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Understanding campus climate through open-ended surveys

Kai Analytics partnered with a liberal arts college to analyze the open-ended responses from their campus climate survey to understand diversity issues on their campus.


A private liberal arts university was concerned about its campus climate and wanted to better understand how its students, staff, and faculty were feeling about diversity, equity, bias, and discrimination on campus. Kai Analytics was tasked with analyzing 1,800 open-ended survey responses to identify major themes and areas of concern for students, staff, and faculty.

Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Our next three-year plan will focus on promoting open discussion and protecting privacy.

Associate Provost for Institutional Research and Planning

Established the next campus climate strategy.

What we did

  • Used machine learning algorithms to categorize 1,800 responses into themes like racial issues, promoting open discussions, gender equality, religious freedom, stress and anxiety, and accessibility.

  • We identified which demographics were concerned with which issues the most and how exactly those issues impacted them.

  • Provided the university with actionable insights that allowed it to prioritize which issues to focus on in their next three-year campus climate strategy.

Secured campus-wide buy-in on new initiatives.

Learn how we can help create a more inclusive community.

3 Big Highlights

Students expressed more concern about racial issues than staff and faculty

Students were almost twice as concerned about racial issues than faculty and staff. This large discrepancy between the views of students versus staff and faculty indicated to the university that students could be facing some unique challenges on campus.

Faculty members were more concerned with gender equality than any other demographic

A quarter of faculty members were concerned with gender issues at the university. They cited perceived imbalances in the workplace and lack of awareness about the spectrum of gender identities.

There is an underlying sense of discomfort on campus to express one’s opinion

Students, faculty, and staff all worry about the retaliation they may face for holding an opposing opinion, or worse, saying the wrong thing.

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