The Interfaith, Spiritual, Religious, and Secular Campus Climate Index, or INSPIRES Index, is an assessment tool that measures, evaluates, and represents an institution’s efforts towards, and commitment to, establishing a welcoming climate for students of different worldview identities.

Join the initial group of trailblazing institutions bringing the INSPIRES Campus Climate Index to life!

INSPIRES Index Goals

  • Create a tool to help students and families make informed college choices
  • Engage the public and higher education stakeholders in conversations about worldview diversity
  • Advance research on college students’ spiritual, religious, and secular identities and welcoming campus climates in higher education

Guidance for Completing the INSPIRES Index

We created a guide to help you complete the items in the index most efficiently and thoroughly.

Frequently Asked Questions

1How will the data collected for the INSPIRES Index be measured and scored?
Our research team is working out the mechanics of the scoring system, and that is part of the reason we need a research cohort! Getting good data from your institution and running the numbers with the entire cohort will allow us to do the statistical analysis to ensure the scoring is consistent and meaningful. As we finalize the process, we will be able to share more information.
2What if a participating institution has a low INSPIRES Index “score?”
We encourage everyone who completes the INSPIRES Index to allow their results to be explored by students. While some institutions have been doing this work for a while, the importance of students’ spiritual, religious, and secular worldview identities has become more of a conversation in just the last 20 years. That means that participation in any way is, on its own, fairly innovative and worth publicizing. Additionally, as this is a benchmarking effort, institutions that score lower than they would like probably have some “low-hanging fruit” in terms of policies, practices, and programs and are likely able to improve their ranking significantly in a short amount of time.
3Are INSPIRES Index results automatically made public?
Making the results public is an “opt-in” process for all institutions, which means that your results will not be posted until we have specific permission to do so. Primarily, we want to make sure that anything posted about your institution has been appropriately vetted however the institution sees fit. From our perspective, having participated by completing the INSPIRES Index and receiving a ranking is worth posting - though institutions may decline to publicize their results until after they’ve made identified improvements.
4Can my college or university update our answers after we’ve been included in the Index?
Yes! Our current suggestion is that institutions plan to complete the INSPIRES Index every year to reflect the ongoing work they are doing to improve the welcoming worldview climate on campus. Sometimes that might improve an overall score, or perhaps there is something that is very important for a specific group (e.g., dining accommodations, student group expansion) that will be important to represent. At this time, we are planning to do a call for updates, but in the future we hope to have updating the profiles be a dynamic process able to be initiated by the institutions.
5How will an institution’s data be used, beyond the INSPIRES website profile?
There are two potential tracks for institution's identifiable data: 1) The school participates in the public website, which puts the institution in charge of a portal of their data. 2) The school chooses not to participate in the public website. The research team will hold their data with institutional identifiers for 3 years in case they decide later they want to participate, so we can import their responses. If the institution does not move in 3 years, the deidentified data will be kept without identifiers. Either way, the research team will retain a copy of deidentified data in perpetuity for all schools that participate in the INSPIRES Index to be used for research and reporting in the aggregate.
6What should I know before I complete the index?
We've created a resource to help you plan who needs to be involved, how long completing the survey will take, and more. Learn more about completing the index here.

Contact the Inspires Campus Climate Index Team

We are currently recruiting our first cohort of institutions to participate in the INSPIRES Campus Climate Index. Please complete the form below to get on the list for updates, or to connect with our research team to learn more.

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News from the INSPIRES team

Interfaith America:"The INSPIRES Index: Helping Campuses Welcome Students Of Diverse Religious, Secular, And Spiritual Identities"

What might it mean for a campus to be welcoming for students holding diverse religious, secular, and spiritual identities (RSSIs)? The recent Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS) assessed welcome in terms of how receptive students feel the campus is for people of different RSSIs. The study found that while there are many promising signs that students perceive support for their RSSIs on campus, there is also considerable room for improving welcome, particularly for students whose RSSIs are a minority... READ MORE HERE

Ashley Staples, Ph.D, Postdoctoral Scholar, The Ohio State University


I think most higher education professionals want to offer environments that are welcoming to students of all belief systems, but knowing how to innovate policies, programs, and practices within the institution can sometimes be difficult if there are not clear assessment results and next steps that back up the need to change. My hope is that any institution that participates -- no matter how welcoming their climate is right now -- will engage in a great conversation about how to best support their students’ exploration and development of their spiritual, religious, and secular identities.

Neal McKinney, M.Ed, Doctoral Student, The Ohio State University


I am excited that this index not only will provide meaningful data to help students and families make informed choices that support their diverse religious, spiritual, and secular beliefs, but also that at its best, the index will encourage institutions to invest the necessary time and resources to create welcoming communities for all students.
The INSPIRES Campus Climate Index project is a collaboration between researchers at The Ohio State University and North Carolina State University, inspired by data gathered through the Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS).
The project is led by Matthew J. Mayhew, William Ray and Marie Adamson Flesher Professor of Educational Administration at The Ohio State University and Alyssa N. Rockenbach, Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development at North Carolina State University.