Penn State to launch survey for students and employees

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Starting Oct. 4 and continuing through Oct. 24, Penn State faculty, staff, technical services employees, administrators, students, postdoctoral scholars and fellows will receive emails from an outside organization asking for their participation in the Penn State Values and Culture Survey. The confidential survey will take less than 20 minutes to complete, and is a follow up to a survey conducted in 2013.

“We learned quite a lot from the 2013 survey,” said Regis Becker, director of the University Office of Ethics and Compliance. “Some of it heartening, like the high percentage of employees and students who feel a strong connection to the University. But some of it was very concerning, including the type of misconduct witnessed by some participants, and the hesitancy some felt in reporting misconduct, driven by fear of retaliation and a lack of trust in the process and available resources.

This new survey will allow University leadership to gauge progress, evaluate the programs implemented, and identify areas for further development.

The survey is being conducted by the Virginia-based Ethics Research Center (ERC), an independent, nonprofit organization and recognized leader in the field of organizational survey work. 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. If there are less than 20 participants of any demographic group on a question, ERC will not report information on that question to Penn State. Responses for that group will be combined with others in order to protect the identities of participants.

Individuals who experience technical difficulties as they are taking the survey should contact the ERC directly by emailing or calling 800-777-1285 on weekdays between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

“We’re very excited about the new survey,” said Timothy Balliett, University ethics officer. “We established a baseline with the previous survey, and now we’re looking to continue the conversation with the members of our Penn State community, to hear directly from them about how we’ve affected life at Penn State.”

The ERC will deliver an executive summary of the findings in spring 2018, and Becker said the document will be published at that time.

For more information about the survey, visit the FAQ at

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