Report of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey

View Detailed Survey Findings and Comparison to Peer Institutions

View Qualitative Findings Report and Presentation

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About the Survey

During the fall of 2021, the Office for Institutional Equity and Inclusive Culture and the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment and Accreditation administered the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) survey created by the Higher Education Data Service Consortium (HEDS). The HEDS survey has 39 questions that include five open-ended questions. The objective of administering the DEI survey was to understand the extent to which Drexel’s campus climate supports diversity and equity, and to inform and improve support, policies and practices at their institution related to diversity and equity. The survey was administered to all Drexel faculty, staff and students electronically between October 11 – November 12, 2021, and a total of 1,810 completed the survey. The survey usually takes less than 15 minutes to complete, and participants’ responses are anonymous.

Response Rate (6% Overall)

Undergraduate Student
Graduate Student

Objective of the Survey

The call for a climate survey emerged from the recommendations of the Anti-Racism Task Force convened in June 2020. The objective of this inaugural survey was to establish a baseline for how different groups of people experience a sense of belonging at Drexel. This baseline and subsequent surveys, administered every other year, would serve as a key performance indicator and measure for the culture of equity imperative and the success monitoring of University’s commitments towards anti-racism.

Using information gathered from the survey to inform the University’s ongoing efforts towards building a culture of equity should improve the climate and bolster the response rate in coming years.

Key Findings

The survey uses a 5-point Likert scale questionnaire; however, for the analysis of the responses, the scale has been modified. There are several indicators that are used in the survey to assess the perception and experiences of faculty, students and staff relating to DEI at Drexel University. For the executive summary, we present a few key variables. A detailed description of the HEDS comparison report can be found on the Office for Institutional Equity and Inclusive Culture’s (EIC) SharePoint site (sign in with your Drexel credentials to view).

Campus Climate

HEDS has created aggregate variables to measure the extent of satisfaction for the campus climate at Drexel University. The indicators for the climate indicators are overall satisfaction, belonging, community and diversity.

  • Responses suggest that only 21% staff/administrators and around 30% faculty are satisfied with campus climate.
  • Results also indicate that more than 50% of the student responses are either neutral or dissatisfied regarding campus climate.

Institutional Support

HEDS uses Institutional Support as another aggregate variable to measure the level of support the institution provides on the following dimensions: environment, recruitment, retention and commitment.

  • The results show that overall faculty and staff/administrators are not satisfied with the institution's support.
  • More than 60% of students are either neutral or dissatisfied with it.

Sense of Belonging

Sense of belonging is one of most critical social and psychological need of students.

  • Responses suggest that 55% of undergraduate and 64% of graduate students feel a sense of belonging at Drexel University. Faculty and staff responses also indicated similar trends.

Key Qualitative Findings

The survey instrument included five open-ended items to which participants provided a total of 3,245 distinct responses. Through multiple iterations of coding and member checking, the research team found the following overarching themes as aligned with each open-ended survey item (see Figure 5 below). Regarding campus climate, respondents shared a wide variety of their sense of community at Drexel ranging from a positive to a mixed to a negative sense of community. While these perceptions can often be intangible, Drexel community members called for some clear, quantifiable changes to enhance community, including a more diverse leadership, faculty and student body; more opportunities for authentic engagement; and more equitable resource distribution. Overall, Drexel community members emphasized a need for a more cohesive campus community climate which supports a diverse population.

List of Overarching Themes per Open-ended Survey Item
Sense of Community Positive; Mixed; and Negative Sense of Community
Change to Enhance Community Calls for Action on DEI Commitments; Calls for Authentic Engagement; Calls for Inaction
Unsure of Discrimination or Harassment Hard to Be Certain; Unsure of Categorization of Microaggressions; Used to It; Confirmed Experience
Did Not Report Discrimination or Harassment Expect an Adverse Response; Believe Reporting Is Unnecessary or Unclear


The DEI survey executive summary report provides baseline data on diversity and inclusion, and addresses Drexel University's mission and goals. While the findings may guide decision making regarding policies and practices at Drexel University, it is important to note that the cultural fabric of any institution and unique aspects of each campus’s environment must be taken into consideration when deliberating additional action items based on these findings. The DEI survey findings provide the Drexel University community with an opportunity to build upon its strengths and to develop a deeper awareness of the challenges ahead. Drexel University, with support from senior administrators and collaborative leadership, is in a prime position to actualize its commitment to promote an inclusive campus and to institute organizational structures that respond to the needs of its dynamic campus community.