Campus climate survey goes online April 30-May 11

This column is a follow-up to Father Dease’s official announcement (Tuesday, April 24) requesting your participation in the upcoming 2007 “Opinion Survey on Campus Climate.” Please read this column fully. Its purpose is to provide context and clear instructions related to the online survey we will start on April 30 through May 11.

The incentive for participating and completing a survey is the chance to enter a raffle with prizes totaling $1,000. The grand prize is a $250 gift certificate from our campus Bookstore. Other prizes will include movie tickets, restaurant vouchers and nice gifts.

For the past 12 months, the President’s Office and Office of Institutional Diversity have collaboratively worked with Global Lead Management Consulting to identify goals, set timelines, develop a communication plan and process flow, design a survey instrument and provide plenty of opportunity for campus input in the climate study progression.

A climate study has been administered routinely by the university to collect student, faculty and staff perceptions and perspectives apropos to the atmosphere at St. Thomas. Campus climate assessments were conducted in 1995 and 2000. Both assessments utilized survey instruments as part of the methodology. Results indicate that the University of St. Thomas made improvements and faced new challenges in the area of diversity.

For this initiative, we will follow similar methodology by using a survey instrument in Phase I: Quantitative Assessment. This survey instrument is different because it will be administered online. All questions have been validated and tested for reliability; furthermore, the questions are a hybrid based on input from campus representatives with guidance from Global Lead and Modern Survey. Before the actual deployment of the survey instrument, a sample of UST students, faculty, and staff participated in a successful pre-test launch.

Here is an outline of important survey instructions and logistics for all campus members. Please read the following carefully:

  • On April 30, all UST students, faculty and staff will receive an e-mail invitation from Father Dennis Dease, university president, to participate in the "Opinion Survey on Campus Climate."
  • Any student or employee (all shifts) who does not have a functional UST e-mail will be able to complete the online survey using computers by visiting the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center (St. Paul campus) or Charles J. Keffer Library (Minneapolis campus). Library Services staff have agreed to assist any student or employee with accessing the survey from start to finish. Surveys can be accessed in either library during library hours.
  • All precautions have been taken to ensure e-mails and the survey domain are available within the university firewall.
  • This e-mail invitation will have specific language around security and anonymity of responses.
  • A generic URL will be included in the e-mail invitation; this will link participants directly to a Web page of the survey.
  • Once participants complete the survey and click the ‘Submit’ button at the end of the survey, their responses will be recorded and they will no longer have access to the survey.
  • Participants also will have the option to save their responses and return to the survey at a later time. There is a "Save and Return" button on the survey. When they click this button they will be given a unique re-entry code. The next time they attempt to enter the survey they will be prompted to enter this code.
  • On May 7, a reminder e-mail will go out to all participants.
  • At noon Friday, May 11, the survey will close. Participants will no longer be able to enter their responses.
  • At completion of the online survey, participants will be prompted to print a survey receipt. Detailed instructions are provided on the receipt for participants to be eligible for a campus raffle on May 11.
  • Participants must return a completed survey receipt to the designated location by May 9.

Modern Survey, a third-party vendor, will be responsible for monitoring the online survey. All responses are confidential, protected and not reported. Modern Survey’s products and services are backed with the highest levels of security and confidentiality in the industry, including the following:

  • Modern Survey’s Internet security is maintained with password protection. SSL encryption is provided by VeriSign. These security measures meet and exceed the standards of its Fortune 100 clients’ e-commerce review boards
  • Data and files are routinely backed up and securely stored at on-site and off-site locations
  • All Modern Survey employees take an oath to follow client confidentiality procedures and are not allowed to bring any sensitive or confidential data off the premises.

We are excited to hear from you. This online survey is an opportunity for you to speak out on how we can better foster a more diverse and inclusive climate at St. Thomas. The quantitative survey will be followed by Phase II: Qualitative Assessment in fall semester 2007. Responses from this survey invariably will inform deeper, more meaningful focus groups and interviews during the qualitative assessment. Global Lead will work with my office to determine carefully the best methods to Phase II.

I challenge each UST student, faculty and staff member to take the survey. Diversity is everyone’s responsibility and I encourage you to make your contribution. We can be successful only if we have collective input. Take the 10 to 15 minutes to complete the online survey when you receive the e-mail April 30. Your time investment is time well spent in providing feedback on where we go from here.