Measuring and trying to improve campus climate can be difficult and sometimes frustrating. There are many different facets, but when the media reports school leaders in a negative light, the school’s image is affected within the school and the local community. Educational leaders can listen to what people are saying. Some people think there isn't a problem and others feel they are not valued and respected. Cultural proficiency becomes a priority in addressing the concerns of a diverse student population. This can prompt a review of school climate (Developing a Positive School Climate, 2009).
At a Minority Serving Institution in southeast Texas, the President’s Award for Excellent Teaching was implemented as a reward system to nurture teachers and their dedication to teaching and research (Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Compact with The Texas A&M University System, 2007). Each College nominated an individual, and one winner was selected from the nine nominees. All college level winners received some recognition and reward. The following seven services are offered to students to improve campus climate.
1. diagnostic testing and disability services
2. career and outreach services where personnel assists in career and life planning through programs and services to bridge the move from college to the career world
3. intramural and recreational sports
4. special programs & cultural series which presents a program calendar of events every semester and an overview of guest performances, art exhibitions, historical celebrations, and special events
5. student activities and leadership with relevant social, cultural, intellectual, recreational, community service, leadership development
6. campus governance
7. an all faiths chapel where students are empowered through faith, education and service.
Colleges and universities have the task of providing students with high quality, effective educational experiences, which prepare the students to live and work in a highly diverse society (Seyfarth, 2008). Organizational, occupational and social cultures shape people’s values and affect their communications (Lindsay, Robins, & Terrell, 2003). It appears the overlay of school climate, school or student cultures, and professional cultures provide a unique mix that will affect each of the groups at the school in a different way. According to a 2004 Best Practice Briefs publication by the Michigan State University, campus or school culture can be defined as “shared ideas, assumptions, values, and beliefs that give an organization its identity and standard for expected behaviors” (Tableman & Herron, p. 1). Campus culture is different from campus climate in that campus culture is based on past experience which provides a template for future action on “how we do things in this organization” (p. 1). The Campus Climate Network Group (2002) reported that campus or school climate can be defined..." as the atmosphere or ambience of an...