Institutional Climate (3.0)

Credit Language

PA 6: Institutional Climate – version 3.0


  • 6.1. Support for students from underrepresented groups
  • 6.2. Support for employees from underrepresented groups
  • 6.3. Institutional climate assessment

Questions & Answers

How has this credit changed between STARS Version 2 and Version 3?

Indicators under this credit are now focused on the extent to which underrepresented groups are supported rather than the specific types of programs that are provided. A comprehensive list of differences can be found in the STARS 3.0 Summary of changes.

What types of marginalized racial, ethnic, and/or Indigenous groups qualify under this credit?

Under Indicator 6.1.B and 6.2.B, institutions can reference any social groups that have less power and access to resources than one or more dominant groups and are subject to racism, settler-colonialism, and other forms of oppression and discrimination related to their racialized status, ethnicity, indigeneity, nationality, religion, or language. Dependent on an institution’s context, these groups may include:

  • Indigenous and tribal peoples
  • Racialized people with non-dominant status, e.g., Black people, people of African descent, people of color, “visible minorities”
  • Roma, Sinti, and Travelers
  • Ethnic, national, religious, and linguistic minorities

What types of programs qualify as programs that address the needs of students/employees from additional underrepresented groups? 

The last criteria under Indicators 6.1 and 6.2 are reserved for additional underrepresented groups that are not separately listed. Examples may include survivors and veterans of conflict; international students/employees; women and other marginalized gender identities; and/or incarcerated or formerly incarcerated students/employees.

What qualifies as an institutional climate assessment (Indicator 6.3)?  

Institutional climate refers to the current attitudes, behaviors, and standards of students and employees concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities, and potential. Also known as a campus climate assessment, an institutional climate assessment measures the extent to which all students and employees, irrespective of their underrepresented status, feel welcomed, valued, and supported in their work, studies, and/or research. To qualify, institutions should reference assessments completed within the previous three years that have been finalized. 

Suggestions for Institutions

  • Work with your Diversity Office or similar to collect the information requested under this credit.

Potential Data Quality Issues

  • Indicator 6.1 and Indicator 6.2. Responses must be relevant to each student/employee group. Commitments, plans, protocols, statements, recruitment activities, and generalized programs (e.g., that are open to all students/employees) do not qualify in the absence of one or more targeted programs, initiatives, or networks. To qualify, the specific group for which points are being claimed must be mentioned in the description of a program, network, or initiative.
  • Indicator 6.3. A student and/or employee satisfaction or engagement survey does not qualify, unless diversity, equity and inclusion criteria have also been incorporated. If indicating that the institution publishes the results of its institutional climate assessments, the results (or a summary) must be shared via a public URL or upload.

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