A message from President Eric Barron

September 19, 2014

Dear Community Members,

The results of the Penn State Values and Culture Survey, sent to all faculty, staff and students last fall, have been released. Across our University, the results show that you as Penn Staters feel a strong connection to each other and to academic life. Thanks to you, we now have a clearer picture of our shared values and strengths — the things that make Penn State truly great.

The outcomes of this process represent absolutely critical input from you — the community of people who learn and work at Penn State every day.

As a community, we also have identified areas where there is a need for focus and improvement, and we are taking actions to address those issues. With these results in hand, and through frank, ongoing conversation, we have the opportunity to make a great University even better.

This survey has been an important undertaking — one that no other university of our size has attempted. I encourage all of you to review the results by visiting the following URL: http://news.psu.edu/story/326751/2014/09/19/results-released-penn-states...

There you will find:
a summary of the survey’s significant findings;
information about the Penn State Values statement (more on that below);
an article reviewing next steps as we move to confront identified challenges;
• links to an executive summary and full report of survey results prepared by the third-party firm Ethics Resource Center, which conducted the survey;
a summary of the survey process;
and a link to full data tables reflecting all responses. (Please note that all data are presented so as to ensure the anonymity of participants.)

Though I direct you to the links above for more discussion of the survey’s findings, I also wish to review a few points:

The Penn State Values

Among the major outcomes of this survey is the development of a unified statement of core values – The Penn State Values – created directly from your feedback. The survey found broad agreement among you on a set of values to which everyone at Penn State should aspire: community, discovery, excellence, integrity, respect and responsibility.

At the core of any community are its values — the shared ideals about how people should act toward one another, the standards to which we hold ourselves, and those beliefs we find most important. This feedback from all corners of the Commonwealth serves to refine our focus on what we already know intrinsically at Penn State: that we value our community; that we aim for excellence and discovery in the work we do each day; and that we strive to conduct ourselves with integrity, respect and responsibility in all of our actions.

In the coming months, town hall meetings will be held across Penn State’s colleges, campuses and other units in order to introduce the proposed values and engage all of you in a robust conversation about the definition of each. I invite and encourage all of you to participate fully in this ongoing conversation.

Strong community, but challenges exist

The survey’s results show remarkable unity among us as members of the Penn State community. Fully 95 percent of participants said they feel at least “moderately connected” to the University, including 39 percent who feel “strongly connected.” The results also show that the academic experience, across the board, is the top driver of the community’s connection to the University.

However, we do face challenges when it comes to some community members’ comfort with reporting wrongdoing. Staff members, in particular, are confronted with challenges in certain areas. This includes a perceived higher likelihood that they will experience retaliation if they report misconduct, and reports of observed intimidation in the workplace.

LEARN MORE about the issues we face and what we’re doing to resolve them.

The current situation as described by some is unacceptable. It is paramount that as a member of this community, you have the opportunity to work and learn in an environment free of intimidation, and that you feel confident in your ability to report misconduct.

I charged my leadership team with developing a comprehensive plan addressing these challenges. Please visit the link directly above or click here to learn more about the plan.

Penn State’s leadership takes your feedback seriously, and your clear voice on these issues is the first step toward corrective action that will improve life for all members of our community. Please watch for more information in the coming days and weeks related to these issues. A list of current resources available to faculty, staff and students for the reporting of wrongdoing is available here: http://www.universityethics.psu.edu/UniversityEthics/upload/Compliance-Email-FA14-sent-2014-08-27.pdf.

As a final reminder: the results were created by all of you as faculty, staff and students, and as such, they belong to you. I urge you to take the time to review the results and look forward to working with you to build an even stronger Penn State.

Your feedback always is welcome at president@psu.edu.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 19, 2014