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Diverse Learning Environments (DLE) Survey

About the DLE Survey DLE Preview 4-Year Version

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.

Learn more about the history and development of the DLE

Institutions use the DLE to:

Evaluate the campus climate

DLE was designed to include measures that specifically focus on aspects related to the climate for diversity, including experiences with discrimination, cross-racial interactions, validation and sense of belonging.

Collect information about institutional practices

The survey focuses on connecting diversity efforts with campus practices, including items related to a curriculum of inclusion, student support services and co-curricular diversity activities.

Assess student learning outcomes

DLE emphasizes student learning outcomes as a core component of diversity efforts and the survey includes measures such as the integration of learning, social action, and civic engagement.

Assess the pervasiveness of sexual assault

The survey includes sets of questions to measure the prevalence of unwanted sexual contact and sexual assault, including questions related to reporting of incidents and satisfaction with the institutional response.

Assess baseline strengths, identify areas for improvement, and track progress related to diversity efforts

DLE provides a snapshot of the campus climate, institutional practices, and student outcomes that can be used for campus diversity improvement efforts. Institutions can use the DLE as a tool for strategic planning and benchmarking.

Foster/initiate dialogue about diversity

Using data from the DLE, institutions can initiate dialogue about diversity related issues on their individual campuses.

Disaggregate student perceptions, experiences, and outcomes by different social identities (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation)

The survey includes measures that can be disaggregated by different social identities, including race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability/disability status, and socioeconomic status.

New in 2016

Assessing the pervasiveness of sexual assault and unwanted sexual contact

A spirituality module that captures student beliefs, experiences, and goals

Questions about how often students think about their social identities

What Will a Participating Institution Receive?

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 Survey

Administered anytime between October 1, 2015 and April 29, 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). The DLE contains a "core" section of questions that all institutions administer and six optional modules:

  • Classroom Climate
  • Transition to the Major
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Spirituality
  • Climate for Transfer at 2-Year Institutions
  • Climate for Transfer at 4-Year Institutions

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 asks respondents about the importance of spirituality in their lives, their spiritual development, and their level of engagement in spiritual activities
  • 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 (Up to 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.