UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Today, Feb. 3, all students, faculty and staff members at every campus location will receive an email to take the Penn State Community Survey. Penn Staters are asked to take 15 minutes to complete the confidential survey, which seeks to learn more about attitudes and experiences of community, diversity and inclusion at Penn State.
Community members at every campus location, including World Campus, will receive an email from “firstname.lastname@example.org" with their own unique link to the survey.
“We are seeking input from every person at Penn State to help identify strengths and areas for growth, advance the University’s values and support a welcoming environment across every campus,” said Sonia DeLuca Fernández, associate vice provost in the Office of Educational Equity and project co-chair. “We need to hear from students, faculty, staff, and administrators from all campuses to capture a range of experiences, opinions and perspectives.”
Survey questions will touch on a range of topics, including belonging and community, engagement across differences, institutional support, cultural competencies, climate and off-campus contexts.
“I will be taking the survey because I believe that even though I am just one student out of tens of thousands, my experiences here and my perspective of what it means to be a part of the Penn state community are important to share,” said Heidy Canales, a member of the Penn State Latino Caucus executive board and a survey working group member. “I think it’s important for other students to participate in the survey because our experiences can help measure progress, be a learning tool, and support Penn State’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
Feedback from the survey — which will be open through Friday, Feb. 28 — will help the University identify areas of importance and opportunities to build on via action plans in support of the University’s strategic priorities.
Though students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take the mobile-friendly survey from anywhere, anytime, there will be survey-taking stations available at various campuses throughout the month.
Survey takers will have a chance to win an Amazon or Starbucks gift card ranging from $10 to $50. To be entered to win, survey takers will have the option to complete a separate online form at the end of the survey — every 100th person who submits this form will win. Prize registrations are not attached in any way to survey submissions and responses. Submitting a one-time registration for a prize is optional; duplicate entries will be discarded and giveaway rules apply.
In order to protect privacy and allow members of the University community to be candid with their input, Penn State has contracted with the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS), an independent nonprofit organization, to administer the survey.
As a third party, HEDS will administer the survey and provide Penn State with a data file of responses stripped of individual identifiers such as names, IDs or email addresses. Only a limited number of Penn State staff dedicated to the study will have access to this data file for the purpose of producing summary reports. All reports will use only grouped or aggregated data.
The following considerations are in place to support the confidentiality of responses:
- Emails, IDs and names are stripped from the responses by HEDS.
- A few Penn State researchers from the Office of Planning, Assessment, and Institutional Research and the Office of Educational Equity will receive this stripped data. These Penn State researchers are bound by research ethics, laws and federal regulations, and will not be sharing data with anyone outside the small research group.
- University leaders (e.g., executives, deans, directors, managers) do not receive any data.
- Individuals are not required to respond to any item.
- Any names mentioned in the open-ended items are stripped by HEDS before the Penn State researchers receive the data.
- Demographic information (e.g., ethnicity, age, gender identity) will be shared in aggregate only, only if germane to a particular report, and only if there are more than 20 participants on a question or in a particular group.