Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion survey to improve campus life

Students and employees can take the IDEA survey until April 29 and are entered to win a gift card after completion.


Madelaine Vikse

The deadline to take the IDEA survey is April 29. Students and faculty can find the survey by searching “Viewfinder Campus Climate Surveys” in their email.

DeKALB – On April 11, a survey was sent out to every student and employee at NIU by Viewfinder Campus Climate Surveys. Its purpose is to get an unfiltered, honest interpretation of NIU from the student body. 

The Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) survey asks students and employees about how they feel NIU treats them through several lenses including race, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status and veteran status. 

“The voices of students are paramount in everything we do because we are sincerely working on building a belonging community,” said Monique Bernoudy, the assistant vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

The findings of the survey will be shared through campus listening tours in the fall and will utilize the feedback of participants. The information will then be formed into an action plan by the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Bernoudy said. This plan will be the basis for what DADE will be doing to improve campus life and can be incorporated into other strategic plans across the university. 

“We have used the survey to inform our work in Social Justice Education, the Belonging Council, and work collaboratively with campus partners to co-sponsor programs, activities and educational opportunities,” Bernoudy said. 

This year, the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion would like at least 2,000 students to take the survey and over 300 have taken it so far, Bernoudy said. 

Through these questions, students can evaluate how they feel about life on campus. This includes their feelings of being able to express themselves, safety on campus and relationships with teachers and mentors. All answers and names are kept confidential. 

“For people who want to take the survey without scrolling through a week’s worth of emails, all they have to do is go to their NIU email address and search ‘Viewfinder Campus Climate Surveys,’” Bernoudy said. 

The IDEA survey was commissioned by the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and contracted by Viewfinder for distribution of the survey and reporting on the results. 

“The survey focuses on two things: what we do well, our strengths, and what we need to improve, our areas of growth,” Bernoudy said. 

This is the second time that an IDEA survey has been commissioned with the first one being made in 2019. However, only 14.7% of employees and 5.8% of students completed the survey, according to the results from 2019’s survey.

The low completion rate has been attributed to how long the survey was since 2,757 people started the survey but only 1,576 people completed it, Bernoudy said. Despite a smaller number of participants, the findings were still put into place and the structure of the 2022 survey was improved upon to be more concise.

Rewards for taking the survey include being put into a drawing for $20 Starbucks gift cards or a Huskie Bucks gift card. 20 gift cards will be randomly distributed to students who complete the survey. 

The survey will be available for students to take until April 29. 

“I want people to take it,” Bernoudy said. “Your voice matters.”