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Last chance for faculty to respond to quality of life survey

MIT's 2008 Faculty Quality of Life Survey is currently under way. More than half of faculty and instructional staff have already answered the survey. The web survey, sponsored by the Office of the Provost and administered through the Office of Institutional Research, addresses a number of important faculty issues, such as views about the promotion and tenure process, mentoring and departmental climate.

The web survey asks faculty about the work they do, how well it is supported and the ways in which life outside MIT meshes with their work responsibilities. The last survey of this type, administered in 2004, achieved a 73 percent response rate; MIT hopes to exceed that rate this year. A high response rate will maximize the usefulness of the data, permitting analysis at the school and departmental level.

Among other groups on campus, the MIT Initiative on Faculty Race and Diversity will utilize the survey results extensively. The Initiative will use the survey to examine the climate for underrepresented minority faculty as well as to analyze the impact of race, gender and ethnicity/cultural differences on various aspects of faculty life. Targeted reminders have been sent to the minority faculty community encouraging their response to the survey as a critical part of the study.

Although the survey alone is not expected to be completely indicative of the climate and experiences of faculty at MIT, it is anticipated that a great deal of valuable information will be obtained from it, as the survey covers a broad range of questions about faculty life, from teaching to research to outside activities. The Initiative will rely on the qualitative interviews with faculty to explore more in-depth questions and issues on race. Two research scholars have been hired to undertake the interviews.

The perspective of each faculty member is unique, so it is crucial to hear from all faculty. MIT recognizes that the survey takes some time to complete, roughly 30-40 minutes. Faculty may start the survey and return to it at a later time. Previously submitted answers will be displayed for faculty to edit if they wish.

Faculty may access the survey by entering their e-mail address here:

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 27, 2008 (download PDF).

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