Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the pilot Pulse Survey and why is it important?  

The Harvard University pilot Pulse Survey on Inclusion and Belonging is an unprecedented effort to understand and improve inclusion and belonging for all of Harvard’s degree-seeking students, staff, faculty and academic personnel. The survey takes only three minutes to complete, including 10 questions that ask about your perceptions of your belonging and inclusion at Harvard. This includes an open-ended question where we solicit your ideas for improvement. There is also a short demographic questionnaire. Your response is essential for understanding and improving our practices and climate to best support our community. This pilot Pulse Survey is a first step at gathering data and establishing a baseline for ongoing and future efforts at Harvard.

Why is this survey a “pilot”?

Given the scope of the survey – reaching the entire University community of faculty, academic personnel, staff and students – it is important to test the survey instrument as it was recommended by the task force, as well as the channels through which we reach the targeted respondents. This pilot opportunity will allow us to evaluate both the survey and deployment strategies, which will then inform future Pulse Survey efforts.

How do we ensure confidentiality in the pilot Pulse Survey?

The pilot Pulse Survey is administered by the Office of Institutional Research (OIR) on behalf of the University. No one outside OIR will have access to survey item responses. OIR uses an automated process that will separate your name and specific job title from your responses, replacing them with a random string, like “9SQyWO21K41Q.” As a result, datasets that OIR uses will never have your name nor your job title next to your responses. OIR will publicly report University-wide aggregate results only for groups that have sufficient responses to ensure confidentiality. This prevents anyone from inferring your individual responses from any reported results. No one outside OIR will have access to individual-level item data. Open-text responses may be shared with University/School/Unit senior leadership after removing identifiable data (name and id/job title).  The survey is administered using Qualtrics in accordance with Qualtrics terms of service. De-identified survey response data is stored confidentially on a third party server that is not under the control of Harvard.

In summary, to ensure confidentiality, 1) only the Office of Institutional Research has access to raw datasets; 2) these raw datasets do not contain your name or your specific job title; 3) only University-level aggregate data from groups that have sufficient responses to ensure confidentiality will ever be reported publicly; and 4) open text responses will be stripped of identifiable data (name and id/job title). 

 

Why is Harvard conducting the pilot Pulse Survey? 

The pilot Pulse Survey was a recommendation from last year’s Presidential Task Force for Inclusion and Belonging as a way to support the use of data for the pursuit of inclusive excellence. Your responses will help guide priorities, practices, and policies, as well as measure progress on goals and aspirations for enhancing University culture and experiences around inclusion and belonging. The Task Force recommended that Harvard ask these questions as a direct result of what they heard from a year and half of conversations with groups and individuals throughout the Harvard community.

How should I answer the pilot Pulse Survey questions?

Your answers should reflect your feelings towards the component of Harvard that you experience and engage with most closely. This is a quick "pulse" survey, so once responses are submitted are considered final and the survey cannot be resubmitted.

Who will be surveyed? 

The survey will be sent to approximately 50,000 members of the University community -- faculty and academic personnel, staff, and degree seeking students. This is the first-ever, University-wide inclusion and belonging survey to be conducted on this scale.

Who wrote the pilot Pulse Survey questions?

The questions were originally recommended by members of the Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging and based on current research regarding measuring the constructs of inclusion and belonging. They are designed to help identify areas of focus for leadership and members of the community and identify where to pursue and implement practices and policies that foster inclusive excellence.

What results will be reported?

The pilot Pulse Survey will help us understand levels of inclusion and belonging for staff, students, faculty, and academic personnel. Results will also be reported by gender, race, sexual orientation, and other variables from a demographic questionnaire. In future years, we hope to be able to track progress in inclusion and belonging.

What type of data from the pilot Pulse Survey will be reported?

In this pilot administration of the survey, public reporting will be limited to aggregate response rate and question level data at the University-level by group (faculty/academic professional, staff, and degree-seeking students). The University will not be publicly reporting School/Unit-level data, nor will the Schools/Units.

When will we receive results?

We anticipate that University-level results will be reported in the summer. This timeline may be adjusted to ensure the quality and accuracy of the data.

Why will there only be University-level reporting of data?

Due to the pilot nature of this survey, public reporting will be limited to aggregate responses for each question at the University-level, by role (faculty and academic personnel, staff, and degree-seeking students). This pilot will allow us to evaluate survey items, assess deployment strategies, and ensure detailed comparisons are not released until we confirm that such comparisons would be useful and precise.

Who should I contact if I require an accommodation to complete the pilot Pulse Survey or have specific access related questions?

Please email pulsesurvey@harvard.edu. We will work to connect you with the resources, accommodations, or assistance you require.

University Disability Services can be reached by phone: 617-495-1859, TTY: 617-496-0466, or email: disabilityservices@harvard.edu.

If you are having technical issues taking the survey on a mobile phone using a screen reader, please try to take the survey on a laptop or desktop computer or contact us for further assistance.

How short is the pilot Pulse Survey?

The voluntary survey takes no more than three minutes, about as much time as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” or brush your teeth. It is a light “pulse,” not a “MRI.” You can take the survey starting Tuesday, March 5, at pulse.harvard.edu.

Can I take the pilot Pulse Survey on my phone?

Yes, you can take the Pulse Survey on your phone, as well as any other mobile or desktop device, at pulse.harvard.edu. If the survey does not appear to be working, please disable any ad blockers on your browser and try again. If the survey is still not working, please contact our designated helpdesk at pulsesurvey@harvard.edu.

Who can I contact if I experience technical difficulties when taking the survey?

If you are taking the survey on your phone, please disable any ad blockers.

If the survey is still not working, please contact our helpdesk at pulsesurvey@harvard.edu. We will work to connect you with the resources, accommodations, or assistance you require.

How will this pilot Pulse Survey make a difference? 

Your experience matters, and we want to hear from you. We need responses from as many people as possible – throughout the University – to help us pave a path toward progress in inclusive excellence. We know that there are positive examples of policies, programs, and people who are strengthening the culture and sense of inclusion and belonging of our community members. At the same time, we have heard for some time that there are gaps to close and blind spots to reveal.

What other survey opportunities are there this spring and how is the pilot Pulse Survey different?

This is the first survey in Harvard’s history that will be distributed to all students, staff, faculty and academic personnel, in all schools and units. It is very short – just 10 questions, just three minutes. It also will be an opportunity to measure our progress over time. This pulse survey will help to complement and coordinate with other inclusion and belonging survey efforts that your schools and units may already have underway.

Other surveys are being administered this spring. Each individual survey is extremely important to the University and we urge you to participate in all of the surveys that pertain to you. 

Why did I not receive the pilot Pulse Survey?

The survey is open to every individual for whom Harvard provides a “primary affiliation” as an employer or an educational institution. The survey is primarily distributed through email. If you did not receive an email and wish to take the survey you may do so at pulse.harvard.edu

Who can I contact with questions?

Please email pulsesurvey@harvard.edu with any questions and someone from our office with respond to your message.

What is the pilot Pulse Survey and why is it important?

The Harvard University pilot Pulse Survey on Inclusion and Belonging is an unprecedented effort to understand and improve inclusion and belonging for all of Harvard’s degree-seeking students, staff, faculty and academic personnel. The survey takes only three minutes to complete, including 10 questions that ask about your perceptions of your belonging and inclusion at Harvard. This includes an open-ended question where we solicit your ideas for improvement. There is also a short demographic questionnaire. Your response is essential for understanding and improving our practices and climate to best support our community. This pilot Pulse Survey is a first step at gathering data and establishing a baseline for ongoing and future efforts at Harvard.

Why is this survey a “pilot”?

Given the scope of the survey – reaching the entire University community of faculty, academic personnel, staff and students – it is important to test the survey instrument as it was recommended by the task force, as well as the channels through which we reach the targeted respondents. This pilot opportunity will allow us to evaluate both the survey and deployment strategies, which will then inform future Pulse Survey efforts.

How do we ensure confidentiality in the pilot Pulse Survey?

The pilot Pulse Survey is administered by the Office of Institutional Research (OIR) on behalf of the University. No one outside OIR will have access to survey item responses. OIR uses an automated process that will separate your name and specific job title from your responses, replacing them with a random string, like “9SQyWO21K41Q.” As a result, datasets that OIR uses will never have your name nor your job title next to your responses. OIR will publicly report University-wide aggregate results only for groups that have sufficient responses to ensure confidentiality. This prevents anyone from inferring your individual responses from any reported results. No one outside OIR will have access to individual-level item data. Open-text responses may be shared with University/School/Unit senior leadership after removing identifiable data (name and id/job title).  The survey is administered using Qualtrics in accordance with Qualtrics terms of service. De-identified survey response data is stored confidentially on a third party server that is not under the control of Harvard.

In summary, to ensure confidentiality, 1) only the Office of Institutional Research has access to raw datasets; 2) these raw datasets do not contain your name or your specific job title; 3) only University-level aggregate data from groups with sufficient responses to ensure confidentiality will ever be reported publicly; and 4) open text responses will be stripped of identifiable data (name and id/job title). 

 

Why is Harvard conducting the pilot Pulse Survey?

The pilot Pulse Survey was a recommendation from last year’s Presidential Task Force for Inclusion and Belonging as a way to support the use of data for the pursuit of inclusive excellence. Your responses will help guide priorities, practices, and policies, as well as measure progress on goals and aspirations for enhancing University culture and experiences around inclusion and belonging. The Task Force recommended that Harvard ask these questions as a direct result of what they heard from a year and half of conversations with groups and individuals throughout the Harvard community.

How should I answer the pilot Pulse Survey questions?

Your answers should reflect your feelings towards the component of Harvard that you experience and engage with most closely. This is a quick "pulse" survey, so once responses are submitted they are considered final and the survey cannot be resubmitted.

Who will be surveyed?

The survey will be sent to approximately 50,000 members of the University community -- faculty and academic personnel, staff, and degree seeking students. This is the first-ever, University-wide inclusion and belonging survey to be conducted on this scale.

Who wrote the pilot Pulse Survey questions?

The questions were originally recommended by members of the Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging and based on current research regarding measuring the constructs of inclusion and belonging. They are designed to help identify areas of focus for leadership and members of the community and identify where to pursue and implement practices and policies that foster inclusive excellence.

What results will be reported?

The pilot Pulse Survey will help us understand levels of inclusion and belonging for staff, students, faculty, and academic personnel. Results will also be reported by gender, race, sexual orientation, and other variables from a demographic questionnaire. In future years, we hope to be able to track progress in inclusion and belonging.

What type of data from the pilot Pulse Survey will be reported?

In this pilot administration of the survey, reporting will be limited to aggregate response rate and question level data at the University-level by group (faculty/academic professional, staff, and degree-seeking students). The University will not be publicly reporting School/Unit-level data, nor will the Schools/Units.

When will we receive results?

We anticipate that University-level results will be reported in the summer. This timeline may be adjusted to ensure the quality and accuracy of the data.

Why will there only be University-level reporting of data?

Due to the pilot nature of this survey, public reporting will be limited to aggregate responses for each question at the University-level, by role (faculty and academic personnel, staff, and degree-seeking students). This pilot will allow us to evaluate survey items, assess deployment strategies, and ensure detailed comparisons are not released until we confirm that such comparisons would be useful and precise.

Who should I contact if I require an accommodation to complete the pilot Pulse Survey or have specific access related questions?

Access Symbol

Please contact pulsesurvey@harvard.edu and we will work to connect you with the resources, accommodations, or assistance you require.

University Disability Services can be reached by phone: 617-495-1859, TTY: 617-496-0466, or email: disabilityservices@harvard.edu.

If you are having technical issues taking the survey on a mobile phone using a screen reader, please try to take the survey on a laptop or desktop computer or contact us for further assistance

How short is the pilot Pulse Survey?

The survey takes no more than three minutes, about as much time as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” or brush your teeth. It is a light “pulse,” not a “MRI.” You can take the survey starting Tuesday, March 5, at pulse.harvard.edu.

Can I take the pilot Pulse Survey on my phone?

Yes, you can take the pilot Pulse Survey on your phone, as well as any other mobile or desktop device, at pulse.harvard.edu. If the survey does not appear to be working, please disable any ad blockers on your browser and try again. If the survey is still not working, please contact our designated helpdesk at pulsesurvey@harvard.edu.

Who can I contact if I experience technical difficulties when taking the survey?

If you are taking the survey on your phone, please disable any ad blockers.

If the survey is still not working, please contact our helpdesk at pulsesurvey@harvard.edu. We will work to connect you with the resources, accommodations, or assistance you require.

 

How will this pilot Pulse Survey make a difference?

Your experience matters, and we want to hear from you. We need responses from as many people as possible – throughout the University – to help us pave a path toward progress in inclusive excellence. We know that there are positive examples of policies, programs, and people who are strengthening the culture and sense of inclusion and belonging of our community members. At the same time, we have heard for some time that there are gaps to close and blind spots to reveal.

What other survey opportunities are there this spring and how is the pilot Pulse Survey different?

This is the first survey in Harvard’s history that will be distributed to all students, staff, faculty and academic personnel, in all schools and units. It is very short – just 10 questions, just three minutes. It also will be an opportunity to measure our progress over time. This pulse survey will help to complement and coordinate with other inclusion and belonging survey efforts that your schools and units may already have underway.

Other surveys are being administered this spring. Each individual survey is extremely important to the University and we urge you to participate in all of the surveys that pertain to you. 

 

Why did I not receive the pilot Pulse Survey?

The survey is open to every individual for whom Harvard provides a “primary affiliation” as an employer or an educational institution. The survey is primarily distributed through email. If you did not receive an email and wish to take the survey, you may do so at pulse.harvard.edu

Who can I contact with questions?

Please email pulsesurvey@harvard.edu with any questions and someone from our office with respond to your message.