Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing Climate Assessment

 we will undertake a vital and relevant climate assessment. This is our chance to make a difference in our future, our opportunity to make positive, lasting changes and to help create a more inclusive school of nursing. To ensure full transparency and to provide a more complete perspective, we have contracted with Rankin & Associates Consulting, LLC to help lead this effort. Rankin & Associates Consulting, LLC has conducted over 200 campus climate assessment projects over the last 20 years.

A team from Rankin & Associates Consulting, LLC will be working with a committee of students, staff, and faculty to develop and implement the assessment. The results will better enable us to enhance and replicate programs and policies in areas that are shown to be successfully meeting the needs of the school of nursing community and develop new programs and policies that will increase inclusivity in areas that are shown to be problematic.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Climate?

Rankin & Associates Consulting, LLC, which is serving as the outside consultant for this climate project, defines climate as, “the current attitudes, behaviors, standards, and practices of employees and students of an institution.” The climate is often shaped through personal experiences, perceptions, and institutional efforts.

Why is a positive climate important?

Through many years of research, Rankin and associates have shown that positive personal experiences with campus climate and positive perceptions of campus climate generally equate to successful outcomes. Examples of successful outcomes include positive educational experiences and healthy identity development for students, productivity, and sense of value for faculty and staff, and overall well-being for all.

Who will be conducting the Project?

Rankin & Associates Consulting, LLC will conduct the climate project. They are working with the Climate Study Working Group (CSWG) from the school of nursing. Dr. Susan Rankin (Rankin & Associates Consulting, LLC) is the consultant overseeing this project. Dr. Rankin is an emeritus faculty member of Education Policy Studies and College Student Affairs at The Pennsylvania State University and a senior research associate in the Center for the Study of Higher Education. She has extensive experience in institutional climate assessment and institutional climate transformation based on data-driven action and strategic planning. Dr. Rankin has conducted multi-location institutional climate studies at more than 200 institutions across the country. She developed and utilizes the Transformational Tapestry model as a research design for climate studies. The model is a “comprehensive, five-phase strategic model of assessment, planning, and intervention. The model is designed to assist campus communities in conducting inclusive assessments of their institutional climate to better understand the challenges facing their respective communities” (Rankin & Reason, 2008).

Why was an outside consultant selected for the project?

In reviewing efforts by other universities to conduct comprehensive climate studies, several best practices were identified. One was the need for external expertise in this type of project administration. A project of this type, relating to a very sensitive subject like school of nursing climate is likely to yield better results and provide more credible findings if led by an independent, outside agency. Members of the school of nursing community may feel particularly inhibited to respond honestly to a project administered by their own institution for fear of retaliation.

What is the timeline?

This climate assessment will include four phases:

  1. Planning and focus group development work (currently underway)
  2. Focus groups at the Lakeshore and Health Sciences campuses on
    March 28, 2022
  3. Data analysis during Summer 2022
  4. Presentation of findings in August 2022


Your questions, comments, and overall input are very important as we move through this process. Please share by contacting:

Dian Squire, PhD
Associate Dean of Inclusive Excellence