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About 16% more university employees participated in the Employee Engagement Survey in 2020 than in 2017, according to overall response rates.

2020 Employee Engagement Survey draws notable response

Augusta University generated a substantial 55% response rate in the spring 2020 Employee Engagement Survey.

The survey, administered by Modern Think, helps establish our rank among the Chronicle of Higher Education list of Great Colleges to Work For and helps us identify ways to improve your experience as Augusta University employees.

More than half of our faculty and staff took the online survey, with 1,960 people, or 55%, sharing feedback on everything from academic instruction and leadership to compensation and benefits. That rate is higher than it has been for the past two surveys in spring 2017 and fall 2018. Looking at all three  surveys, response rates for staff (not including faculty and administration) has nearly doubled since 2017, from 37% to a 62% participation rate in 2020. (There was no survey administered in 2019.)

But there was more at play here when the 2020 survey was deployed.

“Given that the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading about the same time as our survey launched, it is remarkable to realize a significant improvement in participation like we did,” said Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD. “We are pleased by the number of employees who engaged in the spring 2020 survey, and even more so by the knowledge we have gained about employee attitudes and perceptions regarding our campus community. The survey helps us take the pulse of our faculty and staff to see where we may need to make adjustments to become a highly engaged campus community.”

Two broad engagement areas with the most positive improvement over the past three surveys are (1) Faculty, Administration and Staff Relations and (2) Senior Leadership. Feedback in these categories jumped up 8 percentage points since the spring 2017 survey. Other categories with significant gains include Communication; Collaboration; Job Satisfaction and Support; Shared Governance; Fairness; and Supervisors/Department Chairs. Responses improved by at least 5% in each of these themed areas.

In response to new, direct questions related to diversity and inclusion that were added to the survey this year, employee responses indicate that Augusta University is making progress in supporting an inclusive campus environment.

Of nearly 2,000 survey respondents, a majority expressed that they are comfortable interacting with “those whose ethnicities, sexual identities, abilities, or beliefs are not their own,” and many described the university environment as “welcoming.”

“These and other diversity-related results point to a desire in our Augusta University community to be more culturally sensitive,” said Dr. Tiffany Townsend, chief diversity officer in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “Our faculty and staff have indicated a heightened awareness of diversity, inclusion and community inside the Jaguar Nation, but we still have more work ahead.

“We intend to explore this topic more thoroughly when the university launches its campus climate survey this month,” said Townsend. “We hope to have a clearer picture of the cultural environment when we study and compare the results of both surveys.”

You can find more information on the 2020 Employee Engagement survey, including an infographic and survey trends, and Topline Reports on the intranet at My Augusta.

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Written by
Denise Parrish

Denise Parrish is Director of Communications for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic at 706-721-9760 or

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Avatar photo Written by Denise Parrish

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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