that increase DEI and that McCourt invests enough resources into DEI.
- There was broad agreement that most instructors create environments where students feel welcome, comfortable, and able to have difficult conversations.
- Respondents indicated that their classroom experience and interactions with McCourt students exposed them to a variety of different viewpoints on important issues.
On the other hand, there were areas of concern:
- 53% of responses indicated that they felt isolated when they first came to McCourt. And, only 51% of respondents stated that they feel a strong connection to the community at McCourt.
- While only 15% of respondents disagreed that they feel like they belong at McCourt, 50% of respondents indicated that they “sometimes” feel they do not belong at Georgetown while another 16% “often” feel that way.
- 18-30% of respondents stated that they either experienced prejudice or discrimination based on their identity.
- 36% of respondents indicated that their instructors stereotyped an identity group in class.
You can find all of the questions and responses, the technical information, and survey methodology in our full report.
McCourt School Responses and Recommendations
The concerns raised highlight the importance of our ongoing effort to strengthen the sense of belonging for all in our community. This is a shared effort across the McCourt School:
- MSA and the Inclusive Environments Committee have already taken action to improve access to Georgetown bias-related resources, and build out new McCourt-specific resources. These new resources will be shared with the McCourt Community at the State of McCourt on Tuesday, January 24.
- In an effort to gain a better understanding of the experiences among specific populations of students at McCourt, MSA and the Inclusive Environments Committee will host focus groups this spring, beginning with Black, international, conservative, and LGBTQIA students.
- MSA will continue to expand JEDI Roundtable programming for students, and develop strategies and resources in support of international students at McCourt.
- In continuation of our effort to develop a better understanding of inclusivity and related issues, we will soon announce our spring McCourt Community Lecture speaker, whose lecture will address diversity and inclusion practices in the workforce. And for our returning students, we look forward to announcing our fall lecturer, who will address the pressing topic of Asian hate.
Spring 2023 McCourt Cultural Climate Survey
In light of the success of our inaugural survey — and of the central commitment to strengthen a more inclusive culture — the McCourt School and MSA will conduct this survey annually, and expand the effort to include surveys of faculty and staff.
Building a More Inclusive McCourt
We know that building an inclusive and welcoming community, and meeting our aspiration to become the most inclusive public policy school in the nation, requires the focused effort of our entire community, over the long term. The Cultural Climate Survey is a great catalyst for this important work.
We thank the McCourt Student Association and the Inclusive Environments Committee, in particular, Professor Wesley Joe and Director of Student Engagement Jaclyn Clevenger, for their diligent work on this survey and commitment to building and sustaining a culture of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion at McCourt.