Corinne Kenwood/ Sun Staff Photographer

William Searle presents the results of the recent employee survey at the Employee Assembly meeting on Wednesday.

April 20, 2017

Employee Assembly Survey Gauges Employee Satisfaction, Effects of ‘Bureaucratic Red Tape’

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The Employee Assembly deliberated the changes to the academic calendar and presented the results of the 2016 Employee Survey Wednesday.

During the meeting, Dean of Faculty Charles Van Loan gave the Assembly updates on possible changes to the Cornell Academic Calendar.

Van Loan highlighted how, of the three options that the faculty had to choose from, the Modified Current Calendar, seemed the most favorable to employees, because it would feature a five day longer summer break.

“In regards to employees, the Modified Current Calendar has some attractive features,” Van Loan said. “One is restoring orientation to a full, five days, and at the end of the year, we would be restoring what are called Senior Days.”

The other option, the Early Commencement Calendar, would remove February break, feature a two week shorter winter break and a two week longer summer break.

Van Loan described how Brown was Cornell’s only peer institution that had a two-break spring semester, and that Yale has a single, two-week break.

“So we’re extremists in that regard,” he said.

Shared governance organizations will vote from among the options, and the Provost will make the final decision.

Besides the Academic Calendar, the Assembly also discussed the 2016 Employee Survey. William Searle, from Institutional Research and Planning, delivered a presentation on the results.

Administered by the Survey Research Institute, the survey covered nearly 5,000 non-academic staff, with a response rate of 68 percent.

According to the survey, 81 percent of respondents were at least somewhat satisfied with their jobs, a small increase from 80 percent of respondents in 2011, when the same survey was last put out.

A new question on the 2016 survey, asking about the effects of “unnecessary bureaucratic red tape,” found that only 32 percent of respondents found that “unnecessary bureaucratic tape” gets in the way of doing their jobs either “not at all” or “a little.”

The largest changes in results from the 2011 survey came in the category of “Leadership and Direction.” Only 39 percent of 2016 respondents “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the statement, “I have a clear understanding of the strategic goals and objectives of Cornell as a whole,” a decrease from 50 percent of respondents in 2011.

Similarly, 6.5 percent less respondents think that, “Overall, I think Cornell is moving in a positive direction,” and 10.1 percent less respondents agree with the statement, “University leadership has a clear vision for the future of the university.”

The number of respondents has seen a decrease from 5,870 in 2011 to only 4,823 this last year.

After discussing the results of the survey, the Assembly brought forward that elections will be taking place for representatives of five colleges, disability and infrastructure.

The voting period is meant to begin at 8 a.m. on April 24 and ends on Wednesday, April 26 at noon.