2021 Technical and Consent Information

All participants are encouraged to review the survey project technical and consent information below.

The 2021 myGVSU Climate Survey is administered for GVSU by The Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS).


Alternative & Accessible Formats

For more information please contact:

Shontaye Witcher, Director
Disability Support Resources
215 The Blue Connection (215 CON)
(616) 331-2490
[email protected]


We are administering this survey to students, faculty, staff, and administrators at Grand Valley State University to develop a better understanding of the extent to which our campus climate supports diversity and equity. The survey usually takes less than 15 minutes to complete.


Your participation is voluntary. We are grateful for your cooperation and willingness to provide information that will help us better understand Grand Valley State University’s climate. We are committed to ensuring that our campus has an inclusive, engaging, and supportive environment, and your participation in this survey will help us work toward this goal.

Summary of Procedures

We will ask you many questions about your identity in this survey to develop a better sense of the diversity on our campus. However, your responses are anonymous. The survey is being administered by an independent organization, the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS)They will exclude any personal information, such as your name, email address, student or employee identification number, and your IP address, from the data they send to our institution. We also agreed to follow the organization’s secure data handling practices.

You may stop taking the survey at any time or choose not to answer particular questions. You may also go back and change your responses. If you wish to stop taking the survey, simply leave the survey without hitting the “Submit” button at the end. We will not record your responses until you hit the “Submit” button.

The information you provide will be used to inform and improve support, policies, and practices at Grand Valley State University and will not be used to investigate specific individuals. Disclosing an incident here does not constitute reporting the incident to your campus and will not result in any action, disciplinary or otherwise. Please do not include your name or accuse anyone of discrimination or harassment by name in your survey responses. If you include your name or accuse anyone by name, these names will be removed before we receive the data.


All those who complete the survey will have the chance to enter a prize drawing for:

  • (4) $2,000 tuition grants for students*
  • (3) $1,000 research or professional development grants for faculty
  • (3) $1,000 professional development grants for staff

*If the combined faculty and staff response rates reaches 60% or more, two (2) additional $2,000 tuition grants will be awarded to students.

Winners will be notified and announced in December.

Designation as Non-Research

Given the intent for local application of findings for assessment and improvement efforts, this project has been determined not to be covered research as defined by the federal regulations through administrative review of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) [807614-1] at Grand Valley State University on September 15, 2015. This designation still applies to the 2021 myGVSU survey. While requesting non-research designation, the project has attempted to uphold many human subject research standards including: outlining a project protocol, uses for data and plans for reporting results, and recruitment and selection procedures, requiring informed consent, identifying physical and psychological risks, ensuring for confidentiality and anonymity, and implementing data security and protection procedures. For questions regarding this designation, you may contact the GVSU Office of Research Compliance and Integrity at [email protected] or (616) 331-3197. A copy of the determination letter can be obtained by email at [email protected].

Discomforts and Risks

There are no anticipated risks in participating in this assessment beyond those experienced in everyday life. Some of the questions are personal and might cause discomfort. In the event that any questions asked are disturbing, participants may stop responding to the survey at any time.

Contacts for those Experiencing Discomfort

Employees who experience discomfort are encouraged to contact:

  • Encompass, GVSU’s Employee Assistance Service, (800) 788-8630

Students who experience discomfort are encouraged to contact:


The results of the survey will provide important information about our climate and will help GVSU in our efforts to ensure that the environment is conducive to learning, living, and working. Previous survey results have been used to inform important university activities and initiatives.

Strengths and Limitations & Interpreting Results

Surveys provide a cost-effective way to collect a broad range of data (e.g., attitudes, opinions, values, beliefs, experiences) from demographic groups consistently across multiple locations. With a large sample, surveys have the potential to generalize and gain a representative picture of the attitudes and characteristics of a population. Surveys can also provide greater confidentiality than other data collection efforts, like focus groups. Standardized questions provide fixed responses which support tabulation and comparisons among groups, while open-ended questions provide an opportunity for respondents to describe experiences in their own words.

When interpreting survey results, it is important to understand that a survey's ability to generalize a population can also be a drawback, so researchers should use the response rate and sample size, along with other information, to determine if the results are representative for the studied population. Because participants had the choice of whether or not to respond to the survey, self-selection bias is possible insofar as an individual's decision to participate may be correlated with their traits or experiences, which also affect the study's findings. That is, people with strong opinions or negative experiences may have been more apt to participate in the study. This could make the sample non-representative.

Right to Ask Questions

The Grand Valley State University leaders of this survey effort are Dr. Jesse Bernal and Dr. Kathleen VanderVeen, and they can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected]

Reporting Results and Findings

Will be posted online on this site. 

Page last modified January 11, 2023