Last Updated on August 27, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Penn State University recently unveiled the results of its 2022 Living Our Values survey, which aims to foster accountability and ethics within the university community. The survey showed encouraging associations with the Penn State Values among members of the institution and lower rates of observed misconduct.
The findings of the survey indicated the need to further cultivate an ethical culture in areas such as reporting misconduct, perceived retaliation for reporting wrongdoing, and trust in university leadership. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of the survey results, interested parties can access the executive summary, which includes details about the survey methodology, online.
The survey concentrated on three main areas: Penn State Values, ethics and compliance practices at the university, and observed misconduct, apprehensions raised, and the university’s response to reported violations.
Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi expressed the university’s dedication to utilizing the insights gained from the survey to identify priorities and foster an ethical culture. Independent third-party agency conducted the survey from November 2022 to February 2023 and involved faculty, staff, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. Undergraduate students were not included in the survey due to significantly low participation rates in past surveys. A total of 9,540 individuals participated, resulting in a university-wide response rate of 24%.
Noteworthy discoveries outlined in the survey encompassed the strong incorporation of the Penn State Values into daily work, perceptions of integrity and responsibility among community members, and a decrease in observed misconduct compared to previous surveys. However, the survey revealed a decline in the perception that university leaders would face consequences if they violated Penn State policies.
Perceived retaliation for reporting misconduct remained relatively consistent with previous results, while satisfaction with the university’s response to reported misconduct experienced a decline.
In response to the survey findings, Penn State has initiated several measures to bolster ethics and compliance efforts. These measures include implementing a new reporting interface, establishing centers of excellence, reinforcing anti-retaliation policies, and updating procedures, training programs, and case management tools.
The Office of Ethics and Compliance will continue to oversee progress and unit-level efforts until the next survey is conducted within the next three to four years.
Members of the Penn State community are encouraged to report any potential issues or concerns via the Reporting at Penn State website. Every report is taken seriously, and the appropriate office handles all reports for further action. Due to privacy regulations and federal laws, specific case details and personal information cannot be disclosed publicly. Penn State is currently developing a process to share outcomes with the community using deidentified data in the future.
Overall, the survey results will serve as a guide for ongoing initiatives to promote a robust ethical culture at Penn State and encourage principled decision-making throughout the institution.