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February 22, 2007
Results are in from the first comprehensive, University-wide survey, conducted September 2006 to measure the views of faculty and staff.
"We received a mixture of responses that show we do a lot of things very well," said Eric Herzik, political science professor and chairman of the team that created and administered the survey. 'But, it also indicates areas in which performance should be improved, so this survey will help us implement strategies to address those particular areas."
"We didn't duck any issues," he added.
Summarizing the results, Herzik noted lingering concerns about morale and communication on campus. As an example, 57 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, "Morale is a problem on campus." When asked if faculty and staff "are often at odds with campus administration," 51 percent of University respondents agreed.
The survey also demonstrated positive perceptions. As an example, more than 85 percent of respondents agree with the University's mission and goals, and 88 percent feel their position supports those goals.
Herzik also points to the strong, positive response to an additional question intended to gauge a key tenet of academic freedom: 82.5 percent of faculty members agree they are granted "adequate autonomy and independence to conduct research and writing."
When asked if one issue in particular emerged as an opportunity for improvement, Herzik responded, "Communication, particularly when it comes to policy changes and strategic planning."
The survey was conducted as part of the self-study process in preparation for the University's decennial accreditation with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
The Commission outlines nine standards by which the University's performance will be evaluated, and the required self-study will be organized against those standards. Nine teams involving faculty, staff and students are completing the self-study assessment of the University, and Herzik serves as chairman of the self-study process overall. Several members of the nine teams contributed to the development of the survey tool.
"The simplest definition of the self-study is that it provides an evidence-based assessment that we are achieving the stated goals of the University," said John Frederick, provost. "However, the real value of the accreditation process is that the self-study provides a guide of where we have been, where we are, and where we aspire to go."