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Major undergraduate survey underway

Starting this week, the MIT Planning Office is conducting the second Cycles Survey of the entire undergraduate community, paralleling surveys at Yale, Dartmouth, Cornell, and Columbia.

In 1996, the Planning Office conducted the first Cycles Survey, which was developed by a consortium of private colleges and universities. It asked questions focused on issues of satisfaction with administrative departments and services, community life, harassment, academic advancement, writing and computer usage. The resulting information has been very useful and continues to be used in a variety of ways. The Task Force on Student Life and Learning, the Committee on the Writing Requirement and committees looking at dining and housing issues have used the results extensively.

Data collected from this year's survey of undergraduates will allow MIT to compare itself with its peers and give it the ability to measure how students have been affected by changes made since 1996.

Although the majority of the Cycles Survey is common to all the participating colleges and universities, the Institute has included almost 30 questions which are specific to MIT. These questions focus on the residential experience and issues of diversity. The data received from undergraduates will be provided immediately to the groups who are working on the residential redesign.

The survey is being administered in both printed and online formats. Undergraduates who prefer a traditional paper format may request a printed survey from the Planning Office by contacting Bea Frain at x8-5877 or The electronic survey has been adapted for use at MIT by Gary Dryfoos of Information Systems and the Planning Office and will be available from March 29 through April 30,

Participation in this survey is completely voluntary. Participants may answer as many or as few questions as they would like and may stop at any time. The data will be used in summary form and all individual answers will be kept confidential.

For more information on the project, contact Lydia Snover in the Planning Office, Rm 12-156, x3-5838,

A version of this article appeared in the March 31, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 24).

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