You are here: Staff and Faculty Surveys - Frequently Asked Questions

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Fax: 202-885-1195

oira@american.edu

Contact:
Froslid Jones, Karen
Assistant Provost, Institutional Research and Assessment

Leonard, Room 1st floor

Institutional Rsch / Assessmt 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016-8059 United States

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What is the purpose of this survey?

American University has for years conducted a Campus Climate Survey for undergraduate and graduate students, administered every other spring. This student survey was significantly revised in 2017. Since that time, there have been discussions about a need for similar surveys of faculty and staff. The surveys are designed to ask about the experiences of staff and faculty broadly, with a focus on issues related to campus climate.

Do I have to do the survey?

Participation is voluntary, and you may opt out at any time or skip any individual question you do not wish to answer. We greatly appreciate your willingness to participate, but there are no individual consequences to the decision to participate or not.

Is the survey anonymous?

Your survey response will be anonymous—the system will not associate your name, ID or email with your responses. Results will only be reported in the aggregate and care will be taken to ensure that no open-ended answers can be connected to particular individuals. Results will not be reported for categories containing five or fewer respondents.

If I don't have time to complete it, can I come back to finish the survey later?

No. Because the survey is anonymous, you will not be able to edit your answers or continue at another time. It is best to wait until you have time to complete it.

Who will have access to the data?

The survey data file will not be accessible to anyone outside the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.

How will the results be shared?

Aggregate information will be shared with AU leadership (including the Cabinet, school/college deans, key directors, the Faculty Senate, the Staff Council, the President’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and others). Summary results will be presented in a town hall format, along with results from the student and staff surveys. The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment will work with the Faculty Senate and others to determine the best methods for sharing results with the wider faculty community.

Why does the survey ask demographic questions?

There are three reasons for this. First, comparing the answers to some demographic questions allows the researchers to get a sense of how closely the survey respondent match the university population in key characteristics. That is, it gives a sense of the extent to which survey results are representative of the population at large. Second, survey results can be used to break out results to see differences in answers across groups of people. This is essential for making sense of the results. Third, in a few instances demographic questions that are asked at the beginning of the survey are used to filter what questions you are shown, to reduce the likelihood that you are asked to answer questions that are not relevant to you.

In all cases, these questions may be skipped. In most cases, there are options for Choose not to answer, or Not listed. The latter option allows you to write in an answer, which may be used to adjust the categories offered in future surveys.

Can my responses be used to identify me?

While this survey is anonymous, in some cases it could be possible to use the combination of answers to demographic questions in order to identify a particular respondent. The researchers in the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment will take care to avoid such combinations and in no cases will survey breakouts be reported with cells of 5 or fewer answers.

If for whatever reason, you still have concerns about the risk of being identified, you have the option to not answer any question.

Questions about the survey? Email oira@american.edu.