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Survey Examines Faculty Work Climate

By Nikita Kansra and Sabrina A. Mohamed, Crimson Staff Writers

The Office of Faculty Development and Diversity is currently conducting its second University-wide faculty climate survey to examine attitudes toward work-life balance and the changing role of technology in the workplace.

“The survey is basically designed to help us get a sense of what the faculty are thinking about a whole host of issues relevant to faculty life,” said Judith D. Singer, senior vice provost for faculty development and diversity.

Topics covered by the survey include job satisfaction, departmental atmosphere, faculty mentorship programs, and the faculty tenure ladder.

“We very much want to use the survey to speak truth to power,” said Singer, who added that the survey can help faculty members “feel like their voices have been heard.”

Singer said that the survey addresses particular concerns about the impact of new technology in our “24/7” society.

“We’re plugged in all the time,” she said. “The distinction between home and work life is getting blurred.”

The survey is still open for faculty members to share their opinions, and Singer said that her office hopes for the highest response rate possible.

The University administered a similar survey in 2006 at the recommendation of University task forces chaired by University President Drew G. Faust, who was then the dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

The 2006 survey boasted a 75 percent response rate and exposed concerns among faculty about access to affordable childcare. In response to that survey, the University created the Ladder Access Program, which grants scholarships to ladder faculty members so that they can enroll their families in childcare programs. The survey also led to the formation of the Harvard WATCH Portal, which connects faculty members with students who are paid to provide services such as babysitting, tutoring, and dog-walking.

“We’re trying to build a broader Harvard community,” Singer said.

Computer Science professor David C. Parkes, who filled out this year’s survey, said that he appreciated its emphasis on work and family life balance.

“This is definitely a concern among faculty,” Parkes said.

Although the survey is administered by the institutional research division of MIT’s Office of the Provost in part to ensure confidentiality, the results will be analyzed at Harvard.

—Staff writer Nikita Kansra can be reached at

—Staff writer Sabrina Mohamed can be reached at

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