‘March 2012’

Access to Information Request Yields 2011 Engagement Survey Results

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Access to Information Request Yields 2011 Engagement Survey Results | Filed in March 2012, President's Message

– By Paul Rogers, Faculty Association President –

I must begin by apologizing for the time that has elapsed since I published my most recent Academic Views article in December. I hope to atone for this delay by making available some data in which I think you’ll be interested, these being the results from last spring’s engagement survey for salaried academic staff. I had wanted to be able to share this information with you much earlier in the 2011-12 academic year, but the Association was not able to gain access to the results until 21st March.

You may recall that I raised the issue of the engagement survey in my December 2011 article (it was one of four “significant” items I wanted to bring to your attention), but at the time I knew almost nothing about how academic staff had responded to the 80 questions constituting the survey.  The availability of the engagement survey results has been discussed at a number of meetings of both the Faculty Association’s Executive Committee and its Board of Directors, with concerns expressed relating initially to how long it took for any information on the survey results to be shared, and then regarding the “thin gruel” that was eventually shared with U of C staff in mid-November 2011.

We had been hoping that the U of C administration would voluntarily share additional details on the survey results with the university community, but once it became clear to the Association that nothing beyond what was released on 16th November was going to be made available, we determined that we would have to take action.  Consequently, on the 21st February a formal access to information request was submitted to the office of the University’s Access and Privacy Coordinator requesting full details on the engagement survey results.  The response to this request, including the requested data, was provided to us on 21st March.

A preliminary analysis of the results provided by the Access and Privacy Coordinator has now been completed and I am writing to share this analysis with you.  Posted here is a 10-page document summarizing the responses of members of the academic staff to each of the 80 questions, together with some additional summary information that may be of interest (a link to the document is also posted at the bottom of this page).  The response to the access to information request presented separate results for each of two categories of academic staff, those with tenure and those without tenure.  The posted summary document presents the aggregated results for all academic staff who responded to the survey.

Before describing the results, here is some background information on the survey questions (based on the information provided by the Access and Privacy Coordinator):

–  There were 80 questions in the survey, organized under 16 categories as specified by the Hay Group,  the designer of the survey.

–  Results for each question are reported in terms of the percentage of respondents answering “Favourably”, “Neutrally”, or “Unfavourably”.  There were two main types of question as follows:

–  43 questions were of the form “How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statement” with responses restricted to the five point scale:

–  1=Strongly Disagree; 2=Tend to Disagree; 3=Hard to Decide; 4=Tend to Agree; 5=Strongly Agree
–  A response of 1 or 2 is counted as unfavourable while a 4 or 5 is counted as favourable.

–  35 questions were of the form “Rate the University in terms of some dimension” with responses restricted to the five point scale:

–  1=Very Poor; 2=Poor; 3=Average; 4=Good; 5=Very Good
–  Again, a response of 1 or 2 is counted as unfavourable while a 4 or 5 is counted as favourable.

–  There were two questions, each of which had a unique response scale:

–  Question 79, “Overall, how would you rate your satisfaction working at the University at the present time”:

–  1=Very Dissatisfied; 2=Dissatisfied; 3=Neither Satisfied nor Dissatisfied; 4=Satisfied; 5=Very Satisfied.
–  Again, a response of 1 or 2 is counted as unfavourable while a 4 or 5 is counted as favourable.

–  Question 80, “Based on your career plans, how long are you likely to continue working at the University”:

–  1=Will retire in the next 1-2 yrs; 2=Will probably leave, but not retire, within the next year; 3=Will probably stay 1-2 more years; 4=No plans to leave the University at present
–  A response of 4 was counted as favourable, a 3 was deemed neutral, a 2 was counted as unfavourable, and a 1 was excluded from the results.

Here’s a summary of the survey results that are provided in the 10-page summary document:

–  Overall 711 academic staff responded to the survey, a rate of around 34% (468 with tenure {a 45% response rate} and 243 without tenure {a 23% response rate}).

–  The first page highlights the results for the “top-10” and “bottom-10” questions (from any category) where the ranking is based on the percentage of respondents answering favourably minus the percentage answering unfavourably.  For example, focusing on just the top and bottom questions:

–  86% of the academic staff responding to the survey agree (or strongly agree) with the statement “I have the opportunity to do challenging and interesting work”, while only 8.7% disagree (or strongly disagree).
–  Only 11% of academic staff responding to the survey rate the University as good (or very good) in terms of “Providing the funding to support my department’s needs”, while 65% rate it as poor (or very poor).

–  The next 8 pages present the results for all 80 questions, with the questions grouped according to the 16 categories, and presented at two categories per page.  E.g. there are 6 questions in the “Engagement” category, 4 in the “Enablement” category, and 10 in the “Resources” category.

–  Finally, a single page summarizing the average results for the questions in each category is presented.  On this page, the categories are sorted from best score to worst score (using the same ranking scheme as for the first page).

If you wish to look at the full, 86-page, response from the U of C’s Access and Privacy Coordinator, this is also available from the Association’s website here (a link to the document is also posted at the bottom of this page).  As previously noted, this document presents results separately for academic staff with and without tenure whereas the 10-page summary document (again, found here) presents results for the academic staff in aggregate.  Please note that both of the posted documents use colour so some of their content may be hard to read if a hard-copy is printed in monochrome.

If you see anything of particular interest in this article or either of the posted documents that you’d like to discuss with me further, please let me know.  I can be reached via email at my Faculty Association address (paul.rogers@tucfa.com).


Summary – U of C Engagement Survey 2011

U of C Engagement Survey 2011 – full response