Frequently Asked Questions

Before responding to the survey

What is this survey?

The Survey on Campus Culture and Community seeks to understand the experiences of each and every member of the Clark community. The surveys asks key questions about sense of belonging, experiences around discrimination and exclusion, experiences in the classroom or workplace, and satisfaction with the support services offered by the university.

Why is the University conducting this survey?

Clark is interested in understanding the overall culture of the campus community, and to what degree it is informed by values of inclusivity and acceptance of differences. We are also hoping to identify the successful strategies we have employed to support members of the Clark community, in order to further develop these practices, while understanding the gaps in our support systems, so that we can generate new ways to help members of various social groups and backgrounds succeed at Clark.

Who takes the survey?

Any undergraduate student or graduate student (even if you are taking a leave of absence for a semester or more), staff member, faculty member (including visiting and adjunct faculty), and senior administrator is eligible to participate in the study, and highly encouraged to do so.

Does this survey apply to me?

If you are a student, staff member, faculty member, or senior administrator at Clark, then yes! This survey does apply to you and we are deeply interested in hearing what you have to say.

Why should I take this survey?

In order to understand the overall culture at Clark, and how individuals from various backgrounds and viewpoints experience it, we need to hear from all members of the Clark community. This is your chance to be heard, and to have input in key decisions and major policies that will be developed to benefit the Clark community. Your voice will serve to advocate for yourself and others like you.

Who is administering the survey?

The Clark University Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) is the campus coordinator of this research.

Clark has partnered with the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at the University of California, Los Angeles in developing and administering the survey. As the coordinator of the nation’s largest and oldest empirical study of higher education, HERI is a leading expert in this field. HERI will administer the survey and be responsible for all data collection. Clark University will not handle any individual respondent’s data in any way.

When does the survey take place?

The survey launches October 2nd and will be live until December 8th. We encourage you to respond to the survey sooner rather than later, as the Fall semester becomes busier towards the end and your chances of completing the survey and winning a prize will be higher the earlier you do so (for incentives, see next questions).

Where do I find the survey?

Our third party survey administrator, HERI (see earlier question) will send you an email on October 2nd with a unique link to a survey. Use that link and only that link to access the survey. You can click on the link in the email or copy it and paste it in your browser.

Are there incentives for completing the survey?

Yes, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will be offering the following incentives:

  • One Apple iPad mini 4
  • Two Fitbit - Flex 2 Activity Trackers
  • Two Amazon Gift Cards worth $50 each
  • Three Barnes & Noble’s Gift Cards worth $20 each
  • Three Clark Store Gift Cards worth $20 each
  • Five Acoustic Java Gift Cards worth $20 each

All respondents who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for these prizes. Clark will not select the winners, our third party survey administrator HERI will do so and provide us with the names of winners. The ODI will reach out to the winners to award the prizes.

How long will the survey take?

It will typically take 30 minutes to complete the survey, although individual progress will vary by how quickly you move through the questions. If you are unable to complete the survey in one sitting you can simply exit the survey by closing your browser whenever you want to, and reopen the survey link at a later time to continue from where you last ended the survey.

Am I required to participate?

No, you are not. Participation in this survey is strictly voluntary, and you are free to refuse to respond to the survey, skip any questions you do not want to respond to, or decide to stop participating in the survey at any point.

Will my answers be anonymous?

Yes, your responses will be fully anonymous. Clark will not be administering the survey, HERI has full responsibility for doing so. HERI will not be associating survey responses with names or email addresses, instead responses will be linked to a unique anonymous survey link that is randomly generated by a computer software. You are not expected to submit any identifying information (e.g. name, email address, phone number, Clark email address. Clark ID number) and are actively encouraged to avoid responding to questions with highly identifiable information (e.g. mentioning the name of the office you work for if you are a team of less than 5). Survey questions have been designed to avoid querying respondents on specific topics that can be traced back to you. The data that HERI will download and analyze will be scrubbed of any information that could be traced back to respondents. HERI follows certain guidelines when it comes to safeguarding the rights of survey respondents, of which one is that they will not report on the findings of any group of less than 5 respondents. The data that HERI will supply Clark will be fully anonymized, to prevent any member of the Clark community from identifying respondents. Part of HERI’s role as an external expert in this project is to ensure the anonymity of all respondents.

How were the questions developed?

The questions were developed using a number of strategies. The ODI collaborated with HERI in identifying relevant questions from a number of empirically-validated, national-level surveys HERI conducts. These questions were augmented by additional questions from survey instruments other institutions have used in the past, such as those of the University of Chicago Diversity Survey. All selected questions were tailored to Clark’s context. Clark’s Strategic Analytics and Institutional Research Office (STAIR) provided input throughout the survey development phase. The survey instrument underwent seven rounds of review at Clark, of which two rounds included broad participation of faculty, staff, and students. The first of such rounds included members of the President’s Diversity Advisory Council, a body of elected members of staff, faculty and students who advise the institution on matters of diversity and inclusion. The second collaborative review included 15 members of the undergraduate and graduate student body, faculty, and staff who responded to the entire survey and submitted their feedback.

Is this the same as filing a report of discrimination or harassment?

No, this is not the same as filling a report of discrimination or harassment. If you wish to file a report—with your name or anonymously—you may do so here.

Can I still provide feedback to the University if I do not want to participate in this survey?

Yes, you may. While responding to the survey gives us the ability to compare your responses to others and conduct statistical analyses, we welcome your input in any form. Please feel free to contact Sheree Marlowe, the Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion, or Themal Ellawala, Research and Programs Coordinator at the ODI, to share your thoughts.

Has Clark Conducted surveys such as this in the past?

Clark has conducted similar surveys in the past, such as the Consortium on Higher Education and Success (CHAS) Campus Climate Survey and the Faculty Morale Survey. What is unique about the current survey is that this is the first time that Clark is using one survey to assess the experiences of students, faculty, and staff. This design enables us to compare the experiences of these different groups, and develop more robust and targeted responses.

While responding to the survey

Why do some demographic questions contain a very large number of response options?

This is in order to get as accurate a picture of the various social groups represented at Clark as possible. One of the key aims of the survey is to assess how members of different social groups, especially historically marginalized groups, experience life and opportunities for success at Clark. Offering a large range of response options in demographic questions gives us as the ability to conduct this analysis with more finesse and accuracy.

Why are you asking about these sensitive topics?

We ask questions about sensitive topics because they may point to significant experiences that you or others members of the Clark community may have had, especially experiences that have interfered with success in academics or your career, and prevented you from feeling fully safe and comfortable at Clark. It is important for us to collect information about these topics so that the institution can develop policies, protocols, and programs to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future and to better support those who suffer from them. We sincerely regret any discomfort or distress such question may cause, but believe that asking these questions is of vital importance.

What should I do if I become upset answering these questions?

If you experience any distress while responding to the survey, please contact the following confidential resources:

For Undergraduate and Graduate Students:
Clark University Center for Counseling and Personal Growth (CPG)
501 Park Avenue,
Worcester, MA 01610
508-793-7678
counseling@clarku.edu

Dean of Students Office
ext. 7423 or 508-793-7423

For all respondents:

Community Healthlink Mental Health Emergency Hotline
866-549-2142
Crisis Text Line: Text "GO" to 741-741

Learn more

My survey link is not working, what do I do?

If you experience any technical issues while accessing the survey, please do not hesitate to contact:

Themal Ellawala
ccs@clarku.edu
508-793–7350.

Alternatively, you may contact:

HERI
heri@ucla.edu
310-825-1925

I cannot complete the survey in one sitting, what do I do?

If you are unable to complete the survey in one sitting you can simply exit the survey by closing your browser whenever you want to, and reopen the survey link at a later time to continue from where you last ended the survey.

I am concerned that my responses will make me identifiable

Every step has been taken to ensure that your responses remain anonymous. Respondents are encouraged to skip over any questions they do not feel comfortable responding to; this will not jeopardize your participation in the research project. Clark will play no part in the collection and analysis of your data. One of the reasons for engaging the expertise of a third party consultant (HERI at UCLA) is to preserve the anonymity of your data. HERI will not use any identifying information to track your progress through the survey, rather a randomized, anonymous, computer-generated link will be used for this purpose. This link will be scrubbed from the data as soon as the survey closes, thus ensuring that there is no way to link your data to your identity. HERI follows several guidelines in preserving data anonymity during the analysis and reporting phase, such as not reporting on data with a sample size smaller than 5. With regard to qualitative responses, HERI will scrub any potentially identifying information before including quotes in the final report. Clark’s Strategic Analytics and Institutional Research Office (STAIR) and the President’s Diversity Advisory Council (PDAC) will also provide guidance on preserving the anonymity of data when reporting findings to the Clark community. Finally, the multiple steps taken to preserve the anonymity of the data were approved by the Clark Committee for the Rights of Human Participants in Research and Training Programs (IRB) as sufficient. If you have any further concerns or questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact Themal Ellawala at ccs@clarku.edu or 508-793–7350.

I have responded to some questions, but I no longer want to participate in this research

Participation in this survey is strictly voluntary, and you may choose to withdraw from it at any point. If you choose to withdraw from the survey and have concerns that you would like to discuss (in an anonymous manner if you wish to do so) please contact Themal Ellawala at ccs@clarku.edu or 508-793–7350.

After responding to the survey

What will Clark University do with the results?

We will report our findings to the key decision makers on campus, such as the Board of Trustees, the Senior Leadership Committee, and Deans of various campus constituent groups. Findings will also be disseminated to the broader campus community through public fora and digital means (e.g. ODI website, Clark social media platforms). These results will be used to foster conversations about our community and campus culture, and to develop policies, protocols, and programs to build upon our successes as well as to address gaps in our support systems.

What will be included in the final summary reports?

The data that will be included in the final summary forms will be reported by demographics and categories (e.g. students with certain disabilities/different abilities, college seniors, faculty who are not tenured). These summary reports will record the experiences of community members belonging to such social groups (e.g. sense of belonging, access to opportunities, experiences of discrimination). At no instance will the quantitative data be specific to a single individual, nor contain any identifying information (e.g. names, email addresses, ID numbers etc.). HERI follows certain guidelines when it comes to safeguarding the rights of survey respondents, of which one is that they will not report on the findings of any group of less than 5 respondents.

Will the survey results be shared with the campus community?

We will report our findings to the key decision makers on campus, such as the Board of Trustees, Senior Leadership Committee, and Deans of various campus constituent groups. Findings will also be disseminated to the broader campus community through public for and digital means (e.g. ODI website, Clark social media platforms).

I still have questions.

We are happy to answer them! Please contact Themal Ellawala at ccs@clarku.edu or 508-793–7350.