In an effort to better understand the University and to ensure that faculty, staff and students are offered a chance to deliver feedback, the Office of Institutional Planning and Research coordinates campus-wide surveys.

Surveys are a powerful tool for gathering information directly from groups of interest. However, surveys sent out to Colgate's population raise important ethical and practical concerns regarding issues of privacy and the rights and protection of respondents. The Office of Institutional Planning & Research (IPR) adheres to the Statement of Ethical Principles by the Association for Institutional Research when collecting, analyzing, maintaining, and reporting any institutional data.

Any survey or other data collection (e.g., interviews) managed by IPR will clearly identify the group or person conducting the survey and provide contact information (typically name, email address, and telephone number) should respondents have any questions about the content of the survey or about the use/publication of the survey results. This information is typically included in the instructions (see example below):

“You are asked to complete this survey to evaluate your whole undergraduate experience and your experience in your major(s). If you have any questions or concerns about the survey, please contact Neil Albert at nalbert@colgate.edu.”

Participants can always decide whether or not to participate in the survey, and to decide what information they share when completing a survey. Further, IPR will not require participants to answer any item on the survey. Sample language is below:

“Your participation in this survey is voluntary. You may stop taking it at any time, and you may choose not to answer any question.”

An anonymous survey means that the survey administrators cannot determine who participated in the survey or not. Anonymous surveys typically do not collect identifying information and cannot restrict responses to one response per person. Anonymous surveys are often employed for sensitive subject matters (e.g., sexual assault, substance abuse) because anonymity can yield more honest responses.

A confidential survey contains personally identifiable information, such as name and email address, and demographic variables of interest (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender, major, class year) for the analyses.  IPR-administered surveys are typically confidential. Confidential survey responses are reported in the aggregate, and the identity of individual responses is protected through an array of methods, including limiting what can be shared about small populations on our campus. IPR typically performs confidential surveys to allow for analyses of trends in the responses or to connect responses with information from other surveys.

In addition to securing survey data, IPR staff regularly aggregate responses for closed-ended (i.e., check-box) responses and redact individually identifying information shared in open-ended responses to maintain the confidentiality of survey responses. Additional details of both are provided below.

Aggregation is an essential tool for protecting the identity of survey respondents when survey responses are summarized to inform planning and decision-making. When building reports, IPR staff pay close attention to the information that can be inferred about respondents and follow aggregation procedures to prevent unintentional respondent disclosure. When Colgate has a relatively small community of a particular group, IPR would only provide data that aggregates across several groups to ensure that the confidentiality of respondents is maintained. For example, Colgate has a relatively small number of students of some racial groups. As a result, in reports, race and ethnicity is generally collapsed into two groups - students of color and white students - as the population of those combined groups is large enough to avoid accidentally disclosing the identity of any respondent.

Redaction is also used to limit the accidental identification of survey participants in narrative responses. For example, if a survey respondent were to disclose the office in which they worked at Colgate, that office name would be redacted from the response. 

Survey Descriptions

  • COACHE - This survey asks about faculty satisfaction with the academic workplace, including teaching, research, and promotion and tenure.
  • COVID-19 - This survey asks about Colgate's response to and faculty's experiences pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Diversity and Equity Campus Climate Survey - This surveys asks about perceptions of Colgate's climate, how Colgate supports diversity and equity, and experiences with discrimination and harassment at Colgate.

 

  • COVID-19 - This survey asks about Colgate's response to and staff's experiences pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Diversity and Equity Campus Climate Survey - This surveys asks about perceptions of Colgate's climate, how Colgate supports diversity and equity, and experiences with discrimination and harassment at Colgate.

 

  • COVID-19 - This survey asks about Colgate's response to and students' experiences pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Diverse Learning Environments Survey - This survey asks about the campus climate and practices, with an emphasis on diversity, as well as about student learning outcomes.
  • Diversity and Equity Campus Climate Survey - This surveys asks about perceptions of Colgate's climate, how Colgate supports diversity and equity, and experiences with discrimination and harassment at Colgate.
  • Freshman Survey - This survey asks about high school experiences, reasons for attending Colgate, and students’ expectations.
  • National College Health Assessment - This survey asks about students’ health habits and physical and mental health.
  • National Survey of Student Engagement - This survey asks about opportunities on campus for students and how students spend their time.
  • Senior Survey - This survey asks about interactions with faculty members, participation in activities on campus, skills and knowledge gained, and satisfaction.
  • Sexual Assault Survey - This survey asks about perceptions and experiences related to sexual assault on campus.
  • Your First College Year Survey - This survey asks about experiences at college, students’ attitudes and beliefs, and satisfaction.