Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are you asking our faculty, administrators, or student affairs staff to do?

    Research participants in a 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 confidentially recorded, and participants will be notified of this via a statement of informed consent at the beginning of the survey. Most of the questions are not required to complete the survey and participants can discontinue their participation in a survey at any time. The average time to complete any of the three Surveys of Assessment Culture in prior administrations was 23 minutes. 

    Samples of initial and reminder emails containing instructions and the link which will be sent from our team can be found here. 

    A draft of an explanation email for the assessment coordinator to send participants before the survey launches can be found here.

  • Who is the target population for the Faculty Survey of Assessment Culture?

    We define a faculty member according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics definition: instruct students in a wide variety of academic and technical subjects beyond the high school level.

    For further information on the Faculty Survey, click here.

  • Who is the target population for the Administrators Survey of Assessment Culture?

    Determining who is an administrative staff member can be a challenge. We define an administrator according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ definition: An administrator is anyone who manages the short- and long-term functional operations of a college or university. Within reason, institutions may determine who is contained in this survey population. However, we advise that institutions survey more individuals rather than fewer. Ensure that as many administrative team members are included, regardless of their rank or position.

    Again, student affairs staff should not be included in this contact file as they are surveyed under the Student Affairs Survey of Assessment Culture.

    For further information on the Administrators Survey, click here.

  • Who is the target population for the Student Affairs Survey of Assessment Culture?

    We define a student affairs employee according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics definition: Plan, direct, or coordinate research, instructional, student administration and services, and other educational activities at postsecondary institutions, including universities, colleges, and junior and community colleges.

    For further information on the Student Affairs Survey, click here.

  • What are the timelines for registration and survey administration?

    The timeline for the Administrators Survey of Assessment Culture, the Student Affairs Survey of Assessment Culture, the Faculty Survey of Assessment Culture is located under the Registration Tab.

  • What do the surveys cover? Are the surveys controversial or risky?

    Most of the questions on the Surveys of Assessment Culture are neither risky nor controversial. However, some of the questions ask participants to assess their institution’s administration, other employees, and staff commitment to assessment. The survey also covers participants’ perceptions of institutional resources for assessment, the purpose of assessment at your institution, and reasons for engaging in or avoiding assessment. To reduce risk, none of the questions are required to complete the survey and participants can discontinue their participation in the survey at any time.

  • What costs are associated with each survey?

    Costs associated with the survey can be found here.

  • What forms of payment are accepted?

    Sam Houston State University currently accept credit cards, purchase order, and checks. For guidance pertaining to payments please contact us.

  • What must my institution submit to register for participation in a Survey of Assessment Culture?

    Instructions can be found under the Registration Tab.

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

    Participating institutions receive some of the best data and reports pertaining to faculty and staff perceptions about assessment at their institution. For every survey in which your institution participates, you will receive a report detailing the means, frequencies, and survey administration details. This report also provides data from open ended questions on the survey. You will then receive a data file and code book (in MS Excel format) for all questions on the survey. These data files include any additional questions requested by participating institutions. Click on this link for a sample of an institution's Mean and Frequencies Report.

    Individuals interested additional analyses should contact us to determine how we can best serve your needs.

  • Why should my institution participate in this research?

    Participants will be making a valuable contribution to the understudied concept of institutional culture of assessment. They will also be contributing to your institution’s conversation on its culture of assessment and support employees, administrators, and staff members' desires to engage other colleagues in dialogue about campus assessment efforts. You will receive valuable feedback from research participants on the important topic of assessment on your campus with which you can plan for improvements. 

    Institutions have found this data tremendously useful in preparing for and engaging in various institutional processes such as strategic planning, accreditation, research, or visioning exercises.

  • 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?

    Since 2011, over 5,100 employees from hundreds of institutions across the nation have completed the Faculty 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 several institutions. Check out our Testimonials page for insight on past experiences.

  • 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 registration and administration periods (Spring, Summer, and Fall) in any given year. More information on how to complete registration can be found under the Registration tab.

  • Are the Surveys anonymous or confidential? How will you protect participant responses?

    For each institution participating in the study, the listing of faculty, administrators, or staff invited to participate in the survey will be confidential and will not be used beyond inviting and reminding faculty to participate in the survey.

    Responses to all Surveys will be collected in strictly confidential fashion. Invitations to participate in the survey are confidentially sent out, and once employees complete the survey, their responses will be recorded as confidential entries and their identifying information from the recordings will be deleted from the data files.

    Research participants will be notified of this in the Surveys’ Statements of Informed Consent. Participating institutions’ names may be shared in reports and on websites. In cases of open-ended questions, it should be the participant's understanding that they may forfeit their anonymity if they choose to include identifiable content.

  • 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 is available upon request. If additional, institution-specific reviews are necessary, the request for this information should be made by email ( as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we are unable to complete IRB protocols on behalf of other institutions but will be happy to provide information and support for those interested in submitting a protocol for their institution.

  • Will we receive data from this survey?

    Yes. A data file (in MS Excel format) and a codebook will be sent to all participating institutions.

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

    Though the current study has no more than minimal risks, all research has risks. Some research participants may find the questions challenging to answer. Participants 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 participants 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 participants are required to participate in the voluntary research.

    Finally, there is a risk for participants’ identities to be revealed. The survey will record responses confidentially, so unless participants identify themselves through demographic or open-ended data, participants’ identities cannot be revealed. All participants will be notified of these standards via a Statement of Informed Consent.

  • Can we advertise this survey on our institution?

    Yes! Locally advertising the Survey of Assessment Culture through speeches, emails, communications, etc. is highly encouraged. We ask that you not provide any monetary incentives for participation in 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 email to send to potential participants before the survey launches may be found here.

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

    Yes. Up to 16 additional questions can be added to the end of each survey for a fee of $500 per survey. Instructions for supplying these additional questions are included on the Registration Page. Since this research effort is an ongoing, longitudinal, nationwide study, we are unable to change questions or responses to core questions.

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

    Dr. Matthew Fuller, Associate Professor of Higher Education Administration and Director of the Higher Education Leadership Doctoral Program at Sam Houston State University is the Principal Investigator for this annual study. He may be reached at or 936.294.1865