UCD Physics and Astronomy Departmental Climate

This page describes a survey conducted in 2020 to gauge the climate within the department. The survey took place in conjunction with many other diversity, equity, inclusion, and climate actions within the department over the last several years. Ultimately, this page will link to others, still under construction, that will outline other actions in the department as well as departmental and campuswide resources related to climate, diversity, equity, and inclusion. We, the climate survey committee, also envision that climate surveys building on this initial effort will take place in future years and will be housed here. For now, we provide some context and history for the inaugural UCD Physics & Astronomy climate survey and link both reports associated with the survey. 

We strongly encourage all members of the department, those in the greater UCD community, and anyone from the public who is interested to read these reports. Please send any thoughts, comments, or suggestions to the UCD Physics & Astronomy Climate Survey Committee at physicsclimatesurvey@physics.ucdavis.edu

Departmental Climate Survey 

In mid-2020, the department formed an ad hoc committee of faculty, graduate students, and an academic researcher to investigate the construction and implementation of a survey to gauge attitudes, behaviors, and standards in the department concerning individual and group needs, potential, and abilities (i.e., the departmental climate). Following discussions with the founding Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion at UC Berkeley, Dr. Gibor Basri, and the UCD Vice Chancellor of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dr. Renetta Tull, the committee constructed a survey informed by these discussions, discussions with various departmental and campus-wide organizations, the UC Berkeley Astronomy climate surveys, and a previous smaller internal departmental survey. 

The survey was administered confidentially by a team at the UCD Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis (BIA) over the course of three weeks.  All members of the department were invited to participate. Two reports were then written, based on the aggregated and anonymized results, one by the BIA team and one by the Physics & Astronomy climate committee. 

The BIA report provides an executive summary and reports all aggregated, anonymized data in tabular and graphical form. The committee report provides an additional executive summary, discusses both positive areas and areas of improvement identified from the data, and makes general and specific suggestions for potential avenues to improve departmental climate. The two reports can be found here: 

The BIA report on the climate survey results

The Physics & Astronomy committee report on the climate survey results 

The committee recognizes the immensity of this undertaking and would like to thank the following people for their help throughout this process: Dr. Renetta Tull, Dr. Gibor Basri, Department Chair Rena Zieve, those climate advisors at the UCB Department of Astronomy that were instrumental in creating their climate survey, the UCD Physics & Astronomy Undergraduate and Graduate Diversity in Physics groups, the Autism and Neurodiversity Community at UCD, the AIP TEAM-UP organization, Azalee Bostroem, Jenna Samuel, Professor Lori Lubin, and Professor Maruša Brada─Ź. We extend a special thank you to Dr. Cheryl Bach and Erika Jackson at the UCD Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis for their incredible partnership during this process, their thoughtful and dedicated approach, and for lending their immense experience to help guide the final survey and reports. Finally, we thank everyone for the UCD Physics & Astronomy department who engaged in the survey in any capacity; this work would not have been possible without your participation, courage, and candor!

- The UCD Physics & Astronomy Climate Survey Committee: Rose Baunach, Steve Carlip, Robin Erbacher, Pratik Gandhi, Brian Lemaux, Morgan Walker, David Wittman