It's been nearly four years since UCT hosted its first institutional climate survey, probing what academic and professional staff think and feel about the university as an employer and institution. A new survey wants to see if we still feel the same way
The Institutional Climate Survey of October and November 2003 took a long, hard look at the university, both as an institution of higher learning and as an employer.
It was, understandably, very broad, covering areas such as fairness, collegiality, rewards and recognition, participation, communication and trust. The aim of the survey was to see how staff experienced transformation at the university.
It was a revealing exercise. Through it UCT learned, for example, that academics were generally upbeat about working conditions, although they were not so happy with the lack of recognition for good work. Similarly, PASS were pleased with the work environment, but felt their work was not always recognised and duly rewarded.
Many - academic staff and PASS - said they experienced racial discrimination, however, as well as high levels of gender discrimination.
Now UCT is ready to see if sentiments - and the institution - have changed since then. On 3 May, academics and professional and support staff will all receive via email an electronic questionnaire - it should take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete - going over much the same ground, but also looking at changes that have taken place since then.
A paper-based survey will also be made available to staff who do not have access to a personal computer. In addition to this, a mixed-methods approach will be adopted, where focus group interviews will also be held with staff.
Responses will be measured against those of the yardstick 2003 survey, however.
It's hoped that a lot will have happened at UCT since then, prompted by comments in 2003. For example, UCT adjusted the salaries for PASS staff to bring these in line with the market in 2004. That same year Council approved the university's Employment Equity Policy. UCT has since established transformation committees across the university. And the university has also launched its Khuluma and Mamela workshops, tackling exactly those thorny issues that came up in the survey.
The first section of the questionnaire will cover staff members' personal experiences and opinions. The second asks questions about the experiences of staff with students. The third sections deals with general aspects of working at UCT. The fourth comprises demographic questions, and the final section is for general comments.
The University has commissioned the services of an external research agency called Sekao Headways to design and implement the 2007 climate survey.
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