Make your voice heard: Staff and faculty surveys launching in February

Staff Engagement Survey February 5-21

Vanderbilt University staff and faculty are encouraged to participate in a pair of surveys launching in February. Staff members are invited to complete the 2020 Staff Engagement Survey Feb. 5–21. Vanderbilt University-employed faculty will participate in the national COACHE Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey beginning the week of Feb. 10. The surveys are a confidential way for university leaders to collect feedback in order to recognize what Vanderbilt is doing well and where improvements are needed. The goal of both surveys is to create a stronger workplace.

“I believe that everyone can thrive and be successful at Vanderbilt,” Interim Chancellor and Provost Susan R. Wente said. “We are a cooperative and collegial community that truly values what others bring to the table, and we do our best work when we listen to each other, embrace different perspectives and take measurable action to uphold our principles of trust, transparency and teamwork.

“I encourage all to participate in their respective surveys and to answer questions openly and honestly,” she said. “The Staff Engagement Survey and COACHE faculty survey both will serve to support our overall commitment to listening to our community to inform future action.”

The two surveys are the latest in a series of efforts by university leaders to seek feedback from the Vanderbilt community on key issues. Among staff, these efforts have included campus listening sessions hosted by Interim Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer Dr. André L. Churchwell, Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain and Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for People and Business Services Laura Nairon during the fall 2019 semester. The staff listening sessions will continue this spring.

All part-time and full-time benefits-eligible staff are eligible to take the Staff Engagement Survey, which will be administered by Gallup, an independent research-based consulting company. The confidential web-based survey consists of approximately 40 questions and should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. The survey will be available in English, Spanish, French and Arabic, and translation help will be available for Bosnian/Serbo-Croatian, Swahili and Kurdish speakers.

Faculty will participate in the COACHE survey beginning the week of Feb. 10. This is the second iteration of the COACHE survey, which was first administered in 2016. The COACHE survey identifies areas of success and challenges facing faculty and is more relevant to their academic, scholarly and clinical experience. Following the 2016 survey, action items addressing specific findings were developedMore information about the COACHE survey is forthcoming.

Taking the Staff Engagement Survey

  • Staff members will receive instructions in an email from on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The subject line will include Vanderbilt Staff Engagement Survey.
  • If you don’t see the survey invitation in your email inbox, make sure to check your Focused/Other and Junk folders in Outlook. If you still don’t see the invitation, please contact
  • The confidential survey is taken online, and paper versions will not be available. Computer labs for employees who do not have computer access will be held in the Baker Building 10th Floor Training Room at the following times:

Feb. 11: 7–11 a.m.

Feb. 19: 4–7 p.m.

  • The survey will close on Friday, Feb. 21.

Survey is confidential

Gallup will administer the entire survey independently of Vanderbilt. The university only receives the aggregated results.

If you are in a small department, your answers will be combined with other responses to ensure confidentiality. If an insufficient number of staff participate in the survey in any given workgroup, the report will show results for larger, relevant groups in the organization. No one at Vanderbilt will have access to data that identifies specific staff responses.

Measuring engagement and reporting results

The survey will measure staff engagement, which indicates employees’ investment in and enthusiasm for their work. An engaged staff member is in a role that uses their talents; they know the scope of their job; and they are always looking for new and different ways to achieve the outcomes of their role. The survey is focused on items aimed at measuring the individual needs of staff and the degree to which Vanderbilt is providing clarity, support, encouragement and development for all.

Vanderbilt leadership will use the survey’s findings to identify priorities for providing the information, resources and support staff need to carry out the work and mission of the university. Managers will use the results to create action plans with their teams to address areas of concern, such as culture, relationships with supervisors, training and education opportunities, pay and benefits, communication, and work environment. Following the survey, there will be opportunities to provide additional feedback through focus groups facilitated by Gallup.

For more information, visit the 2020 Staff Engagement Survey webpage.

For questions, contact