Penn State launches survey for students and employees

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Starting today (Oct. 30) and continuing through Nov. 4, Penn State students, faculty and staff will receive emails from an outside organization asking for their participation in the Penn State Values & Culture Survey. Some technical service employees will receive the survey on paper, from their supervisors. The confidential survey will take less than 20 minutes to complete, and is designed to help University leaders gain a fuller understanding of the priorities and collective values of the people who learn and work at Penn State every day.

The survey is being conducted by the Virginia-based Ethics Resource Center (ERC), an independent, nonprofit organization and recognized leader in the field of organizational survey work. The ERC will conduct the survey in a manner that protects the identities of all participants; responses will be aggregated and only summary data will be provided back to Penn State so that no individual within any unit can be identified.

Individuals who experience technical difficulties as they are taking the survey should contact the ERC directly by calling 800-777-1285. The Help Desk phone line is open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by sending an email to

“This is a chance for every member of the learning and working communities at Penn State to let their voices be heard,” said Penn State President Rodney Erickson. “The results of this survey will help us to learn and grow as an institution; as a top destination for the world’s most talented students and faculty; and as a great place for staff members to build a career. I ask that everyone who receives an invitation in the coming days take advantage of this opportunity to share confidential feedback to help shape Penn State in the years to come.”

Results will be used to develop an inclusive statement of shared values for the university community. The survey also will contribute to a more concise understanding of the values of students, faculty and staff, which in turn will help University leaders fashion and improve ethics and compliance programs.

“The results of this survey will be crucial as we work to develop a clear set of ethical standards for everyone to follow, and will help to strengthen further the confidence and comfort level of students and employees to report wrongdoing wherever it may be happening,” said Regis Becker, director of the University Office of Ethics and Compliance. “We want to be sure that employees and students are aware of the resources available for reporting wrongdoing and misconduct at the University, and we want to be sure they are able to report observed violations without fear of retaliation.”

By design, the survey is focused on the individuals involved in the day-to-day business of the University, Becker said — faculty, students, administrators and staff.

The ERC will deliver an executive summary of the findings in spring 2014, and Becker said the document will be published at that time.

“As this process continues, it will be important that we share results every time we conduct a survey," Becker said. "We want to engage our students and employees in a healthy, ongoing conversation about life at Penn State, and surveys like this help us to reach that goal."

For more information about the survey, visit the FAQ at

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Last Updated November 12, 2013