Survey deadline for eligible employees is December 15

A first-ever universitywide survey to assess, prevent and effectively respond to harassment among employees is underway at Rutgers.

Led by Rutgers Associate Professor Sarah McMahon and her research team at the Center for Research on Ending Violence and sponsored by the Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Academic and Workplace Behaviors and Environment Survey will be open until December 15. Eligible employees can access the survey here.

Rutgers Today talked with Prabhas Moghe, executive vice president for Academic Affairs, and Sarah McMahon about why the university is undertaking this survey for the first time and why the participation of all eligible employees is so crucial.

Why is it important for every eligible employee at Rutgers to take the Academic and Workplace Behaviors and Environment Survey? 

Prabhas Moghe: This survey will help Rutgers assess, prevent, and effectively respond to gender-based and other forms of harassment. We would like to hear from as many faculty and staff members as possible so we have a more complete and representative set of data and insights that will inform the actions the university can thoughtfully undertake to respond to what is learned.

How will the findings be used to help make Rutgers a better place to work and learn? 

Prabhas Moghe: At Rutgers, we are committed to creating a welcoming, safe and inclusive climate for all members of our community. Similar surveys in the past were directed to students. With this research, we are expanding to faculty and staff to better understand the experiences and perceptions of the larger campus community. The information will be used to help drive the university’s efforts to help inform and shape prevention programming, policy development and resource allocation decisions on campus.

When you participate in this confidential survey, your input will have a direct impact on reporting policies and prevention programs at Rutgers.

If I have not experienced gender-based or other forms of harassment, why should I take the time to fill out the survey? 

Prabhas Moghe: Surveys of other institutions and organizations indicate the widespread prevalence of gender-based harassment and the systematic underreporting of these experiences. The more members of the Rutgers community who complete the survey, the more confident we can be in the accuracy and representativeness of the data. Everyone’s contribution is critical to helping Rutgers assess, prevent and effectively respond to harassment among employees and help strengthen the development of an inclusive, welcoming workplace culture.

Your participation will help ensure that the survey results and conclusions represent the views of all Rutgers faculty and staff.

Who is eligible to take the survey? 

Sarah McMahon: Employees eligible to take the survey include administrators, faculty, part-time lecturers, staff, postdoctoral fellows and associates, teaching assistants and graduate assistants. (Due to sampling procedures, casual/temporary staff – type three and four employees – are not included in this survey).

Since NET IDs are needed to access the survey, how can employees be certain the responses are confidential? 

Sarah McMahon: All survey responses are confidential. The research team will not be able to determine the identity of a survey participant regardless of the platform they use to take the survey – computer, tablet, phone or paper.

Survey participants will be asked to enter their NetIDs to access the survey if taking it on an electronic device. However, this information will be used only to ensure that only eligible Rutgers employees are completing the survey, to link select demographic information to participants’ responses and to enter participants into a raffle for one of many various incentives. The research team will receive a deidentified data set, which means there is no way to link participants’ identities with their responses on the survey.

All reports of the survey findings will include deidentified and aggregate data to protect participants’ identities.

How long will it take to fill out the survey?

Sarah McMahon: On average, the survey takes approximately 12–15 minutes to complete. We encourage supervisors to provide time for employees to take the survey during work hours.

Do other universities undertake similar research?

Sarah McMahon: Yes, several universities have conducted similar surveys on harassment and workplace environment to faculty and staff, with many surveys receiving strong response rates.

Rutgers has a tradition of engaging its expertise as a leading research university to make the world and our own institution better. In 2014, Rutgers launched its first student sexual violence survey – a pilot conducted for the White House – which became a national model. The results of that survey helped Rutgers improve its educational, counseling and treatment services for students on every Rutgers campus.

To advance efforts to prevent and effectively respond to sexual harassment, Rutgers announced in fall 2020 that we joined with 39 other institutions and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to form an Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education. During the first year of the action collaborative’s work, Rutgers announced its commitment to administer a universitywide survey on sexual harassment to include all faculty and staff.

The survey instrument is based on the validated Administrator-Researcher Campus Climate Collaborative (ARC3) Campus Climate Survey Instrument, consistent with recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s 2018 report on the sexual harassment of women, and on the best available science and validated measures.