Student Surveys (That aren’t about course content...)


Instructors may choose to utilize non-content related student surveys as a regular part of their teaching flow, or choose to introduce this tool at specific junctures where students most need targeted support and attention. When we identify learning as our primary goal—and students’ emotional wellbeing as a necessary condition for it—we may ask 'How best can I support you and your learning?'

When to Use

Classroom management, acknowledging community impacts, scaling individualized student support, formative assessment, healing-centered engagement, tumultuous times.

How to Use

How Are You Feeling? Exercise (Jewell & Durand, 2020)

“Imagine we’re all traveling along the same lake. We start at the same place and the end goal is the same [equity, solidarity, justice, being seen, understanding difficult histories, solving complex problems, processing this difficult event, etc.] but we have different means and paces to get to where we need to be. Some feel too fast, others not fast enough” (Jewell & Durand, 2020, p. 111).

  • How are you feeling?
  • Where are you in this lake we’re all traveling in?
  • Do you feel like you’re swimming, paddling in the canoe, or on a speedboat?
  • Do you want to keep going at this pace?
  • If you do, how can you support the folx* who are moving at a different pace than you?
  • Do you want to speed up, or slow down?
  • Is your pace sustainable?
  • What will happen if you chance pace?


Administer a Welcome Survey (Sara Goldrick-Rab, 2020)

A Welcome Survey is a great way to quickly, confidentially, and supportively glean information about your students to help you create an inclusive classroom and remove barriers in the learning environment by better understanding what assets and challenges your students bring with them into the classroom.

“Welcome to [class name]. My name is [your name] and I use the pronouns [pronouns]. I’d like to invite you to tell me a bit more about yourself through the survey below. You are more than just students—you are humans, with lives outside of this “room,” and I know that what goes on out there can impact how you show up in here. By completing the survey, I’ll be able to better meet you where you are. It is confidential and completely voluntary—only answer whichever questions you feel most comfortable answering and sharing with me, even if that means you don’t answer any of them. If you prefer to speak privately, or would like to talk about anything you share in the survey, you can reach me at [email address].” (Sara Goldrick-Rab, 2020, p.4)

  • What name should I call you?
  • What are your pronouns?
  • How do you identify in terms of race/ethnicity?
  • How do you identify in terms of gender identity?
  • What sorts of responsibilities do you have, apart from this class? (i.e. working, taking care of kids or family, taking a heavy course load, etc.)
  • What challenges are you currently facing or do you anticipate facing this semester?
  • Do you have any concerns related to the technology/devices you will be using to complete work in this course? If so, please describe.
  • Where are you living? If campus housing closes during the term, do you have a plan for where you will go?
  • Are there any support services on campus I can direct you towards or help you get setup with?
  • What else do you want me to know about you so that I can support you to succeed this term?


Citation: Jewell, T., Durand, A. (2020). This Book is Anti-Racist. Minneapolis, MN: Quatro.
Citation: Goldrick-Rabb, S. (2020, December). Spreading the Word - Supporting Students’ Basic Needs with a Syllabus Statement and Welcome Survey. The Hope Center.