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Title: Survey Policy
Subject: Survey Administration
Policy No: CIO: 2015: 06
Applies: University-Wide
Issuing Authority: Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Responsible Officer: Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Adopted: 10/31/2014
Amended: 10/31/2014
Last Revision: 02/04/2015


As part of its mission to maintain and disseminate accurate data to support academic and administrative decision-making, assessment and compliance; as well as to provide technical and professional services to serve the information needs of Rowan University, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Planning (IERP) established the Rowan University Survey Policy to achieve the following goals:

A. Protect rights, privacy, and safety of potential survey respondents

B. Establish a central clearinghouse for survey administration

C. Minimize survey fatigue due to volume and oversampling

D. Maximize survey response rate and survey quality

E. Eliminate the collection of duplicate information

F. Effectively share survey results

G. Provide and support an online survey software tool


Under the direction of the President, the Chief Information Officer, and the University's Chief Information Security Officer shall implement and ensure compliance with this policy. The Executive Vice President for Administration and Strategic Advancement, Provost, Vice Presidents, Deans, and other members of management will implement this policy.


For the purpose of this policy, a survey is defined as a method of collecting data through the use of a standardized questionnaire. Modes of administration include electronic surveys, paper surveys and telephone surveys.
Surveys administered to the Rowan community under this policy include all faculty, student, staff, and third-party survey initiatives with the following exceptions:

  1. Faculty-supervised research surveys distributed within the confines of a classroom (or to a departmental research participant pool) that contribute toward students' academic progress
  2. Paper or telephone research surveys administered by students conducting research related to their master's thesis or doctoral dissertation
  3. Course/teaching evaluations for the sole purpose of providing feedback to individual instructor and/or supervisors
  4. Administrative forms
  5. Polls for student elections
  6. Web in-page/pop-up surveys collecting sign-up/contact/comment data
  7. The following two types of surveys are exempt from the reporting requirements that follow. However, if distributed electronically, the approved online survey software must be used to distribute to the Rowan community. (See VI. B.) 
  8. Evaluation of a specific event or workshop by participants
  9. Customer feedback collected at point of service

Rowan faculty, students, or staff administering surveys to populations outside of the Rowan community are exempt from this policy. (NOTE: Qualtrics, the Information Resources and Technology (IRT) approved online survey software, is available and recommended for use in this application.)
Institutional surveys are not exempt from this policy.


  1. Census: Survey administered to entire population.
  2. Institutional Review Board (IRB): IRB's mission is to assure the safe and ethical treatment of human participants in research. Federal and university regulations require that all research involving human participants conducted by Rowan faculty, staff, and students be reviewed and approved by the IRB before initiation.
  3. Institutional Survey: Survey used to collect data for institutional planning, assessment, and/or program evaluation. This includes surveys used to support external accreditation.
  4. Population: All individuals who make up a single group of interest. For example, all first-year students, all students living on campus, etc.
  5. Research Survey: Survey requiring IRB approval used to collect data for research purposes only. These surveys are not intended to inform decision-making or support assessment initiatives within the institution.
  6. Survey Administrator: Individual responsible for final decisions on all aspects of survey methodology and analysis.
  7. Survey Sample: Group of individuals from a population who will be surveyed.
  8. Sampling Method: Process used to determine which individuals will be included in the survey sample.
  9. Survey: Method of collecting data through the use of a standardized questionnaire. Modes of administration include electronic surveys, paper-and-pencil surveys, and telephone surveys.
  10. Rowan Community: All prospective students, current enrolled students, employees and alumni.


A. Any person, (now referred to as Survey Administrator) proposing to distribute a survey to the Rowan community must submit a completed Survey Schedule Request Form (SSRF) to the Office of IERP prior to engaging in survey activities under the scope of this policy. The SSRF requires the following information:

  1. Identification of the individual acting as Survey Administrator who will be responsible for survey administration activities as well as compliance with this policy (and all other applicable policies). Students administering research surveys will also identify the faculty advisor designated as principal investigator on the SSRF.
  2. Detailed population/sample size description when requesting email addresses for members of the Rowan community. Principal investigators requesting email addresses to administer census surveys will not be fulfilled. (Students needing help should discuss sampling methods with their faculty advisors.)
  3. Copy of the survey questionnaire

 B. To ensure confirmation of requests for specific calendar dates and to schedule timely production of sample frame email lists we recommend Survey Administrators submit the completed SSRF at least eight weeks prior to survey launch date.

 C. Administering an institutional survey establishes an obligation on the part of the survey researcher to use the data responsibly, including not distributing the data to others in, or outside the university, unless the researcher is an authoritative source for and an authorized distributor of the data and the recipient is authorized to receive the data.

 D. Survey Administrators for institutional surveys may also be asked to share survey data and reports with the Office of IERP upon request.

 E. IERP staff members serve as honest agents in administering Rowan University's survey policy as it pertains to research surveys.

 F. Survey administration oversight by the Office of IERP does not supersede the policies and procedures of the Institutional Review Board (IRB). If a survey research project is subject to review by the IRB, proof of IRB approval is required before the Office of IERP will schedule the survey and provide access to email addresses. IRB approval is generally not required for surveys conducted to evaluate or compare programs, practices, curricula, methods, or outcomes for use solely by the university.

 G. Office Of IERP Policy Support

  1.  The Office of IERP will make available a university-wide schedule of surveys to minimize oversampling and help improve response rates. It is the responsibility of the Survey Administrator to review the survey calendar prior to submitting the SSRF. The Office of IERP conducts important surveys throughout the year to provide analytical support to departments, colleges and the university at large. As such the Office of IERP may require Survey Administrators to reschedule efforts to ensure adequate response rates to priority institutional surveys.
    ALL applicable surveys must appear on the survey calendar.
  2. IRT approved Qualtrics as the online survey software to be used for surveys covered under this policy. Rowan faculty, staff, and students as well as researchers from other institutions are prohibited from using any other online survey software tool when surveying the Rowan community. The Office of IERP will provide access to Qualtrics through its website. Survey Administrators are responsible for activating and distributing surveys using Qualtrics only after receiving confirmation of launch date from the Office of IERP.
    Qualtrics software is for academic teaching or research (including institutional) purposes only, and licensing explicitly excludes any use of the software for commercial use, including commercial and government-sponsored research. Due to the vetting and approval of Qualtrics through IRT, researchers conducting government-sponsored survey research on constituents of the Rowan community should include the purchase of a separate Qualtrics license when preparing their budgets. 
    Consultants or other third-parties hired by Rowan University to survey the Rowan community must contact Rowan University's Chief Information Security Officer to ensure compliance with all relevant security and data policies.
  3. The Office of IERP will maintain a survey repository documenting institutional survey questionnaires and reports. Survey Administrators should review questions currently being asked of the Rowan community, as well as published reports, prior to planning any new survey initiatives to eliminate duplicative data collection activities. A request for the addition of new questions to institutional surveys should be directed to the appropriate Survey Administrator.


A. Attachment 1, Related Policies

  By Direction of the CIO:

Mira Lalovic-Hand,
VP and Chief Information Officer


Related Policies

  1. Data Governance Policy
  2. Information Security Policy
  3. Acceptable Use Policy
  4. Mobile Computing and Removable Media Policy
  5. Network & Computer Use Policy
  6. Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act


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