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University Policy 51

Conducting Surveys

Formerly Executive Memorandum 94-108
Initially Approved: January 1, 1978
Revised: July 3, 1978
Revised: June 1, 1986
Revised: April 15, 1987
Revised: June 1, 1999
Revised: December 17, 2003

Policy Topic: Governance and Administration
Administering Office: University Planning

This policy exists to coordinate the many surveys conducted on campus, protect the rights of those being surveyed and the instructional processes of the University, as well as to have official approval where some organization, unit, or individual of the University is conducting a paper or electronic survey in the name of the University. This policy shall not be used to unreasonably restrict academic endeavors or otherwise violate the principles of academic freedom as set out in The Code. This policy is not meant to infringe upon the rights of any group or individual wanting to conduct a survey which does not involve the use of University resources, letterhead, or any other indications of University approval or sponsorship.

The following are the categories of paper or electronic surveys which come within this review:

  1. Surveys and inquiries which are addressed to a major part of the faculty, staff, and/or students of the University and are conducted by an official body of the institution or by an individual faculty, staff, or student representative.
  2. Surveys conducted on or off campus in the name of the University by an employee or organized unit of the University.

Surveys by an individual faculty or staff member or student not falling into one of the categories above are exempt from this policy. The procedure to be followed in obtaining permission to conduct surveys subject to this policy originating in University departments is:

  1. The survey proposal will go from the originator to the Department or Division Head.
  2. The Department or Division Head will forward one copy of the survey proposal to the Office of University Planning and another copy to the Dean, in the area of Academic Affairs, or the appropriate Vice Chancellor for all other areas.
  3. The Dean will forward his copy and recommendation to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The Vice Chancellors will route all survey proposals to the Director of University Planning with their recommendation. The Director of University Planning will be responsible for the necessary consultation in regard to providing information on surveys and obtaining any necessary approval at this level.
  4. If the survey is part of a research project which requires approval by the Institutional Review Board, the survey will be submitted directly to the committee. The originator does not need to submit the survey to the Department or Division Head.
  5. Surveys developed by other University organizations or units, including committees, that do not report through a Vice Chancellor or equivalent will be forwarded directly to the Office of University Planning.

Surveys which are to be administered through the web are subject to the additional criteria:

  1. Electronic surveys not related to university business shall not be developed by the University Planning Office or the IT division.
  2. Electronic surveys shall contain a statement concerning the privacy of the responder's responses, how the data from the survey will be analyzed, and who will see the results of the survey. In addition, an email address and telephone number should be provided as contact information in case of questions or technical problems.
  3. Web surveys shall be compatible with the most widely used web browsers.
  4. Electronic surveys shall meet ADA, Level 1 Standards for accessibility as well as IT policies or guidelines. These guidelines are available by contacting the IT division and the Office of Public Information for policies and guidelines.
  5. When possible, all surveys should be encrypted with an encryption method, such as secured socket layer (SSL) that has been approved by the IT Division, to assure the responder that the information that they type will not be viewed by anyone else. All databases used to store data should be in a secured location on a university-managed server.
  6. Electronic surveys should be designed to ensure that when the responder completes the survey, a message appears indicating that the survey has been completed and transmitted.
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