University-Wide Surveys

Definition:The purpose of this policy is to ensure that university-wide surveys of campus faculty, staff, and student opinions are conducted in a manner that minimizes redundancy and frequency of surveys and follows guidelines for survey deployment. In order to achieve these goals, all university-wide surveys of faculty, staff, and student opinions will be coordinated through the University Survey Committee. This policy defines the role of the University Survey Committee and coordination procedures for these surveys.
Authority:Authority of the campus President.
Scope:This policy applies to any university-wide survey of the campus community except (a) those which fall under the purview of the Institutional Review Board , or (b) focused surveys provided to defined population such as course evaluations or a survey of the members of a particular committee.
Responsible Division:Office of the President
Approval Date:12/18/2007
Implementation Date:12/14/2007
Originally Implemented:12/14/2007
Signature Page/PDF:View Signatures for University-Wide Surveys Policy



Surveys of campus populations (e.g., students, faculty, and staff) are widely recognized as an important means for providing information that can maintain and assure educational quality and improve educational effectiveness and student satisfaction. Surveys may ask questions about opinions, preferences, attitudes and expectations that respondents have concerning various aspects of their experiences with the university. 

A) "University-wide" survey is defined as a survey: 

  1. Where the target population is drawn from more than one department or unit and/or is randomly selected.
  2. Where the surveyed activities or services span a significant proportion of the student or employee population.

B) "Focused" surveys are those given to a defined population for a specific operational purpose. Examples of these include: 

  1. Course Evaluations
  2. Surveys targeting a limited, well-defined group of respondents for a narrowly-defined purpose (e.g. survey of CSUSM business managers, survey of student organization presidents) 

C) The Institutional Review Board (IRB) governs surveys associated with academic research. Examples of surveys that are exempted from this procedure but must comply with IRB policy and procedures include: 

  1. Surveys conducted by faculty and/or students for research or teaching purposes
  2. Surveys conducted by students as part of a class assignment
  3. Other surveys associated with research activities under the purview of the university Institutional Review Board (IRB). 


The responsibility for implementing and administering this policy shall be delegated to the University Survey Committee. 

A) Survey Committee composition

One representative from Academic Affairs, Financial and Administrative Services, Institutional Planning and Analysis, Instructional and Informational Technology Services (IITS), and Student Affairs.

B) Committee tasks 

  1. Coordinate the administration of surveys to minimize overlap and duplication
  2. Provide support for survey development, administration and analysis
  3. Ensure that the information being sought is not already available in another form
  4. Approve survey requests by entities outside of the California State University system
  5. The committee will maintain a survey calendar which will be posted on the Institutional Planning and Analysis Web site. This calendar will serve two purposes: 
    a. Minimize overlap/conflicts in content or timing of university-wide surveys
    b. Facilitate the combining of surveys to minimize the number of surveys administered during a given year 

C) Frequency of meetings of the Survey Committee 

  1. Monthly or as needed. 


A) Any person/unit who wishes to administer a university-wide survey to students, faculty or staff must first obtain approval from the University Survey Committee.

B) To obtain approval, the individual must provide the University Survey Committee with the following information: 

  1. The name of the survey
  2. The person/unit responsible for the survey
  3. A description of the target population to be surveyed
  4. The intended method of survey administration (e.g. email, Web site, mail etc.)
  5. The proposed dates the survey will be administered and any pre- or post-notifications to encourage participation
  6. A description of any planned incentive program for respondents
  7. Purpose of the survey
  8. A statement addressing issues of confidentiality, respondent anonymity and voluntary nature of the survey
  9. A statement from the person administering the survey that survey findings will be used only for internal purposes and are not designed to contribute to generalizable knowledge as defined by our university IRB policy
  10. A draft of the survey items C. The final draft of the survey will reviewed by the committee and upon approval will be added to the university-wide survey calendar maintained by Institutional Planning and Analysis.

D) All university-wide surveys must include the following notation: Approved by CSUSM University Survey Committee (month/year). 


A) Requests for assistance with survey development, administration and analysis will be reviewed by the committee and, if needed, referred to Institutional Planning and Analysis. 

B) The committee will verify that the survey has been checked to ensure campus accessibility compliance.