Staff Senate Survey Results

Renee Ballenger

Last month, the Staff Senate organization conducted its annual member survey, this time, via the new survey instrument called Qualtrics. “We are excited about the Qualtrics survey software,” Jane Petersen, Information Services Training Coordinator, and Staff Senator, says. “Our goal was to find a tool that had the capacity to create the most complex survey yet simple enough that anyone could be building his or her own survey in very little time. I believe we accomplished both goals.”

The Staff Senate was satisfied with the rate of participation in the survey this year, according to Jami Schaffnitt, Student Activities Officer, and Staff Senate President.

A total of 143 respondents answered at least one of the six inquiries on the online survey. According to the survey results, the Staff Recognition Ceremony in January is the Staff Senate-sponsored event or programming that most employees attend. Most people (89% of the survey’s respondents) keep updated on Staff Senate activities by way of e-mail, and were overwhelmingly in favor of receiving more information from Staff Senate on issues affecting them.

Besides being able to use Qualtrics to create both simple and sophisticated surveys, Petersen explains, Qualtrics also allows employees and students to create online polls to specific questions whether in Blackboard or on the UNK website. It’s fairly easy and user-friendly to create customizable reports with several options such as graphs and tables, cross tabulation, filters and subgroups, survey and question statistics. “And drill down,” Petersen adds, “which presents your collected data in a way that will make your decisions obvious.” She continues, “Our UNK users have been excited about how, with a click of a button, they can automatically download data into SPSS.”

Qualtrics also downloads data in Excel, XML, or HTML. Currently the Staff Senate is using Qualtrics to conduct their Senator elections. “Everyone that I have talked to at UNK about their experience with Qualtrics has been overwhelmingly positive. They love it!” Petersen reports.

In the narrative-reponse part of the Staff Senate Survey, employees anonymously offered a variety of detailed, constructive and positive suggestions on how to improve the working environment at UNK. Some of the comments were:
~I’d like to see more leadership opportunities that simply call for people to participate, rather than requiring a selection process.
~Staff evaluations of bosses/superiors are needed. Evaluations are always in a downward direction. Office associates should be able to evaluate their supervisors, with the evaluations going on to the latter’s supervisors.
~At previous institutions I’ve worked, we had faculty/staff parking passes, and we could also park in student lots. Maybe that is something we should consider in some form here at UNK.

“I think one of the most interesting things we learned from this survey,” Schaffnitt says, “ is about the areas that Staff Senate does well in as well as areas that we could improve on. We want to make sure Staff Senate is doing its job effectively.” She adds, “The Staff Senate certainly pays attention to the survey respondents’ input and tries to design its programming around their needs and ideas.”

The detailed results of the Staff Senate Survey can be viewed via senate/ UNK employees can give their input year-round, via the Staff Senate webpage, or in-person at the meetings of the Staff Senate, the third Tuesday of each month in the Sandhills Room of the Nebraskan Student Union, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

The Qualtrics survey software is available for UNK students, faculty and staff. To set up your own account, go to and click on “create an account.” Your username must be your UNK email address. Qualtrics training is offered by the ITS Instructional Technology group and online tutorial topics are available at