Shared Governance Committee conducts campus-wide survey through Nov. 26

The Shared Governance and Communication Committee is conducting a survey of Central Michigan University employees and select student leaders.

Mary Senter, director of the Center for Applied and Rural Studies, said the survey was sent out on Nov. 12 and 13. Results of the survey will go to the committee before the end of the semester, she said.

According to a news release, when University President George Ross and the Academic Senate formed the new SGCC in spring 2011, one of the charges was to conduct a new survey. Senter said this survey will follow-up on a survey that was conducted more than a decade ago in the late 1990s.

“The general topic is the same, but there are no questions that are the same,” she said.

The SGCC is co-chaired by Jim Hageman, special assistant to the president, and Jim McDonald, Academic Senate chairman and professor of science education in the department of teacher education and professional development.

McDonald said it’s necessary to do a new survey because many things have changed at CMU over the years and the administration now is not the same administration from more than a decade ago.

“It’s just time to take the pulse,” he said.

McDonald said this is the fifth shared governance committee CMU has had in 20 years. He said it’s important for SGCC to get input from faculty, staff, administration and student leadership on how to improve communication and shared governance.

“We (people in the committee) don’t want to make these decisions in isolation,” he said.

Senter said the survey asks people about their consumption of communication from the university. She said CMU has several ways of communicating with people, and the survey asks which types of communication people use. The survey also asks people for their views about proposed changes in communication, she said.

McDonald said the survey will try to gauge how participants get their CMU news; whether through emails, the website, Central Michigan Life, open forums, Board of Trustee meetings or other media.

Some questions in the survey ask participants who should be involved in making certain types of decisions, Senter said, like admissions policy and the mission and goals of the university.

Most of the questions are closed-ended, Senter said, including "yes" and "no" questions, questions with responses ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree, and questions with responses in terms of a five-point scale.

Senter said there also are some open-ended questions where people are asked what suggestions they have for improving communication. Depending on the amount of time someone has to take the survey and how strongly they feel on the issue, some people may respond with a couple of words and others might write an essay, she said.

“There are at least a couple of occasions where people can provide suggestions and feedback,” she said.

McDonald said some questions are closed-ended but time-specific to see if people feel the same way now compared to two years ago before the events of last year, referring to the faculty work stoppage, bargaining, votes of no confidence for the president and provost, the new website, the renovated Events Center and Associate Vice President of University Communications Renee Walker resigning.

“Partly why the committee was formed was because of what happened last year,” he said.

McDonald said a lot of people perceive the problems related to shared governance and communication as being all related to bargaining, but he would disagree. He said maybe some issues came out because of bargaining, but he believes they existed before then.

“Did some of these problems exist before last year? Personally, I think they did,” he said.

The survey will look at whether people’s perceptions changed before and after those events, McDonald said.

“Are you more aware of things now than you were last year, or were you aware of those things two years ago?” he said.

The survey will close on Nov. 26.


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