Three weeks after a faculty meeting about concerns with College of Arts & Sciences leadership, a survey has been released to A&S faculty, staff and administration to address work climate and morale.
“At the initial meeting we had, we decided it would be good to construct a survey so that we could get a good sample size of people and what their feelings were, and so that’s what we did,” said Ricky Jones, chair of the Pan-African Studies department, who has been critical of A&S leadership.
According to David Owen, the chair of the philosophy department who distributed the survey, it was constructed to most accurately reflect the views of work climate and morale.
“It’s worth noting that the survey was constructed by a group of faculty who are experts in survey construction,” he said. “I have gotten comments sent to me about people who are skeptical of the validity of the survey, but we’re confident that it is a sound instrument for measuring climate and morale.”
Jones said that he was not involved in the creation and that the most talented faculty were chosen.
“None at all. Did not construct a single question, did not vet it,” Jones said. “The survey construction was led by Ryan Schroeder, who is the chair of sociology. He led a team of folks that put it together.”
According to Jones, the survey is a transparent attempt to see what people really think.
“The survey is designed, hopefully, to figure out how widespread the concerns are and exactly what they are,” he said. “It would be disingenuous to construct something to say what we want it to say. So we want to know what people are feeling, so they’re gonna do that analysis and then we’ll present that to whoever wants to listen.
“We’re gonna go where the data leads us.”
Jones said that he does not know what the results will be, or if the changed circumstances of the last three weeks will affect responses.
“There was one statement in a Monday Memo. I don’t know that that really marks a sea change,” he said. “There are some folks who believe that there is nothing wrong, and they may win out and nothing will change. I’m not sure.”
He made clear that he is only speaking on behalf of others who have expressed concerns.
“These are not my issues alone,” he said. “I’m speaking because of people who have come to me. I think these are concerns that a number of people hold.”
At the front of the survey, it says that all information will be secure and anonymous, and any comments respondents write will be aggregated. According to Owen, this is common practice.
“It’s the typical way that comments in surveys are addressed, you go through and you look for key topics, ideas and key words and analyze how many times the show up,” he said.
He said that the survey will close in the next few weeks and that the analysis will happen after that.
“We don’t have a specific date. We’re going to wait and see how the responses look at the end of next week and decide whether to keep it open for a third week,” he said. “I don’t have any idea how long (the analysis) might take. Hopefully it won’t be months and months.”
As of Thursday, Oct. 15, the survey had about 40 percent response rate.
“We have almost 40 percent of the college staff and faculty have responded. Just a bit under 40 percent,” said Owen. “That’s pretty decent considering that it’s only been open for four days.”
According to university spokesperson John Karman, A&S Dean Kimberly Kempf-Leonard did not wish to comment on the survey.