First Harvard-wide survey on inclusion and belonging begins

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Harvard University is piloting an unprecedented community-wide survey on inclusion and belonging for its faculty, staff, and students.

The 10-question, three-minute pilot Pulse Survey will ask every member of the community about perceptions of inclusion and belonging at Harvard, and help University leaders evaluate the survey instrument and best channels for reaching such a broad community. This pilot of the survey instrument will ultimately help the University establish a baseline and guide. Future work will measure progress toward enhancing inclusion and belonging in the University’s culture and experiences.

The survey, available from today through March 22, will be the first at Harvard distributed to all faculty and academic personnel, staff, and degree-seeking students.

“The experience of every member of our community matters,” said President Larry Bacow. “The pilot Pulse Survey will enable us to hear and learn from everyone, and it will serve as important starting point as we work together to strengthen the entire University.”

“Today is an important day,” said John Silvanus Wilson, senior adviser and strategist to Bacow. “For the first time in its history, each individual in the Harvard community can share his or her suggestions and perceptions about the culture at Harvard University. This pilot opportunity will allow us to evaluate both the survey and deployment strategies, which will then help to inform future Pulse Survey efforts. We’re incredibly excited about this opportunity.”

A poster advertising the surveyA poster publicizing the survey.

“It’s hard to learn when you do not feel included in your community; it’s hard to do good work,” said Andrew Ho, the Charles William Eliot Professor of Education. Ho was a member of the Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging, which offered strategies for the University to put all its community members in the best position to thrive. “From this pilot, we can learn how to measure improvement toward inclusion and belonging at Harvard. The results can help us find bright spots and pain points.”

The Task Force had recommended a survey to get baseline data that will position Harvard to begin to attend what needs to be addressed, identify and initiate repairs, and discover and share best practices. Around 50,000 members of the University community will receive an email invitation today to take the survey.

“This survey will help us move toward our goal of sustainable inclusive excellence,” Wilson said. “The individual experience of every single Harvard community member matters to us. Responses will help guide priorities, practices, and policies in the months and years to come, and that’s why it is critical that we hear from as many people as we can.”

The short survey can be accessed at pulse.harvard.edu. The survey includes a short demographic questionnaire.

University-level results will be shared publicly toward the end of the academic year.

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“A University is only as good as its faculty, and we want Harvard to be the best place on Earth to be a faculty member,” said Judith D. Singer, senior vice provost for faculty development and diversity. “We very much want to use these results to ensure that they feel this is an environment that fosters their best work, and understand how Harvard can improve the quality of life for our faculty.”
The final report on the Taskforce on Inclusion and Belonging