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Task Force Report

Campus Climate Survey Task Force Recommendation Report - October 2015


Appointed in December 2014 by President Haynes, the Campus Climate Survey Task Force was established to serve as an advisory body to the Executive Council and was asked to review the Great Colleges to Work For survey results and make recommendations to improve climate at CSUSM. Specifically the task force was charged to do the following:

  • Review the survey data through the lens of our Culture of Leadership and after seeking input and suggestions from the campus community, develop 3-5 recommendations for improving climate at the institutional level, prior to the next survey administration period.
  • Facilitate town hall meetings and/or forums to share the institutional-level results and obtain feedback from the campus community.
  • Develop a mechanism (e.g. web form) for gathering input and vetting the recommendations of the task force.
  • Recommend branding to make the survey uniquely CSUSM and ensure it is recognized as the campus climate survey.

The task force has completed its charge and shared the following recommendations and report with the Executive Council.


From the beginning of January 2015 through October the task force met 14 times to review and discuss the Great College to Work For findings, draft recommendations and review input and feedback from the campus community on the recommendations.
The task force spent the first several months carefully crafting a set of 12 recommendations to address areas for improvement identified in the survey findings. The task force chose to focus on the bottom 10 statements – those statements which received the lowest scores in the survey. Recommendations were categorized into four areas:

  • Communication & Respect (subsequently titled Civility & Respect)
  • Compensation & Benefits
  • Appreciation
  • Talent Development & Management

In addition, the task force spent time developing the website, Great College to Work For launched on April 28, 2015. The website serves as an integral communication resource through which the survey findings, as well as division action plans, are shared with the campus community. The website also served as the vehicle for gathering feedback on the draft recommendations created by the task force. The task force promoted the website via campus announcements and emails to faculty and staff. From the time of the website launch through the first week in October there were over 3,700 page views.

Finally, the task force developed a presentation to provide an overview of the survey findings, share the charge of the task force, and present draft recommendations for feedback.


Through the website, a total of 512 faculty, staff and administrators completed the recommendation feedback form and provided more than 300 comments. An analysis of the responses as well as a breakdown of responder demographics may be viewed.

On October 6, the task force hosted a campus meeting to share the survey findings as well as draft recommendations. The meeting was attended by approximately a dozen staff and administrators. The presentation was recorded and the link was made available to the campus community. A total of 91 individuals accessed the link for viewing.

The task force used the results of the feedback survey as well as the comments to help prioritize, refine and finalize the recommendations.


Compensation & Benefits

Concerns over compensation were clearly evidenced in the feedback survey, further supporting the 2014 survey findings presented by ModernThink: “Resource constraints particularly those regarding staffing and compensation are pain points for many faculty and staff.” The task force’s draft recommendations related to this category received “important” or “very important” responses by nearly 90 percent of responders. Based on the findings, feedback, and comments, the task force presents the following recommendations for consideration:

1. Develop a Total Compensation Philosophy for the university that includes considerations for appropriate market medians, internal and external equity, workload, performance and merit based adjustments, and our geographical location. Conduct an equity assessment for all employees using both internal and external benchmarks (along with other Total Compensation Philosophy provisions), and ensure fiscal resources are allocated in order to remedy inequities.

2. Develop a total compensation tool for all employees, reflecting industry benchmarks, which considers salary, benefits and retirement.

Talent Development & Management

Respondents shared a desire for additional training, professional development, and career opportunities in both the initial survey findings and the feedback comments. Many indicated a need for a defined career pathway to assist in their career goals. A noted concern was the lack of training for newly appointed leaders and a disturbing number of comments reflecting poor management practices not reflective of CSUSM’s Culture of Leadership. Feedback comments also expressed a need for better communication, particularly from leadership, relating to transparency and inclusion into the decision-making process. Based on survey findings, feedback and comments, the task force presents the following recommendations for consideration:

3. Develop leadership training courses/tracts based on CSUSM’s Culture of Leadership principles and values for all personnel directing the work of others. Training needs to emphasize communication strategies that promote transparency and employee inclusion in the decision-making process. Training should also include, as appropriate, a recognition and rewards section covering compensation, in-range salary progression, reclassification, and bonuses, in order to support the employees they supervise. Training will be completed by all existing and newly appointed personnel in leadership roles within a specified timeframe.

4. Provide a comprehensive university-wide plan for talent development committed to career advancement and leadership enhancement.

Civility & Respect

The Task Force has specifically addressed communication as an area for management training in the recommendation above. From the responder comments the Task Force identified a lack of civility, such as “bullying,” perceived “bullying,” micro-aggressions, aggressiveness and disrespect by both peers and managers as an area of concern. While CSUSM has various services to assist in addressing such concerns, the feedback suggests that these are insufficient and that the campus community is not universally aware of them. Based on survey findings, feedback and comments, the task force presents the following recommendations for consideration:

5. To promote and improve civility on campus, develop processes aimed at addressing issues of professional misconduct not addressed by legal or contractual avenues. Highlight and strengthen existing resources to the campus community.


The draft recommendations relating to the Appreciation category did not receive the level of ratings from respondents to lead the Task Force to include them in the final recommendations. Many respondents commented that addressing compensation concerns would be the most impactful way to ensure employees feel valued and appreciated.

Final Thoughts & Recommendation

The Task Force would like to thank President Haynes and Executive Council for this opportunity. The Great College to Work For survey served as an excellent tool to promulgate continuous improvement of our campus climate. The Task Force would like to suggest that the next survey be taken in spring of 2017 after the action plans of each of the divisions have been implemented as well as the Task Force recommendations that Executive Council elects to implement.

The Task Force also believes ongoing communication and reporting related to implementation of the recommendations is imperative to ensure the campus community understands the importance placed on the Great College to Work For survey and how findings are being used to improve the campus climate. The Task Force has drafted a communications plan which proposes regular reporting as well as specific strategies to help raise awareness and understanding in anticipation of the next survey in 2017.