UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. —If they have not already done so, Penn State faculty, staff, technical services employees, administrators, students and postdoctoral scholars/ fellows are asked to take 15-20 minutes to complete the Penn State Values and Culture Survey. This is a follow up to a survey conducted in 2013, and will allow University leadership to gauge progress, evaluate implemented programs, and identify areas for further development.
Survey links have been distributed by email from the Ethics Research Center (ERC), the third-party organization that is conducting the survey. ERC, an independent, nonprofit organization and recognized leader in the field of organizational survey work.
“The 2013 survey indicated that some employees were fearful and distrustful of the University, particularly when it pertains to confidentiality,” said Tim Balliett, University ethics officer. “So we recognize that people may be hesitant to take a survey about their work environment. We want individuals to know and feel confident that they will remain anonymous. One reason we chose ERC was because of their commitment to confidentiality protocols.”
These confidentiality protocols include:
- Individual email links are used only to make sure that no individual takes the survey more than once.
- ERC strips all identifiers (e.g. email address) from the survey responses.
- Penn State receives only aggregate, anonymous data from ERC. Penn State does not see or receive the data set or any individual responses. Penn State will not know who did or did not take the survey.
- “I prefer not to answer” and/or “Other” is listed as an option for all questions.
- ERC will not provide any data for which there are less than 20 participants of a certain group. For example, if there are less than 20 staff in a department/unit who take the survey, ERC will not provide any staff responses for that department/unit to Penn State.
- If there are less than 20 responses on a question from a group, then ERC will not share those responses. For example, if less than 20 of the 30 faculty in a department/school taking the survey witnessed misconduct, Penn State will not receive any data about subsequent questions about the misconduct, reporting and retaliation.
- Demographic information (e.g., ethnicity, age, supervisory status, etc.) will only be shared in aggregate and only if there are more than 20 participants on that question. Responses across demographic categories will not be shared unless there are at least 20 participants in each group. For example, at least 20 female Hispanic supervisors would need to complete the survey in order for ERC to provide any information about this group.
- The survey, responses and data are owned by ERC and housed on their secure servers (to which Penn State does not have access).
- ERC conducts all the analyses and creates all the reports for the University.
Given the above, it will be impossible to identify any individual based upon their responses.
Individuals who experience technical difficulties as they are taking the survey should contact the ERC directly by emailing email@example.com or calling 800-777-1285 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
For more information about the survey, visit the FAQ at https://universityethics.psu.edu/values-culture-survey-faq.