Jan. 14, 2010

ISU is a great place to learn, work

by Paula Van Brocklin

One year ago, staff from the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost asked ISU students, faculty and staff to participate in a second University Life Survey to determine whether Iowa State is a "great place to learn and work." The same survey also had been distributed in 2007. The 2009 results are in, and the news is positive.

Better response rate

The 2009 survey was distributed to 29,115 faculty, staff and students via e-mail using an outside survey vendor. A total of 5,886 individuals responded, a response rate of just over 20 percent. In 2007, 4,879 individuals responded, more than 1,000 fewer than 2009. The upswing in 2009 is credited to a direct e-mail link to the survey versus the 2007 option, which required survey-takers to first log into AccessPlus before reaching the survey link.

ISU is a great place

As in 2007, the 2009 survey results show that a majority of faculty, staff and students think Iowa State is a great place to learn and work. In 2009, 89.3 percent agreed or strongly agreed that ISU is a great place to learn, a slight increase from 86.5 percent in 2007.

A higher number of individuals said ISU is a great place to work in 2009 versus 2007, 72.1 percent compared to 60 percent. Merit employees agreed most with this statement (87.3 percent), followed by professional and scientific staff (85.8 percent) and faculty (73.6 percent).

Respondents also were asked to choose the top three of nine university life sub goals they believed were most important to the university. The three goals selected in 2009 were the same as 2007. They are:

  • Recruit and retain faculty, staff and students who are dedicated to individual and organizational excellence and achievement.
  • Foster an environment in which all members of the university community can contribute their fullest while pursuing satisfying personal lives.
  • Achieve a sustainable balance between responsibilities and resources that will allow the university to efficiently and effectively realize its vision.

Associate provost Susan Carlson said university leaders are pleased with the survey's outcome.

"We were pleased with the results of this survey and the increased contentedness of our faculty," Carlson said. "It shows that the efforts we've taken to make this a better place and climate for people to work in have been successful."

A summary of the 2009 survey results is available on the executive vice president and provost's web site.

There are no plans to distribute this survey again since it's tied to the university's current strategic plan, which ends this year. However, a similar survey could be offered in the future.