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This survey is the first since 1999 on
this campus. Generally, the CNCR recommends
such surveys a bit more frequently, but the ADR committee was for the most
part dormant until its recent revival.
Most of the members are new to ADR, and as part of a meeting that Lin
Enlow had with us in 2005, we decided that it was time for a new survey.
Group put together through invitations
and demonstrated interest in the issues.
Cher is not a member but did work on the mechanical aspect of the
While at first this survey seems broader
than these items might indicate, it is important to assess general concerns in
order to identify potential conflicts. And
by conflicts, we mean both interpersonal and institutional.
This is an assessment tool, and I’m sure
you’re well aware of the issues surrounding assessment. In fact, there was a great deal of suspicion
(as well as excitement) when we announced this survey. We’re here to see what support we have from
you to continue with this work.
Although the what matters a great
deal—there are certainly issues that are not related to perception here—it is
how we deal with and interpret issues that are the bigger part of conflict
Universities are particularly well-known
for being sources of conflict. The balance
between academic freedom and collegiality is fertile ground for conflict. Typically, collegiality is used
interchangeably with civility, but the dictionary definition of collegiality
is one of shared authority. Civility
refers to behavior. As we talk about
collegiality in the context of this survey, we want to make it clear that we
are talking about the balance of power among various groups.
Our purpose is to answer the first
question. Our committee’s work is to participate
in the development of answers to the second two questions, but we are not a
We were quite pleased with this response
rate. We did a great deal of phone-calling,
accosting individuals, e-mailing, and more to get responses. Many individuals asked for assurance that it
was a confidential survey before they would respond.
Value is both positive and
negative. Respondents reported feeling
less valued as they talked about people and departments outside of their
immediate environment, but they also expressed a deep sense of pride and sense
of being valued by their immediate colleagues and students. We separated out CR knowledge because we
wanted to focus on the issues that would help anticipate future conflicts.
A lot of positive things expressed in
horizontal relationships; vertical ones more problematic.
Our experiences have been that many requests
for mediation come to us in part because of a problem in policy and procedure interpretation.
This was even an issue for people who wanted to take the survey.
It took a GREAT deal of convincing to get
the response rates we did for both the faculty and staff surveys.
“Resources” used to refer to space, funds, faculty positions, library
Respondents indicated that all constituents suffer from this lack of
18% of respondents are responsible for hiring, disciplinary actions,
81.8% are not. (100 respondents
from Facilities alone)
Third item is an illustration of our
experiences in mediation requests.
This leads us to what appears to be one
of the primary issues for faculty on this campus: the fact that the President chairs the
Many, many comments were about this
This was a problematic area for the
survey. The comments indicate that we need
to explore this, but we need to focus better on how we do that. Respondents answered from many perspectives,
including those of interactions w/students, colleagues, the community, and
The quantitative data indicates that
most respondents for both surveys leaned toward the positive, but the comments
indicated other opinions as well.
These are some examples of how
respondents interpreted and responded to the section on tolerance. Most felt that they had not problem with
their colleagues, but there were concerns.
For instance, “I am still disturbed that there is handicap parking, a
wheelchair ramp, and a handicap door button right next to the new campus
center, but disabled people (not to mention anyone else) are not allowed to
use that entrance. “
The first item showed up in a number of
contexts. We have also heard it during intakes for mediation requests.
While this question isn’t directly
related to “value,” the open-ended portion did reveal thoughts on the
issue. These numbers also indicate that
while there is a general frustration over many things, there is a strong sense
of loyalty to the institution.
We suspect that this may be changing due
to the increased numbers of requests we have received. (7 since July.) However, the second two numbers reveal a
problem even if more people did know about the options available to them.
This indicates a sense that conflict is
the result of other issues that may not be what the conflict seems to be
about. This also is similar to the
concept of collegiality that I mentioned earlier.
Awareness of policies was better in this
section, but open-ended comments still indicated that many would not use the
policies based on confidentiality and power disparity issues. 44.1% indicated that they had experienced
some form of conflict that was not resolved in way that was satisfactory. 37.2% indicated that they were unsure if
reporting conflicts was encouraged.
Comments in this area addressed all
procedures (informal and formal) for grievances, appeals, mediation requests,
Recognition of low morale and conflict
as the result of “learning on the job.”
There were comments about having to train oneself.
While this isn’t necessarily one of the
top five issues, it is a theme, like that of distrust, in nearly every portion
of the survey. Given the current communication
audit, we thought it would be worth examining this issue in this survey as
Similar to the “lack of voice”? This information comes not only from the
survey but also from our own interactions in mediation requests, etc.
We are certainly still working on the
first question. We’re using all of the
tools in the second column to figure that out, and we are engaging members of
the community who are not necessarily members of the committee. But the answers to the second two questions
must be created by all of us. We have
to understand our direction and the reasons we’ve mapped it out as a certain route.