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Campus climate survey yields 'good information' on employee morale

by UofL Today last modified Dec 07, 2010 01:00 PM

Most University of Louisville employees say they are proud to be part of the university, feel it's a good place to work and would recommend it as a place of employment.

But some feel less positive about salaries, opportunities for advancement and recognition of their contributions in the workplace.

Those are among the findings of a campus climate survey of faculty, staff and students conducted during the spring 2010 semester and released by the university Dec. 2.

Commissioned by UofL administration and issued by the Office of Institutional Research, the project combined two surveys. The first, a student diversity and inclusion survey, was designed by the Commission on Diversity and Racial Equality, the Campus Environment Team and the Office of Academic Planning and Accountability. It was distributed to more than 8,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional students in January.

The second survey was created by those groups and the Commission on the Status of Women, the Part-Time Faculty Committee of the Faculty Senate and the Great Places to Work Initiative. Designed to complement the Chronicle of Higher Education's Great Colleges to Work For survey, it was administered to more than 5,400 faculty and staff in March and April. This survey also included the diversity and inclusion questions asked of students in January, and those responses were combined for reporting purposes.

More than 17 percent of students and 40 percent of faculty and staff responded.

“We were pleased with the response, and particularly the response from faculty and staff,” said Provost Shirley Willihnganz. “These surveys give us a lot of good information, some positive and some not so positive. By knowing the issues that are weighing on our community, we can analyze and react to improve the environment for our students, faculty and staff.”

Highlights from the surveys include:

Work environment

Employees expressed pride in and appreciation for the university in general. However, salaries and opportunities for advancement were among their top worries.

“In general, the feedback was largely positive,” said Robert Goldstein, associate provost for academic accountability, institutional research and institutional effectiveness. “But clearly the economy has had a negative impact. The general mood of the population is reflected in these results. The fact that the university has not been able to give raises for three straight years because of state budget cuts is weighing on many employees.”

Those feelings are reflected in the survey responses. For instance, 42 percent of full-time faculty and 34 percent of staff feel fairly compensated. And while more than 80 percent of faculty and staff feel valued by their co-workers, only about 40 percent said they feel valued by university administration.

Addressing the overall survey results, Goldstein said that he was pleased that many of the university's strengths were highlighted along with a few areas of needed improvement.

“The best solutions are those that are grounded in and supported by the data,” he said.

Some positive responses included 71 percent of full-time faculty and 83 percent of staff saying they are proud to be part of UofL and similar percentages saying UofL is a good place to work. More than two-thirds of faculty and staff expressed satisfaction with their jobs.

Diversity and inclusion

The diversity and inclusion survey indicated that most students, faculty and staff feel good about UofL’s efforts in this area.

About three out of four respondents feel UofL has done a good job supporting diversity, with only 5 percent disagreeing. Only 7 percent of faculty and 16 percent of students feel they have been targets of racial/ethnic stereotyping.

Students, faculty and staff also were asked their perceptions of climate for a variety of groups as friendly, comfortable, tolerant or socially integrated. Both groups rated the climate as most positive in areas related to women, gender relations and race/ethnicity. Both groups also rated the campus climate as least positive for LGBT, international students and those from lower economic class.

Goldstein noted that this is the first time UofL has conducted such a comprehensive study. The results will help establish a baseline for future surveys. With many of the recently enacted initiatives on campus, including Great Places to Work initiatives designed to benefit employees, he said he expects the response to be more positive in 2012.

“I’m looking forward to the next one,” he said.

Responses to key questions in the Campus Climate Survey

General:

  • 71 percent of full-time faculty, 84 percent of part-time faculty and 83 percent of staff said they are proud to be part of UofL.
  • 73 percent of faculty, 82 percent of part-time faculty and 83 percent of staff feel UofL is a good place to work.
  • 69 percent of full-time faculty, 78 percent of part-time faculty and 79 percent of staff would recommend UofL as a place of employment.
  • 50 percent of full-time faculty, 64 percent of part-time faculty and 75 percent of staff would want family or friends to attend UofL.
  • 68 percent of full-time faculty, 73 percent of part-time faculty and 67 percent of staff are satisfied with their jobs.
  • 66 percent of full-time faculty, 75 percent of staff and 27 percent of part-time faculty feel the university’s benefits program meets their needs.
  • 10 percent of faculty and staff agree that there are adequate childcare facilities on campus.
  • 53 percent of full-time faculty, 24 percent of part-time faculty and 44 percent of staff feel they’re offered opportunities for advancement.
  • 49 percent of full-time faculty, 39 percent of part-time faculty and 46 percent of staff feel they are recognized for their contributions.
  • 36 percent of full-time faculty, 38 percent of part-time faculty and 35 percent of staff feel working conditions have improved over the past five years.
  • 70 percent of full-time faculty, 72 percent of part-time faculty and 61 percent of staff agree that they are encouraged to be innovative in teaching or their work.
  • Greater than 60 percent of part-time faculty agree that they are respected by their full-time colleagues, that they receive information from the department chair, that they are satisfied with the number of courses they teach and that they are satisfied with the support they receive from IT.
  • 65 percent of faculty agree that faculty are involved in decisions related to academics and the curriculum.
  • 35 percent of staff feel they have a voice in the direction of UofL.

Diversity and inclusion:

  • 72 percent of faculty and staff and 78 percent of students feel UofL has done a good job supporting diversity. Five percent disagree.
  • In regard to diversity and inclusion, 62 percent of employees and 75 percent of students feel UofL has a good image. Eight percent of employees and 6 percent of students disagree.
  • 69 percent of faculty and staff and 81 percent of students agree with the statement: “Overall, I am welcomed and encouraged at UofL.” 64 percent and 74 percent, respectively, agree that “I feel I belong at UofL.”
  • 78 percent of students agree that their professors are fair to all students regardless of their racial or ethnic background.
  • 66 percent of faculty and 60 percent of students agree that faculty present contributions of women in course materials and readings.
  • 65 percent of faculty and 58 percent of students agreed that faculty present contributions of racial and ethnic minorities in course materials and readings.
  • 17 percent of faculty and 6 percent of students agree that “My professor/students have set expectations based on my gender.”
  • 14 percent of faculty and 7 percent of students agree that “My professor/students have set expectations based on my race or ethnicity.”
  • 7 percent of faculty and 16 percent of students agreed that they have been targets of racial/ethnic stereotyping.
  • 60 percent of faculty and staff and 79 percent of students feel UofL provides an open environment for the free expression of ideas, beliefs and opinions. Eleven percent and 6 percent, respectively, disagree.

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