The Academic Senate approved a campus survey to guide the spring town hall meeting at its February 24 meeting despite objections from the administration.
“This is one more opportunity to hear the faculty and staff’s voices stemming directly from some of our discussions that we’ve had and opening that up to the rest of the campus in terms of getting a consensus on positive solutions,” Melissa Michelson, chair of the Town Hall Committee, said.
“We’re trying to find a way to bridge a gap between the administration and faculty,” said town hall committee member Kristin Pilon. “There seems to be a big rift. There are bad feelings, there is mistrust, and there is a sense of fair play not being honored. This is an opportunity for people of different backgrounds to get together.”
The administration’s response to the survey was that it is unnecessary.
Valerie Wardlaw, interim director of public relations, said the distribution of the campus climate survey is duplicative and outside of any consultation or involvement of the Institutional Planning and Research Office (IPRO).
On March 19, the college will distribute a survey of its own: a staff-wide campus climate survey.
“I’m not measuring campus climate,” Michelson said. “Theirs is going to do that. Ours is to get information to help guide us in the town hall.”
Senator Gloria Horton was concerned about survey fatigue and the number of surveys the faculty has been asked to complete this year.
“I feel that there is an advantage being taken here, where I am being used just to be a warm body for a statistic,” Horton said.
Senator David Cuatt disagreed.
“I have heard about survey fatigue, but I have also heard people tell me ‘thank goodness I can finally say what I think about all this.’ It’s nice that we’re being heard,” he said.
Wardlaw said that IPRO is the college’s resident resource and expert on the development of surveys and the Board of Trustees would ask that the Academic Senate work within the existing system.
“The reason why I can’t go through IPRO is because it’s very problematic getting information from them,” Michelson said. “My requests are often met with hostility, unprofessionalism and unwillingness.”
At the College Council meeting, Dr. Rocha knocked the Campus Town Hall Survey for not being independent while discussing the administration’s upcoming climate campus survey.
“Any survey that comes out of the campus community whether faculty, staff or administration is not independent,” Rocha said. “It is important of any survey to ensure the integrity of the survey both in terms of whether the questions are independent and who are the surveyors.”
Michelson said that the Academic Senate has every right to conduct town halls and surveys.
According to Michelson, 170 surveys have been received as of Friday March 7.