Third faculty/staff survey shows commitment high, room for improvement

Hershey, Pa. — Penn State's faculty and staff are committed to the University's progress and success, and are proud to be a part of Penn State, according to the 2008 Faculty/Staff Survey.
   
Survey highlights were reported to the Penn State Board of Trustees today (March 20) at their meeting at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. 
   
In their presentation, Blannie Bowen, vice provost for academic affairs, and Billie Willits, associate vice president for the Penn State Office of Human Resources, said that, overall, results of the 2008 survey show a high level of loyalty and commitment among faculty and staff, with a majority devoting extra effort to their jobs. 

They also reported that faculty and staff give Penn State high grades and nearly all say their department/unit genuinely cares about students. The work environment is generally seen as positive, although respondents judge fairness and accountability less favorably.

Willits said that, while the results suggest that the University has made limited progress in some areas in terms of fairness and respect, the data also point to priorities for additional improvements.

More than 8,400 faculty and staff responded to the confidential survey commissioned by the Office of the President and coordinated by the Penn State Office of Human Resources. To ensure anonymity, the University contracted with Diagnostics Plus Inc., an outside market research firm, to administer and report the results of the survey.

The survey results were summarized in terms of faculty and staff loyalty and commitment, perceptions of effectiveness in achieving unit goals, views of the work environment, and the climate for diversity.

In comparison with prior surveys in 1996 and 2004, Trustees were told, results of the 2008 survey are somewhat more favorable. For example, 74 percent of respondents feel the University is "one of the best" or an "above average" place to work, compared to 71 percent and 61 percent in the 2004 and 1996 surveys, respectively. Relative to both prior surveys, ratings of Penn State as a place to work improved slightly among all employee groups.

Survey results show that loyalty and commitment are very high. The statement, "I am committed to Penn State's progress and success" received the most favorable responses in both the 2008 and 2004 surveys. Faculty and staff also gave high marks to their department or unit's efforts to support University goals and to provide better services.

The three most positive dimensions of the work environment, according to the survey results, are professional development and work/life balance, climate for diversity in the department or unit, and perception of "the person to whom I report."   

In the area of diversity, results show that faculty and staff perceptions of the overall climate for diversity improved incrementally since 2004, particularly in terms of a welcoming environment and proactive measures to address discrimination based on sexual orientation and age.  More specifically, a higher percentage of 2008 respondents agree "the workplace climate in my department/unit is welcoming for employees from underrepresented groups" relative to 2004 (77 percent and 72 percent, respectively).

Unit level results from the survey have been distributed to campuses, colleges and administrative areas for each unit's use in identifying aspects of the work environment that may be further improved.

Highlights of the 2008 Faculty/Staff survey are available to the Penn State community at http://facultystaffsurvey.psu.edu.
 

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Last Updated March 20, 2009