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Climate Survey Creation and Administration

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Over the course of the 2008 academic year, the Survey Group developed a comprehensive career-life survey focusing on gender issues in STEM. The team reviewed climate surveys previously developed and administered at other NSF ADVANCE institutions, primarily the survey developed at the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The survey titled the “RIT Faculty Career Life Survey” was administered at RIT in the fall of 2009.  Questions from these surveys were adapted to meet the specific needs of the RIT environment.  Additional questions were composed based on existing RIT culture and background.  The survey was structured around four primary areas: 

  • Teaching, Resources, and Service
  • Career Satisfaction, Work Load, Recognition
  • Climate, Mentoring, Tenure, Promotion
  • Balancing Personal and Professional Life

Four individuals with experience in assessment and evaluation, but not involved in this study as investigators or survey participants, tested the final survey instrument in a paper format for clarity of questions and categories, formatting and time requirements.  Minor updates were made based on their feedback. 

The Survey Research Institute (SRI) at Cornell University then coded the instrument to be offered to all tenure and tenure-track faculty at RIT via a secure website.  To ensure confidentiality, SRI directly invited participation of RIT faculty by sending all email on behalf of the RIT administration (Table 1), tracking respondents, communicating with non-respondents and collecting and aggregating data.  Overall, more than 66% of all tenured and tenure-track faculty at RIT completed the survey (Table 2).  To download the full RIT Career Life Survey, visit Publications and Documents.

Table 1. Survey Invitation Plan




Email Correspondence

Sent by

Date (week number during 10-week academic quarter)

Invitation email from University President and Provost

SRI

OCT 1, 2009 (week 4)

First reminder email to non-respondents from President and Provost

SRI

Oct 14, 2009 (week 6)

Second reminder email to non-respondents from Provost

SRI

Oct 21, 2009 (week 7)

Third reminder email to non-respondents from Research Team

SRI

Oct 28, 2009 (week 8)

Fourth (final) reminder email to non-respondents from Research Team (indicating close date)

SRI

Nov 4, 2009 (week 9)

Survey

Survey Data – Statistical Analysis Methodology:  The responses to each question on the climate survey were analyzed by gender.  Questions with numeric or Likert scale answers compared mean responses for males and females using a two-sample t-test.  Questions with categorical response options compared proportions of males and females in each category using a chi-square test.

Table 2.  Survey Response Rates by Gender and College

Gender

Completions

Out of

Rate

Female

175

245

71.43 %

Male

360

563

63.94 %

Overall

535

808

66.29 %





College/Division

Completions

Out of

Rate

Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies

3

6

50.00 %

College of Applied Science and Technology

56

71

78.87 %

College of Imaging Arts and Sciences

55

100

55.00 %

College of Liberal Arts

83

124

66.94 %

College of Science

99

137

72.26 %

E. Philip Saunders College of Business

18

38

47.37 %

Golisano College of Computing & Info Sciences

68

92

73.91 %

Kate Gleason College of Engineering

62

85

72.94 %

National Technical Institute for the Deaf

87

147

59.18 %

Office of the President

1

1

100.00 %

Provost

3

6

50.00 %

Student Affairs

0

1

0.00 %

Overall

535

808

66.29 %

Survey Data – Benchmarking Methodology:The results of the RIT Work Life survey were benchmarked against climate survey results from other ADVANCE schools.  The purposes of this benchmarking are to (1) determine whether problems with the work-life environment at RIT are unique to us or common to other institutions, (2) identify elements of the work-life environment at RIT that are strengths relative to other ADVANCE schools, and (3) identify actions taken at other schools to address issues similar to those found at RIT (this work is ongoing).  In the creation of the RIT Work-Life survey, instruments developed at other ADVANCE schools – in particular, the University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin-Madison – were used for reference.  These schools’ results were then used for benchmarking.