ModernThink is a nationally recognized strategic organizational development and management consulting firm with expertise in workplace quality for institutions of higher education. The survey to be used is the ModernThink Higher Education Insight Survey.


ModernThink will administer the survey by sending a dedicated link to the survey instrument directly to all UA faculty and staff. ModernThink will house and control all survey responses.


Yes. The University will not have access to any individual response information. ModernThink will only provide aggregate survey findings to the University. Thus faculty and staff should feel assured that their individual responses and comments are confidential and protected.


ModernThink has administered this survey to a large number of institutions. These data will allow ModernThink to compare the UA findings against some of the University’s peer institutions as well as against other institutions that have been recognized as highly engaged places to work.

The University will work with ModernThink to summarize and synthesize key findings, look to identify patterns and/or trends, and provide information to drive strategic change as needed. The survey will help UA officials measure how supportive, inclusive and empowering the campus climate is and evaluate other key experience drivers.

A strong survey response rate will also allow us to submit our survey results to be considered as part of the Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Great Colleges to Work For” recognition program. ModernThink’s Higher Education Insight Survey is nationally-normed and tested. It is the main assessment tool for the Great Colleges program.


To prepare for this survey effort, the University formed a small planning group to work with ModernThink to determine the logistics, timing, and communication plan for the project. In addition to the planning group, a project steering committee has been formed to promote campus-wide participation in the survey, analyze the findings from the survey, and suggest further actions regarding research and improvement activities associated with the goal above.

6. Why is our institution conducting a survey of its faculty and staff?

The University is committed to providing opportunities and resources that promote work-life balance and enhance the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and staff. We have made this one of the four main pillars of our strategic plan Advancing the Flagship. This survey provides an opportunity for all UA faculty and staff to CHIME IN with opinions and thoughts about the University’s progress toward this goal and to help guide campus leadership going forward.

7. What does this survey mean to my division or college/school?

Survey results provided in aggregate by division or college/school will help leaders of those units understand the thoughts and opinions of employees today and help guide strategic decisions driving progress in support of the goals related to work-life balance at UA.

8. What does this survey mean to me?

It means you have a voice in this process, and we want to hear your opinion. This survey gives you an opportunity to CHIME IN and be heard about your thoughts and experiences at UA.

9. How else will the survey be used?

A strong survey response rate will also allow us to submit our survey results to be considered as part of the Chronicle of Higher Education’s ”Great Colleges to Work For” recognition program. ModernThink’s Higher Education Insight Survey is nationally-normed and tested. It is the main assessment tool for the Great Colleges program. Survey responses may also support our accreditation efforts through SACSCOC.

10. Why is now the right time for this survey?

We need to understand what factors are important to our faculty and staff. UA is committed to our people and our community and needs to hear from our staff and faculty about our work environment. The survey will also provide a starting point for future input from staff and faculty on University priorities and needs. The feedback opportunities provided by the survey will be in the form of a continuous process, not a singular event. This survey will help inform our strategic planning progress.

11. Why was ModernThink selected to administer the survey?

ModernThink LLC is a nationally recognized organization specializing in surveys of this kind for higher education. The higher education benchmark data ModernThink will provide will give UA valuable insight into how we compare to other schools across the nation.

12. What is the Chronicle Great Colleges program and how is it related to our CHIME IN workplace experience survey?

ModernThink LLC is the research partner for the Chronicle Great Colleges program. Now in its 11th year, the program is designed to recognize institutions that are great places to work and to compile detailed benchmarking data about industry trends. Recognized institutions will benefit from positive publicity, which can aid recruitment and retention efforts. A random sample of UA faculty and staff survey results will be used for consideration in the 2018 Great Colleges Program. To learn more about the Chronicle Great Colleges Program, visit http://chroniclegreatcolleges.com where you can find more information on the methodology and recognition categories.

13. How was the survey process designed?

The University formed a small planning group led by the Office of Institutional Research to work with ModernThink to determine the logistics, timing, and communication plan for the project. In addition to the planning group, a project steering committee has been formed to promote campus-wide participation in the survey, analyze the findings from the survey, and suggest further actions regarding research and improvement activities. ModernThink representatives and members of the planning group held a forum for campus constituents representing all divisions across the University on March 21, 2018 to share information about the survey process and answer any questions. ModernThink is working with the planning group to customize and administer the survey, ensure confidentiality, and support the dissemination of the results.

14. What areas will the survey focus on?

The survey statements solicit feedback on a broad range of topics focused around the following themes:

Job Satisfaction/Support Shared Governance Teaching Environment
Pride Professional Development Supervisor/Department Chairs
Compensation, Benefits & Work/Life Balance Senior Leadership Facilities
Faculty, Administration & Staff Relations Policies, Resources & Efficiency Communication
Collaboration Fairness Respect & Appreciation

In addition to the 60 core survey statements, five more statements that focus specifically on work-life balance at UA have been included.

15. How much time will it take to complete the survey? How long is the survey and what is the format?

The online survey should take approximately 25 minutes to complete. If you are unable to complete the survey after you begin, you will have the option to save your responses and access them later. The survey consists of statements that employees/faculty respond to using a five-point agreement scale (Strongly Agree, Agree, Sometimes Agree/Sometimes Disagree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree). Additionally, there is a Not Applicable response option. The survey instrument also includes item benefits satisfaction component and open-ended questions.

16. Why should I CHIME IN? Is my participation important?

As a UA faculty or staff member, your opinion matters. Higher response rates give a more accurate picture of the University and its individual divisions. This is a significant opportunity for you to share your ideas, opinions, and solutions by providing your voice on the topic.

17. Is my participation in this survey optional?

Yes, participation is completely voluntary. Senior leadership at the University will be encouraging everyone to CHIME IN and will allow an opportunity to do so during working hours. If you have any challenges participating, please contact Travis Railsback at trailsback@fa.ua.edu or 8-0869 or Lorne Kuffel at lkuffel@ua.edu or 8-7204.

18. Who is eligible to participate in the survey?

All faculty and staff members employed by The University of Alabama are invited and encouraged to CHIME IN and participate in the survey when they receive the email link beginning March 26.

19. How can I get assistance for an employee or coworker to take the survey?

If you are a manager or staff member and you have an employee or colleague who needs help accessing or taking the survey for any reason, please contact Jacob Pleitz at jdpleitz@ua.edu or 8-7213.

20. How do I take the survey?

All faculty and staff members will be invited via email to take the survey hosted on ModernThink’s secure website. The survey link will be sent beginning March 26. It will be available through April 13. You will be asked to enter a username and password, which will be provided in an e-mail invitation sent to you directly by ModernThink. You may take the survey at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from work or from home. All staff and faculty should have an opportunity to take the survey during work hours. Internet access is required. Employees taking the survey can use the same workstation, as long as each person properly logs on and off the computer.

21. Are my survey responses confidential?

Yes. The purpose of the survey is to get honest feedback. UA is using an external partner (ModernThink) to administer the survey. It is web-based and automated with a secure Internet connection. Each employee will receive an email invitation from ModernThink to participate in the survey. Once you click on the survey link, you will go directly to ModernThink’s website. UA has no access to this website. Your responses will be made directly on ModernThink’s website and all processing will be done by ModernThink. You will not be asked your name on the survey. The email will include unique password information for each user. This information is stored on the ModernThink server. This information is for access only and will not be linked to your individual survey responses.
At no point will your manager or any other institution employee see your individual survey results; they are combined and only reported back to your institution in the aggregate/grouped format. No one in the University will know how you personally responded.

22. Can’t my email address be used to track my responses?

No. The survey will be completed on ModernThink’s confidential website. The email address is only used to access the survey and to ensure that only one survey is completed per employee. Emails are purged from ModernThink’ s system once the survey project has been completed.

23. If I start the survey but am interrupted before I finish, can I access it again?

Your answers will be stored each time you select the SAVE & CONTINUE button at the bottom of a survey page. So if you get interrupted, you can come back to the survey. You will need to log on to the ModernThink survey site to re-access the survey. To protect your confidentiality, you will not be able to access the survey after you click the SUBMIT button on the last page of the survey.

24. What if I have problems accessing the survey site?

For technical questions or problems with the survey site please contact ModernThink at (888) 684-4658 or surveys@modernthink.com, M-F 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. CST. After hours, leave a message and your call will be returned as promptly as possible.

25. How many employees does our institution need to respond to the survey to get the data we need?

Our goal is to get as high a response rate as possible to provide a more accurate picture of the University’s support of workplace experiences and to offer guidance to campus leadership toward this important strategic goal. We will provide a response rate monitor on the website to show what percentage of employees CHIMED IN.

26. Once all the results are received, what’s next?

President Bell, campus leaders and members of the steering committee are committed to gathering feedback, identifying priority areas of action, sharing the findings with you, and developing follow-up plans to address them. 

27. Who can I contact with additional questions about the employee survey?

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions regarding the survey and/or the survey process, please do not hesitate to contact Lorne Kuffel at 205-348-7204 lkuffel@ua.edu or Liz Flood, UA Project Manager for ModernThink at (888) 684-4658 or lflood@modernthink.com.