CIRES Workplace Culture

CIRES completed a workplace culture survey in Spring 2018 with partners CU Institutional Research and CU Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance. Results were shared with CIRES employees via a series of debrief meetings.  

CIRES employees were invited to participate in one or more focus groups scheduled in January and February 2019 to dig deeper into the survey results and to provide feedback and ideas for next steps. Request a group or individual discussion of the results at .


See the resources tab for a summary overview of the results. The full culture survey results are also available.

Please email with any questions or concerns. Susan Sullivan is happy to speak with your group about the survey and the survey results. See the Links for more information about this survey.

Frequently Asked Questions

CIRES is committed to being an organization where all employees can thrive. In order to understand our existing culture, and to determine what steps should be taken next, we conducted this survey with partners CU Institutional Research and the CU Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance.

A series of focus groups were convened  in order to develop a more qualitative understanding of the results of the survey and to hear from employees about proposed next steps. An overall summary report is available on this page and on the resources page.  A full report is also available.   Employees will be invited to comment on an action plan.  Groups at CIRES are beginning to take first steps in response to this and other surveys.

Committee members came from across CIRES. Contact with questions or concerns.

Mark Serreze
Nate Campbell nathan.campbell@Colorado.EDU
Christine Wiedinmyer Christine.Wiedinmyer@Colorado.EDU
Jon Rush
Hazel Bain
Aroob Abdelhamid
Leslie Hartten
Gaby Petron
Hilary Peddicord
Sandy Starkweather
Alessandro Franchin

The committee is supported by Susan Sullivan, and by Julie Volckens and Cathy Kerry of the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance.

Because we have employees located in different large groups across the organization, there are three different versions.  You received a version based on your workplace.  

CU Institutional Research works with units across campus to deliver actionable data. They are responsible for safeguarding employee and student records across campus and follow best practice survey and data security standards. The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance is concerned with preventing and eliminating issues of discrimination and harassment at CU. All CIRES employees are CU employees regardless of work location, and are entitled to support by these offices. The survey was entirely administered and analyzed within these offices. Only aggregated, anonymous data was provided outside of those offices.

Employees must be confident that their responses are anonymous, confidential and secure iin order to receive candid feedback. CU IR and OIEC used many strategies to ensure anonymity. Your email address was used only to send the survey link and to send reminder emails. Upon completion, the link to your email address was automatically broken.

OIEC received data from IR with no link to individuals at CIRES. OIEC aggregated the data to groups of 12 or more responses in order to maintain non-identifiability. Data was not cross-referenced such that a combination of responses could compromise identifiability. If any group was less than 12 individuals that data was not reported. There were no open-ended questions in order to avoid getting identifiable details inadvertently. No one outside of the two CU IR employees responsible for deploying the survey and the two OIEC professionals responsible for data analysis ever saw anything other than aggregated and non-identifiable reports. Everyone involved is committed to ensuring that employees can provide candid feedback with confidence. Anything else is counter-productive to the effort.

The CU Institutional Research unit currently safeguards sensitive employment and academic data across campus and uses state of the art data security protocols. The survey platform, Qualtrics, meets VSAQ data standards. Data was encrypted in transit and at rest. See the audio file interview with Rob Stubbs and Julie Volckens for more information. Note: The audio file is not edited, it’s a record of a Q&A session.

Survey results will be used to identify where CIRES is doing well in terms of workplace culture and where improvements should be made. This will inform an action plan to be implemented by CIRES. Aggregated results may be used in presentations or publications about the CIRES D&I initiative.

The survey asked questions which have been asked in campus social climate surveys and in culture surveys for other scientific institutes. The questions asked about workplace environment and practices, social climate and experiences of hostile behaviors or harassment, and demographics. Demographics questions were asked because we know that members of different groups are having different experiences in workplaces through the university. Demographic questions have been developed in collaboration with experts on campus to be both sensitive and useful.

Please contact CIRES Director of Diversity and Inclusion Susan Sullivan at with any questions regarding this survey. You may also contact Julie Volckens from the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance at

Susan Sullivan is available to come to group meetings or other events to talk about this survey. Please contact her at or 303-492-5657 to arrange a visit.

Rob Stubbs (CU IR) and Julie Volckens (CU OIEC) answer questions about CIRES Culture Survey confidentiality and anonymity. This is a raw audio recording of a meeting, not edited.