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October 19, 2015   Columns Articles | Inside UGA | UGA to launch study of its living, learning, work environment
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UGA to launch study of its living, learning, work environment

Camie Williams

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By Camie Williams | October 19, 2015
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UGA will conduct a campus-wide research study this fall to learn more about the experiences and perceptions of faculty, students and staff and to help enhance the university's living, learning and working environment.

"Count Me In will help the University of Georgia build upon its strengths and identify areas for improvement," said President Jere W. Morehead. "I encourage all students, faculty and staff to take part in this important survey."

This campus initiative, the first of its kind, will be conducted Oct. 20 to Nov. 20 via a Web survey at count-me-in.uga.edu; paper surveys will be available at 210 Holmes-Hunter Academic Building or by calling 706-583-8195. UGA campuses in Athens, Griffin, Tifton and Gwinnett will be included. Participation in the survey is voluntary, and confidentiality will be maintained.

The survey has been developed by a committee of campus leaders chaired by Michelle Garfield Cook, associate provost for institutional diversity, in conjunction with Rankin and Associates Consulting. The independent consultant, which has conducted institutional climate studies at more than
150 institutions across the country, will administer the survey and analyze the results.

"Count Me In is part of a broader effort to ensure that the University of Georgia provides an environment that fosters success for our students, faculty and staff," said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. "Our ability to draw conclusions from this survey hinges on the level of participation that we receive, which is why I urge members of the campus community to take the time to participate in this project."

Aiming to reach as many of UGA's students, faculty and staff as possible, the project team will offer incentives to encourage people to take the survey, including drawings for prizes.

"We want to get a good assessment of the campus, and to do that we need to hear a lot of voices," Cook said, adding that the university welcomes honest, thorough answers. "We don't want only the challenges to address, but also the things that we are doing well and can expand upon."

Cook said she expects the results to inform strategies for improving the learning, living and working environment at UGA. She noted that the consultant told her to expect to find several ideas that could make an impact right away, as well as some measures that could be addressed with long-term strategies.

"I'm curious to see the results," Cook said. "They will allow us to make data-driven decisions going forward."

A summary report will be released to the UGA community as soon as results are available, which is expected to be late spring 2016. This report will not identify individual responses. There also will be a series of presentations hosted by the consultant.

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