Building Community Survey — SMPH Community Pulse

Thank you to the nearly 2,000 staff members in the school who completed the SMPH Community Pulse survey in January. Your input will help chart the future of the school’s climate improvement and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. On Friday, Jan. 28, Building Community leaders and a large group representing all areas of the school began to look over the results and plan large and small action steps for improvement at the Building Community Strategic Refresh Retreat. Stay tuned during February for detailed results from the survey and in March for ideas and actions planned during the retreat.

Building Community Steering Committee

A message from the Building Community Steering Committee

We hope that you as staff members will complete this important survey, which we are administering in partnership with the University of Wisconsin Survey Center and SMPH Office of Diversity & Equity Transformation. The Building Community program organizes and sponsors the efforts that help make our school a better place to work and learn. The number one reason for conducting this survey is to hear your voice. 

The school’s requirements of assessment, evaluation, and accreditation demand that we survey learners and faculty often. But we want to hear from staff, our school’s largest population, especially because it has been some time since we have surveyed this incredibly important group. The last survey that included staff led to the creation of Building Community itself in 2018, and we are excited to use this survey to prioritize its next steps.

We realize that there is survey fatigue, but we and the newly created Office of Diversity & Equity Transformation are committed to using the survey results to drive action and change. School leaders have fully endorsed this survey and subsequent surveys of staff in order for us to gather feedback and continue the work of Building Community at SMPH. Read below for additional information on this effort.

Building Community Steering Committee

Why now?

At the end of January, planning for the next stage of the Building Community program will begin with involvement of people representing all roles, functions, and demographics in our school. Your input in this survey — along with other past surveys of students and faculty — will help planners weigh and prioritize next steps.

This is your opportunity to give your direct yet confidential thoughts to management teams. As we build our climate improvement efforts, your input will enable two-way communication so leaders can focus directly on actions to address needs discovered through survey feedback.

Over the last two years we have built an infrastructure that clarifies and supports our climate improvement efforts, including the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Presenter’s Guide and the Shared Guidelines for Professional Conduct, with work continuing on a Toolkit for Policy Equity Assessment.

Why survey only staff?

The school must regularly survey faculty and learners for a variety of needs due to requirements for assessment, evaluation, and accreditation by internal as well as external entities. Input from our valuable staff population has not been gathered for some time, and the Building Community Strategic Refresh Retreat offers the perfect opportunity to take direct and swift action based on staff feedback.

Information and feedback from faculty and learners is available from pervious surveys and the results of the SMPH Community Pulse will give a complete picture by representing staff.

What will the survey ask?

The survey is very short and will only take a few minutes to complete. It asks several questions about your experience working at SMPH, provides you an opportunity to share via an optional open-ended question, then asks three demographic questions. These short-form survey instruments are known as “pulse surveys.”

We know that people of different races and ethnicities, gender identities, and ages have different and valuable experiences and perspectives. We hope you will be comfortable completing the survey and sharing your identity in the demographic questions because answering these questions helps leaders better understand your experience and effectively target actions. However, please know these questions are optional and not required to complete the survey. And know that your responses will in no way be able to be linked to you as an individual by anyone in the school or its departments or divisions.

You may be wondering: What’s in it for me?

  • Your opinions will be shared with leaders and planners confidentially. It is your opportunity to voice your true thoughts.
  • We will share the results of the survey with you — positive and negative. We are putting as much or more effort into ongoing, two-way communication as we are into analytics.
  • Leadership is committed to acting on your feedback. Your opinions will be considered as Building Community and other action plans develop.
  • Leadership will also be honest about what can be impacted. For example, we all know that our benefits packages are set by the university, not the school. Although the school can provide input to the university and UW System about employee benefits, a school cannot make unit-level changes to benefits.

What happens after the survey?

We are committed to sharing the results of this survey with the SMPH community. We will be sharing high-level results and major themes on this landing page in late January. After further analysis, we will share more detailed results and next steps here and through email. We will also share “you said, we did” action updates of steps we have taken based on your feedback.

What if I have questions?

Email questions to buildingcommunity@med.wisc.edu. Caroline Swenson, Quality Assurance Manager, Academic Affairs, and Kaine Korzekwa, Executive and Internal Communications Manager, will answer your inquiries.

A note about confidentiality

The survey results will be most useful if staff give honest opinions — negative as well as positive — but it is understandable that they may feel at risk if they provide critical feedback. The privacy and confidentiality of respondents is of the upmost importance.

The Building Community Steering Committee and Metrics and Measurement Work Team has taken the following steps to protect respondents’ confidentiality:

  • The University of Wisconsin Survey Center (UWSC) is fielding the survey. Once the Building Community Metrics & Measurement team pulls the contact data for the school’s staff, it will be turned over to the Survey Center to manage the collection of responses, as well as follow-up reminders to complete the survey.
  • When data collection closes, the Survey Center will strip out anything that links responses to a specific individual: names, email addresses, IP addresses, etc. No one in the school will see the linked data.
  • Data will not be reported at the department or division levels. Any information you share will only be reported in aggregate form for SMPH.
  • Likewise, demographics will not be provided at a granularity that will result in a cohort of less than 10. For example, if the number of “women age 60 and older who identify as Latina” is fewer than 10, data will not be reported at that level of granularity to avoid any way to identify certain respondents.
  • Open-ended responses will be coded, with most reporting done thematically. Sometimes it is valuable to provide a particularly well-stated response as an illustration. If that is done, the response will be carefully reviewed to make certain no identifiable information is included.