Faculty Survey FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the Faculty Survey of Assessment Culture


  1. What are you asking our faculty to do?
  2. What does the survey cover?  Is the survey controversial or risky?
  3. What will I or my institution receive?  How will we benefit from participation?
  4. Why should my institution’s faculty participate?
  5. How have other institutions used the resources generated from this research?  How many have participated in the past?  What have they said about their experience?
  6. What do I need to provide?  How difficult is it to complete the information required for our faculty to participate in the study?
  7. Is the survey anonymous or confidential?  How will you protect their responses?
  8. My Institutional Review Board or administration requires an internal review of this research.  Can you help with this internal review?  Has this survey been reviewed by the Sam Houston State University Institutional Review Board?
  9. Will we receive data from this survey?
  10. What are the risks to faculty, administrators, myself, or our institution?
  11. When will the survey launch?
  12. Can we advertise this survey on our institution?
  13. Can my institution request that additional questions be added to the survey?  Can we change questions on the survey?
  14. Who is leading this research?  Who do I contact if I have more questions?

What are you asking our faculty to do?

Faculty participating in the Faculty Survey of Assessment Culture will be asked to participate in an online survey of their perspectives related to your institution’s culture of assessment.  Responses are anonymously recorded and faculty will be notified of this via a statement of informed consent prior to beginning the survey.  Most of the questions are not required to complete the survey and faculty can discontinue their participation in the survey at any time.  The average time to complete the Faculty Survey of Assessment Culture in prior administrations was seventeen minutes.

What does the survey cover?  Is the survey controversial or risky?

Most of the questions on the survey are not risky and controversial.  However, some of the questions ask faculty to assess the institution’s administration, other faculty, and staff commitment to assessment.  The survey also covers faculty members’ perceptions of institution resources for assessment, the purpose of assessment on your institution, and faculty members’ reasons for engaging in or avoiding assessment.  To reduce risk, none of the questions are required to complete the survey and faculty can discontinue their participation in the survey at any time.  A listing of the survey’s questions can be found online by clicking here.

What will I or my institution receive? How will we benefit from participation?

In addition to supporting the development of the scholarship on cultures of assessment in higher education, your institution will receive an aggregated report.  The report will offer the frequency distributions and means for all quantitative scale questions.  Your report will also contain a listing of all open ended responses and a nation-wide aggregate report that allows for useful comparisons.  In addition to this report, resources for institution dialogue about your culture of assessment will also be shared.  Reports will be available in late summer.  Please review the required Information Sharing Agreement (MS Word; PDF) for more information

Why should my institution’s faculty participate?

Participants will be making a valuable contribution to the scholarship on the understudied concept of institutional culture of assessment.  They will also be contributing to your institution’s conversation on its culture of assessment.  Additionally, participation in this survey could support faculty members' desires to engage other colleagues in dialogue about campus assessment efforts.

How have other institutions used the resources generated from this research?  How many have participated in the past?

In 2014, over 1,100 faculty from 26 institutions across the nation completed the Facutly Survey of Assessment Culture.  Prior administrations of the Survey of Assessment Culture have resulted in useful information to initiate institutional dialogue about institutional cultures of assessment.  Assessment and Institutional research directors have found the study results useful in engaging faculty about perceptions of the institution’s culture of assessment.  Participants have noted that the Survey has also supported their ability to make long-term plans and set goals for their institution’s culture of assessment.  Finally, the reports, resources, and presentations done by research staff have been useful in refining institution cultures of assessment on a number of institutions.

Testimonials from Instiuttional Leaders at Prior Participating Institutions

"Faculty were very curious about our campus' results.  This led to many great conversations about the way we do assessment and our reasons for doing it...If given the chance, we will surely participate in the study again."

~ Mark S., Assistant Vice President of Assessment and Accreditation

"The Facutly Survey of Assessment Culture Data were helpful to our institutionfor uncovering faculty perceptions about assessment, clarifying the reasons we do assessment, and improving communication about assessment."

~ Heather S., Institutional Research and Effectivness Specialist

"The faculty data helped our instituion determine which programs were more or less supportive of assessment and adjust our ways of working with each program."

~ Margie H., Director of Assessment

"Our institution was fortunate to participate in the faculty survey because we learned much about the way faculty perceive the campus approach to assessment.  We've made many policy and practice changes that have made assessment more 'faculty-friendly.'"

~Lisa S. Assessment Coordinator

What do I need to provide?  How difficult is it to complete the information required for our faculty to participate in the study?

The process for providing the contact information for the survey is relatively easy.  There are three steps to secure your institution’s participation in the faculty survey. 

  • Consider whether additional IRB approval is needed.  The Sam Houston State University Institutional Review Board has reviewed and approved this research protocol.  A letter supporting this determination can be found online by clicking here.  If additional submissions to your institution’s IRB are necessary, please notify Dr. Matthew Fuller at assessmentculture@shsu.edu prior to February 9, 2015.  Within reason, staff members from Sam Houston State University are willing to support your institutional review processes. Due: February 9, 2015.
  • Submit a listing of the email addresses of all faculty teaching a credit generating course in the Spring 2015 semester.  Use the contact file template. Supply only the  institutional email addresses for all faculty teaching a credit generating course in the spring 2015 semester.  Limited demographic data for faculty will be included in the survey.  Attach your faculty contact listing to an email addressed to assessmentculture@shsu.eduQuestions or concerns about this sampling approach?  Need special assistance or consideration?  Contact Dr. Matthew Fuller at assessmentculture@shsu.edu. Due: February 23, 2015.
  • Sign and submit the Information Sharing Agreement.  This form outlines the kinds of data SHSU will retain from your faculty members’ responses, how these data will be used (solely for research purposes), and the nature of the information and services you will receive in return.  This form can be found online fill-able MS Word and PDF forms.  You may either email your signed form to assessmentculture@shsu.edu or fax it to 936.294.3886. Due: February 23, 2015.

Is the survey anonymous or confidential?  How will you protect their responses?

For each institution participating in the study, the listing of faculty invited to participate in the Survey will be confidential and will not be used beyond inviting and reminding faculty to participate in the survey.  Faculty responses to the survey will be strictly anonymous

My Institutional Review Board or administration requires an internal review of this research.  Can you help with this internal review?  Has this survey been reviewed by the Sam Houston State University Institutional Review Board?

The Survey of Assessment Culture has been approved by the Sam Houston State University Institutional Review Board (Protocol Number 2013-08-11722).  A copy of this determination letter can be found online by clicking here.  If additional, institution-specific reviews are necessary, the request for this information should be made by email (assessmentculture@shsu.edu) as soon as possible, but no later than February 9, 2015.  Your request should clearly state the kinds of internal review required, providing a website or guidance for engaging in the review, and offer a contact number and email for the Institutional Review Board representative or administrator overseeing the internal review.  Please also include any special instructions necessary to support a successful review of this effort.  As soon as notification is made, SHSU staff will complete the necessary paperwork and submit it to the appropriate institutional contact.  All institutional reviews must be completed in advance of March 1, 2015 in order to ensure that faculty contact information can be received and used for the survey invitation by this deadline.

Will we receive data from this survey?

No.  Currently individual campuses will not receive a data file for this study.  However, you will receive a report of your faculty members’ aggregated responses to quantitative data and a print out of open ended responses.  This is done to ensure a level of integrity and comfort in the faculty population being studied.

What are the risks to faculty, administrators, myself, or our institution?

Though the current study has no more than minimal risks, all research has risks.  Some faculty may find the questions challenging to answer.  Administrators may find the survey effort challenging as well, particularly if the topic of the institution’s culture of assessment is contentious or difficult to discuss at your institution.  For some, allowing faculty to respond to the survey’s questions may outweigh the perceived benefits of engaging in the survey.  The survey is meant to spark dialogue and contribute to the scholarship on the often advocated, but seldom understood topic of cultures of assessment in higher education.  However, if reputational or political risks outweigh the potential gain, no institution or individual faculty member is required to participate in the voluntary research.  Finally, there is a risk for participants’ identities to be revealed.  The survey will record responses anonymously, so unless participants identify themselves through demographic or open ended data, participants’ identity cannot be revealed. All participants will be notified of these standards via a statement of informed consent. 

When will the survey launch?

The Faculty Survey of Assessment Culture is tentatively scheduled to launch the week of March 2, 2015.

Can we advertise this survey on our institution?

Yes!  Local advertising the Survey of Assessment Culture to faculty is highly encouraged.  We ask that you offer no more than two specific advertising efforts.  Most often, institution leaders email all selected faculty prior to the survey launching.  Institution leaders have also found it successful to send reminder emails during the survey’s administration.  We ask that you not provide any incentives for participation the survey as this is not approved through our survey protocol and may influence responses for reasons unrelated to the topic under study.  A sample of emails or letters for distribution to your faculty are available upon request.

Can my institution request that additional questions be added to the survey?  Can we change questions on the survey?

No. The Survey of Assessment Culture instruments have undergone expert reviews, pilot studies, and strategic improvements to explore a theory of assessment culture.  At this time, specific changes or additions to the survey are not possible, though we are investigating this possibility in the future.

Who is leading this research?  Who do I contact if I have more questions?

Dr. Matthew Fuller, Assistant Professor of Higher Education Administration and Assistant Dean of Assessment at Sam Houston State University is the Principal Investigator for this annual study.  He may be reached at assessmentculture@shsu.edu or 936.294.1147.