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onCampus--Ohio State's faculty/staff news

Vol. 38, No. 18

By: Adam King

Through culture survey, staff can influence OSUís direction

Ohio State staff have an opportunity to move the university for-ward by adding their opinions to an extensive survey beginning May 29.

The Ohio State University 2008 Culture Survey will ask staff to provide feedback on OSU’s mission, vision, commitment, accountability toward them, recruitment/retention and work life (such as childcare and eldercare needs).

President E. Gordon Gee, whose office requested the survey, said he wants to use the information to gain a better understanding of where the university stands as he guides OSU to becoming one of the nation’s top employers of choice.

“Staff are critical to this university’s success,” Gee said. “A bold and innovative academic plan has little chance of success if the institution’s culture as an employer does not reflect and support excellence. So the results from this survey will help to assure that our people, processes and priorities are all aligned.”

Staff will only be able to access the survey via the Web at oaa.osu.edu/irp/culture_survey.php and by using their eight- or nine-digit employee ID numbers.

“President Gee fully intends to create a high-performance culture at Ohio State, and we need guidance from staff to inform that process,” said Larry Lewellen, associate vice president for Human Resources. “The survey is not a stand-alone initiative. It is part of the core data that will feed the university’s strategic planning process. I’m very excited about this survey and the importance that will be given to the results.”

Staff will have a three-week window through June 19 to take the 15- to 20-minute survey. Those without access to a computer can visit various student computer labs across campus, said Mona Fitzer, OHR’s Work Life project manager (call 292-1050 to find the locations and times available).

The survey, a collaboration of OHR and Institutional Research and Planning, will be completely anonymous, as will any data that will be reported.

“The data are not kept in a way that allow for individuals to be identified,” said Julie Carpenter-Hubin, director of Insitutional Research and Planning.

Colleges and vice presidents will receive a summary report of the results early fall quarter that they can use for their strategic planning. Customized reports for individual departments also can be requested.

“While the survey tries to get at the climate within their own work unit, we’re also interested in the bigger picture and if staff are happy to be working here,” Carpenter-Hubin said.

Only a random sample of the Medical Center and College of Medicine staff will be asked to take the survey because the Med Center conducted its own employee survey in April that asked many of the same questions.

The last time a staff survey was conducted for the entire university was 1995, but surveying will now become part of OSU’s culture. The university-wide census will be conducted every two or three years, but in between — potentially each quarter — there will be “pulse” surveys, about five minutes to take, that could focus on a particular college or area of benefits.

“If we see an area that seems like a concern, we can ask more detailed questions and get behind those issues,” said Carpenter-Hubin.

The University Staff Advisory Committee has endorsed the survey, and its members gave the survey a test run so staff could have some final input before its release.

“We are formally committed to the survey and look forward to seeing the results,” said David Kos, USAC chair.

To encourage staff to participate, OHR will enter eligible employees who answer a survey into a drawing for one of 100 Barnes and Noble $50 gift cards.

But Gee said staff should participate because the survey will help him work with the campus community to build a stronger university.

“For Ohio State to continue on its remarkable upward trajectory, we must be a nimble, responsive institution,” Gee said. “We must be able not only to capitalize on promising opportunities as they arise but also to build partnerships and to work collaboratively with one another.”

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