Faculty and staff urged to participate in data collection effort

October 07, 2009

University Park, Pa. -- More than 80,000 Penn State students did it. Now it's time for the University's faculty and staff to step up.

In its continuing effort to comply with new federal requirements for collecting and reporting racial and ethnic data, Penn State last spring implemented a new collection process, beginning with students. More than 80,000 of them have responded thus far to a brief and confidential online survey of racial and ethnic information.

The University is now requesting all faculty and staff to do the same.

"Penn State's eligibility for various kinds of federally funded student financial aid and for federal grants and contracts depends on employee participation in the data collection process," explained University Executive Vice President and Provost Rodney Erickson, "so we're asking each member of our faculty and staff to make responding to this government-mandated data collection process a personal priority."

The survey, which consists of a single, two-part question, is being presented through ESSIC -- the Employee Self-Service Information Center. The question allows respondents to identify their ethnicity and their race from a multiple-choice list. They may select more than one race.

Visit https://ohr.psu.edu/essic to read the question and respond.

All faculty and staff members, full-time and part-time, should participate. The University will keep all individual information confidential and will report only aggregate totals in each category, as required.

The new federal requirements reflect a change in the government's data collection policy and are designed so that the U.S. Department of Education and other agencies can all similarly collect information that more accurately reflects the increasing diversity of the nation's population. All the nation's colleges and universities must comply with the federal mandate.

Federal law has long required Penn State and other institutions of higher education to ask newly hired faculty, staff, and students to provide certain ethnic and racial information as part of an effort to create an accurate picture of the diversity of the national population. The new requirement seeks more comprehensive data that will reflect the results of the last U.S. census.

All Penn State faculty and staff, in all academic and administrative units, regardless of location, are included in the survey.
Employees who want more information about the new requirement or the collection process should contact the Affirmative Action Office at aao@psu.edu.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 14, 2009