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Diverse Learning Environments (DLE) Survey

Registration for the 2016-2016 DLE survey is coming soon!
Administer anytime between October 1, 2016 through Apri, 29, 2016

As postsecondary institutions enter an era of "evidenced-based" practice and take greater responsibility for monitoring student outcomes, they must also assess the impact of the diverse environments that help shape student learning. Assessment of what students do must be coupled with identifying areas for improvement of student learning and development. Integrating assessments of student learning outcomes related to the climate for diversity and campus practices—and responding proactively to assessment results —may be the best strategy to ensure that we support all students, especially traditionally underrepresented students, and advance their capacities for success.

The DLE survey is based on research that states optimizing diversity in the learning environment can facilitate achievement of key outcomes, including improving students’ habits of mind for lifelong learning, competencies and skills for living in a diverse society, and student retention and success.

The design and pilot phase of the DLE was generously supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation.

Sylvia Hurtado
Professor and Affiliated Scholar
Former Director, Higher Education Research Institute

About the DLE

The Diverse Learning Environments Survey (DLE) captures student perceptions regarding the institutional climate, campus practices as experienced with faculty, staff, and peers, and student learning outcomes. Diverse student populations are at the center of the survey, and the instrument is based on studies of diverse student bodies and the complexity of issues that range from student mobility to intergroup relations. Selected specific components include:


  • Discrimination and Harassment
  • Positive Cross-racial Interaction
  • Negative Cross-racial Interaction
  • Institutional Commitment to Diversity
  • Academic Validation in the Classroom
  • Satisfaction with Diverse Perspectives
  • Student Financial Difficulty
  • Interpersonal Validation
  • Sense of Belonging


  • Curriculum of Inclusion
  • Co-Curricular Diversity Activities
  • Navigational Action
  • Student Support Services


  • Integration of Learning
  • Habits of Mind
  • Pluralistic Orientation
  • Social Action
  • Civic Engagement
  • Student Enrollment Mobility

Using the DLE Survey:

Results from the DLE are particularly useful in understanding student learning outcomes related to the campus climate for diversity. Pairing those outcomes with campus practices allows for a deeper understanding of the strategies that support all students and improve their ability to succeed. Because of the DLE's focus on outcomes, many institutions will find results valuable in strategic planning and accreditation activities. The information is also valuable to students and researchers interested in learning more about the conditions that foster access, equity, and success within higher education.

Schools participating in the DLE survey receive an institutional profile report, which includes institutional results broken out by sex, comparisons with other similar institutions, significance testing, effect sizes, and CIRP Constructs and Themes, and a data file of unit record responses for the institution.

  • Sample Profile Report Page
  • Sample Factor Report Page
  • Sample Theme Report Page

Administering the DLE Administered anytime between October 1, 2016 and April, 2016

The DLE is a web-based survey administered annually to students at both 2- and 4-year institutions who have had the opportunity to experience the campus climate (i.e., after 24 credit hours in community and 2-year colleges or second- and third-year students at 4-year institutions). Institutions are encouraged to maximize their survey administration by adding any of the 5 modules to their core survey participation.

The Web Survey can be administered either with your campus managing the email notification process, or for ease of use, you can elect to have HERI manage the email notifications to students. Our web portal allows you to select email notification and reminder dates, customize "welcome" and "thank you" pages, customize email notifications, and upload your additional questions. Throughout the administration, you can monitor your response rate and adjust email reminder text as needed. Your survey data updates in real time, so you can download your preliminary data file at any point to analyze early responses.

Web Survey Features

  • HERI can send customizable email notifications (including reminders) to your students
  • Your "Welcome" and "Thank you" screens can be customized
  • You can include your own additional questions, including 20 closed-ended questions and five open-ended questions
  • You can add up to five different modules to the core survey

The Survey Instrument and Modules

  • 2016 DLE Core Survey Instrument - All institutions participating in the DLE administer this "core" section of questions.
  • 2016 DLE Survey Changes
  • 2016 DLE Classroom Climate Module - This optional module asks respondents about their perception of the classroom environment and the various types of pedagogical practices employed by instructors
  • 2016 DLE Transition to the Major Module - This optional module asks respondents about their experiences in selecting a major. It is appropriate for students who have not yet declared a major as well as those who have declared a major. Because many institutions report student attrition at this point in college, this information may be useful to help campuses investigate difficulty at this important transition stage
  • 2016 DLE Intergroup Relations Module - This optional module asks respondents about their capacity to engage respectfully across group differences.
  • 2016 DLE Spirituality Module - This optional module asks respondents about their capacity to engage respectfully across group differences.
  • 2016 DLE Climate for Transfer at 2-Year Institutions Module - This optional module asks respondents about practices at 2-year institutions regarding the transfer pathway and climate of support. It is designed for 2-year institutions and community colleges only.
  • 2016 DLE Climate for Transfer Students at 4-Year Institutions Module - This optional module asks respondents about their transitional experiences understanding the campus climate at 4-year institutions. It is designed to be administered at 4-year institutions, and it contains questions relevant to all respondents as well questions specifically for those who transferred to the institution.

Important Forms and Documentation

Fees / Withdrawal Policy



Participation Fee


Processing Fee


$3.25 per survey processed



Optional Modules



Customized Welcome and Thank You pages



Additional questions (20 closed-ended questions and/or 5 open-ended)



HERI managed email distribution to students



Billing Policy

Upon registration, institutions are sent one bill for the participation fee. After each institution completes their survey administration and returns the data for processing, the per-survey processing fees are calculated and a second bill is sent to each institution for their respective processing charges. Institutions are also billed separately for any Data Service Orders they may place, and these bills are sent out after the completion and fulfillment of each Data Service Order.

Withdrawal Policy

Institutions may cancel without penalty up to the time that the unique survey links have been sent to your institution, or distributed per the institution's direction. If the survey links have already been sent to your institution or distributed via HERI's email distribution service to the intended survey participants, institutions will be charged a withdrawal fee of $100. In addition, if HERI has provided any customized services at your request (e.g., additional questions, etc.), you will also be responsible for the full cost of these services.