Nelson Embraces the Work Ahead

Student body shares their experience through a campus climate survey.

Since an initial Campus Climate Survey in the fall of 2016 and a follow-up in 2021, the Nelson Institute has prioritized addressing the experience for its faculty, staff, and students.

Through shared governance, there are now policies seeking to diversify the faculty; the launching of an anti-precarity campaign to improve the lives of graduate students; a framework for undergraduate student input; and a standing committee, the Welcoming and Inclusive Nelson Committee, comprising faculty, staff, and students.

“We’re making progress but have a long way to go.”
— Dean Paul Robbins

The focus on this work has resulted in favorable findings from both Nelson graduate students and undergraduate students pursuing an environmental studies major when compared to their peers across campus. Nelson graduate students reported their comments/questions being respected in class by faculty or instructors; and being more comfortable approaching their faculty or instructors with questions/concerns. Undergraduate students indicated a feeling of belonging, connectedness to UW–Madison, and they shared the sentiment that their comments/questions were respected in class by faculty or instructors.

“As UW–Madison works to make its campus inclusive, welcoming, and respectful for all students, the Nelson Institute is rethinking undergraduate and graduate student education and attending to the needs of a complex student body,” said Paul Robbins, dean of the Nelson Institute. “We’re making progress but have a long way to go.”