A Survey
of Faculty and Staff
Attitudes toward the AU Report
and Internal Communications
Roy Summerford
Auburn University
April 4, 1997














Introduction
This study was conducted to answer several basic questions about internal communications at Auburn University. The AU Report, as the faculty-staff newsletter, is the primary formal communication channel between the administration and the faculty and staff, thus it was the primary focus of the study. But the study also examined the faculty and staff's reliance on other formal channels such as campus mail and electronic mail, as well as informal communication channels such as colleagues and co-workers, a channel better known as "the grapevine." Heavy reliance on the grapevine, to the exclusion of formal channels, could be interpreted as a lack of trust in and support for the administration. By examining these areas, the study sought to derive information which is necessary for informed decision-making about future changes in the newsletter as well as other approaches to internal communications between the administration and faculty/staff at Auburn..

Major Findings
* Faculty and staff in general trust the administration and the AU Report, but with a healthy skepticism.
* Faculty and staff try to keep up with campus news and rely on the AU Report for news of special interest to them.
* Faculty, staff, administrators and UR staff tend to think alike on most subjects related to internal campus communication.
* Although all groups rate certain issues ‹ pay and benefits, working conditions, parking ‹ to be important, faculty and staff view these issues to be of greater importance as news items than does the administration
* The University Relations staff places a higher premium on cosmetic appearances of the AU Report and a lower premium on nuts and bolts news items ‹ campus news briefs, calendar items, etc. ‹ than do the constituencies the staff serves.
* Some regular features, notably Teaching Tips, lack a significant audience, while others, such as Unsung Hero or charts and graphs, have moderate appeal to one audience but not another.
* Faculty and staff want more frequent delivery of the news, and they want it accurate and thorough.
* Faculty,but not staff, are increasing their use of the internet; faculty are receptive to use of the internet to supplement the AU Report but do not support replacing a printed newsletter with a web version.











Methodology
Previous studies at Auburn were consulted but these studies were not extensive or intensive enough to answer the questions that needed to be addressed. The University of South Carolina also provided a sample of a study done there, but that study was site-specific and failed to provide useful information for Auburn. Therefore, a 70-item instrument was developed to measure faculty staff responses in three areas: 1. How the faculty and staff receive information. 2. Faculty-staff attitudes that influence communication on campus. 3. Ratings of issues and news items in the AU Report to determine perceptions of importance of these items and issues by campus constituencies.
Two pilot tests were performed and the instrument was revised after each. The second pilot test was administered on the University Relations staff. Since only a few changes were made in the instrument and the entire staff participated, these answers were later compared to those of the target constituencies.
A printout of all Auburn University employees, excluding the Montgomery campus, was secured, and off-campus employees, primarily extension and research substation employees, were stricken, as were student workers, parttime workers, temporary workers and research assistants. From the resulting list, starting at the ninth name, each 10th name thereafter was chosen to receive the questionnaire. The 375 individuals were sent a copy of the survey with a cover letter explaining its purpose. A week later, a followup letter went to all 375 individuals. Of that number, 174 returned questionnaires, for a 46.4 percent return rate. Although the rate was very high by historical standards for this group, it was necessary to test the validity of this sample. Ten questions were pulled from the survey for a telephone survey of 37 faculty and staff, whose names were selected from the same page and category (faculty or staff) as the name of every 10th person from the previous survey ‹ or 100th person from the printout. One-way Analysis of Variance was conducted to compare these two sample groups. The test revealed no statistically significant differences in answers to any of the 10 questions, indicating that the original sample was representative of the population. On this and other procedures, alpha level was .05, meaning that similar results could be expected if the test were repeated under the same conditions with different subjects 95 times out of 100.
Surveys were also mailed to 33 deans and members of the university president's cabinet, and 19 returned the questionnaires. A 20th returned a questionnaire unanswered.
The data were subjected to frequency analysis, t-tests, one-way ANOVAs/Tukey tests and bivariate correlations where appropriate. The findings are presented on the following pages.












How faculty and staff learn about campus news:

* Print media are the primary source (64.4%) of news of special interest to the faculty and staff.
* Colleagues or co-workers (the grapevine) were identified as the primary source by only 16.8 percent. A high percentage here would have indicated a lack of trust of formal communication channels such as the AU Report. The low percentage indicates that these formal channels are trusted.
* E-mail and other uses of the Internet have not made significant in-roads in communicating campus news to faculty and staff. Less than 3 percent list e-mail/www as their primary source of news of special interest to faculty and staff.
* The AU Report is the primary source of news of special interest to faculty and staff; 51.9 percent list the AU report of their primary source of such news.
*Only 11.5 percent list the Plainsman as their primary source of faculty/staff news; a slightly higher percentage (15.4) lists the local, daily Opelika-Auburn News.
* Responses to the statement "The Plainsman has all I need to know about faculty/staff news" showed a mean of 1.7 (out of a possible 5.0), indicating a high rate of disagreement with the statement. On a percentage basis, 86 percent of the respondents disagreed with the statement.
* Faculty and staff regard accuracy and relevance as the most important characteristics of internal reporting about campus news; 55 percent list accuracy as the most important, and 23 percent list relevance as most important.
* Accuracy and relevance (31.7 percent and 19.2 percent, respectively) were listed as the greatest strengths of the AU Report. Another sign that the AU Report is regarded as accurate can be seen in the small number (3.4 percent) who cited accuracy as the greatest weakness. On matters related to accuracy, the statement "If I read it in the AU Report, I know I can believe it" had a mean response rate of 3.5 (out of a possible 5.0), indicating mild agreement. In view of the fact that accuracy was rated as the most important attribute sought by readers, they are not tolerant of even small mistakes.
* The most cited weakness was timeliness (31.3 %), indicating that three in 10 faculty and staff consider the bi-weekly AU Reports to be inadequate. However, 15.9 %, approximately one in six, rated timeliness as the greatest strength of the AU Report, despite the bi-weekly publication. Only 8.7 percent rated timeliness as the most important characteristic. This indicates that they would like to see the AU Report more often, but would not want to sacrifice accuracy or relevance to get more frequent delivery.
* A contributing factor to the timeliness issue was revealed in answers to the statement "I usually receive the AU Report on a..." Only 5.3 percent stated that they receive the AU Report on Monday, the day of publication, and only 19.2 percent report receiving the AU Report on Tuesday. The majority report receiving the AU Report on Wednesday or later, or did not know.
* On matters related to timeliness:
* The statement "Campus news is too important to wait two weeks" drew a mean response rate of 3.727 (out of a possible 5.0), indicating a high level of agreement. Thirty percent expressed strong agreement with the statement.
* The statement "News is often old by the time I see it in the AU Report" had a mean response rate of 3.284, indicating a mild level of agreement and some ambivalence. Only 15 percent expressed strong agreement with the statement. A mediating factor may be the AU Report's role in breaking campus news to faculty and staff.
* Nearly 45 percent did not answer the question about when they receive the AU Report. Many penciled in the remark that they do not know when it arrives. The blank responses, not entirely unexpected, could indicate a lack of interest or a general state of satisfaction. Other responses indicate the latter. Perception may have as much to do with answers to this question as actual delivery ‹ for instance, University Relations staff receive copies on Monday directly from the printer, yet half the staff reported that they receive their copies on Wednesday.
* A sign that readers are satisfied with the current look of the AU Report can be seen in both the favorable ratings (12.3 percent regarded presentation to be the greatest strength of the AU Report) and the low unfavorable ratings (only 6.8 percent considered it to the greatest weakness).
*On other questions related to appearance, respondents either supported the current format or reacted unfavorably to potential changes.
* The statement "The AU Report looks like a quality product" drew a 3.88 mean response rate (out of a possible 5.0), indicating significant agreement.
* The statement "The AU Report looks too old-fashioned" had a mean response rate of 2.32, indicating a moderately high level of disagreement. The statement "The AU Report looks too trendy" had a mean response rate of 2.04, indicating fairly strong disagreement. A related statement, "The AU Report needs to look more like USA Today" produced an even higher level of disagreement, with a mean response rate of 1.94. These answers indicate that the audience wants a conservative look to the AU Report.
* One area in which the AU Report was faulted was "thoroughness." Nearly 10 percent cited this as the newsletter's greatest strength, yet nearly 20 percent cited thoroughness as the AU Report's greatest weakness. The newsletter's four-page format limits the amount of news which can be presented in any issue. Yet, faculty and staff were ambivalent in their responses to the statement "The AU Report should have longer stories and more pages," which produced a mean response rate of 3.0.
*On other questions related to thoroughness:
* The statement "The faculty and staff are well informed about AU issues" had a mean response rate of 2.83, indicating the ambivalence reflected in the percentages: 38.5 percent disagreed either strongly or somewhat, 39 percent had no opinion, and 22.5 percent agreed either strongly or somewhat.
* The statement, "Faculty/staff achievements are ignored in the AU Report" had a mean response rate of 2.29, indicating a moderate level of disagreement with the statement. Only 7.8 percent of the respondents agreed strongly or somewhat with the statement.
* The statement "The AU Report never covers the important news" drew a mean response rate of 2.27, indicating moderate disagreement with the statement. However, 22.4 percent disagreed strongly with the statement, compared to 2.4 percent who agreed strongly with it.
* The trust faculty and staff place in an administratively published newsletter is reflected in perceptions about the newsletter's perspective. Only 13.5 percent rate perspective as the AU Report's greatest weakness. A positive note is that perspective ranks behind timeliness and thoroughness in the weaknesses cited by faculty and staff.
* The following notes indicate that while there is room for improvement, a certain level of trust also exists. On matters related to perspective:
* The statement "The administration tries to keep the faculty and staff informed" drew a mean response rate of 2.86, indicating ambivalence on the part of faculty and staff on this issue. Overall, 38.2 percent agreed strongly or somewhat with the statement, and 28.8 percent disagreed, with almost one-third undecided.
* The statement "The AU Report does a good job of balancing the information needs of the faculty and staff with those of the administration" drew a mean response rate of 3.12, providing further indication of the ambivalence. Almost 46.4 percent were undecided, and only 10 percent expressed either strong agreement or strong disagreement.
* The statement "The AU Report devotes too much space to the administration" also drew ambivalent responses, with a mean response rate of 2.93. However, respondents rated administration news highly (mean of 3.78) in terms of importance.

Analyzing content:
* To get a better picture of preferences, categories under Issues and News were collapsed, with 0 equaling unimportant and 1.0 equaling important. Since 3 under the 1-5 rating signified lack of an opinion, that category was eliminated to permit a clearer concentration on those actually expressing an opinion. The rationale for eliminating the "no opinion" category is that some employees marked most of the answers in this category as 3, indicating that they either don't care or simply hurried through this section.
* The following items received less that a 70 percent favorable rating and should be reevaluated to determine whether to continue to carry them:
Conference announcements .67
Government news .67
Charts and graphs .64
Unsung Hero columns .57
Entertainment News .55
Alumni gifts .51
Teaching Tips .49

* Less than half the people gave Teaching Tips a favorable rating. There was no significant difference between faculty and staff in their responses. Teaching Tips were more popular with employees who have been at AU 10 years or less (.56) than with those who have been here longer than 10 years (.375). There is no statistically significant difference in responses of tenured and nontenured faculty to Teaching Tips.

Faculty and staff differences
* Faculty and support staff differed significantly in their evaluation of entertainment news. Faculty gave it a .3922 rating, indicating low importance, while support staff gave it a .8 rating, indicating high importance. Administrative and professional staff fell in the middle at .54.
*There was also a wide variance between the faculty and support staff in support for the Unsung Hero features. The feature was not popular with faculty, who gave it a rating of .48, or A&P staff, who rated it .52, but was popular with support staff, who gave it a .83 rating.
* Charts and graphs drew significantly different ratings from faculty, with a favorable rating of .79, and support staff, with an unfavorable rating of .39. A&P staff fell in the middle at .545.
* Employees at AU longer than 10 years gave alumni stories somewhat higher importance (.56) than newer employees (.44), possibly due to personal knowledge of more alumni.
* Employees at AU 10 years or less gave higher ratings (.75) to government news than did those who have been here longer than 10 years (.587).

Other findings re: Issues & News:
Men vs. Women
* Women are more interested than men in conference announcements (means of .77 and .56, respectively).
* Women are also more interested than men in people stories (means of .89 and .70, respectively).
* Women also express more interest than men in entertainment news (.68 vs. .38).
* Men express more interest in charts and graphs (.80 vs. .49).
Tenured vs. nontenured faculty
* Nontenured faculty are more interested in conference announcements (.875 vs. .575) and entertainment news (.625 vs. .29).


Faculty, Staff, AU Administration and University Relations Comparisons

Other than as previously noted, there were few significant differences between tenured and nontenured faculty or between administrative-professional staff and support staff. For comparison purposes with the AU Administration (cabinet members and deans), categories were collapsed to faculty and staff.
* All groups agreed strongly with the statement "I try to stay abreast of campus news," but the most significant difference in response was between faculty (mean of 4.14) and senior administrators (4.82). At these levels of agreement, however, the difference is merely statistical and not of practical importance.
* Not surprisingly faculty, administrators and University Relations staff report greater usage of the Internet compared to a year earlier ( range of 3.9 to 4.0 for mean of each group), than staff (mean of 3.05). Further analysis shows that the staff average is pulled down by support staff, many of whom do not have access to the internet.
* The University Relations staff differed significantly from the faculty, staff and administration in the perception that the AU Report has too many standing features. The UR staff expressed mild agreement (3.26) with the statement, while faculty, staff and administrators disagreed with the statement (mean range of 2.3 to 2.5).
* UR staff (3.4) and university staff (3.1) were more in agreement with the statement "If people are talking about an issue, I can find information about it in the AU Report" than were faculty (2.7) and administrators (2.88).
* Faculty (3.94) and administrators (3.82) agreed that "Charts and graphs add perspective to the AU Report," at a significantly higher level than UR staff and university staff (each 4.47).
* Not surprisingly, University Relations staff were more willing to accept at face value what they read in the AU Report (4.07) than were faculty (3.23). Staff and administrators fell in the middle.
* The only ones expressing significant interest in wanting the AU Report to look more like USA Today were UR staff (mean of 2.53). Faculty response was a negative 1.70. Administrators and university staff gave a negative response of 2.0.
* Administrators, with a negative response rate of 1.59, differed significantly in their response to the statement "There is no way to make my voice heard at Auburn." The faculty response mean was 2.48, the staff mean was 2.69, and the UR mean was 3.13.
* The UR staff are tougher critics of the AU Report than are campus constituencies. In response to the statement "Some regular features in the AU Report are boring, UR staff agreed (4.0), while faculty staff and administrators produced mean responses ranging from 3.0 to 3.29).
* Administrators disagree with the statement "The AU Report devotes too much space to the administration" with a mean rating of 2.18. Faculty, staff and UR staff were grouped closely, with means ranging from 2.99 to 3.06.









Differences in perception of importance of issues and news items

There are few significant differences among faculty, staff, administrators and UR staff in attitudes toward most types of stories. The following highlight the differences that do exist:
* All groups rate AU's academic reputation and ranking highly, but administrators, as expected, rate it the significantly higher than the others, with a mean rating of 4.7.
* While administrators attach considerable importance to appointments ( mean of 4.24), followed by faculty at 3.67, UR staff view appointments as much less important, with a mean of 3.27.
* All groups but administrators consider stories about working conditions to be important. Results were: Administrators, mean of 3.47; faculty, mean 4.10; staff, mean 4.51: UR staff, mean 4.53.
* Administrators, likewise, do not attach the same degree of importance to opinion columns that faculty and staff attach. The mean for administrators was 2.94. Others ranged from 3.54 for faculty to 3.7 for staff.
* Administrators rate parking issues to be of significantly less importance (mean of 2.65) than do faculty at 3.42, but neither comes close to staff, which gave parking issues a rating of 4.12, signaling that this constituency rates parking issues to be very important news.
* Not surprisingly, administrators attach the greatest importance to administration news (mean of 4.24). Surprisingly, the least importance is not attached by either faculty (3.84) or staff (3.73) but by UR staff (3.2).
* UR staff and administrators are at opposite ends of the spectrum of opinion on stories about alumni gifts, with faculty and staff in the middle. UR staff gave the stories a mean rating of 2.67, compared to 3.02 for faculty, 3.04 for staff and 3.71 for administrators.
* UR staff, likewise, do not share the opinions of campus constituencies toward news about achievements and honors. Means were 3.07 for UR staff, 3.65 for university staff, 3.89 for faculty and 4.0 for administrators.
* Although no group rated Teaching Tips high, UR staff as a group, rated it the lowest, indicating a perception that the feature is more unpopular than is actually the case.
* Staff rate technology news the highest, with a mean of 3.58, compared to 2.88 for administrators. Others fell in the middle. Faculty and staff each rated it at 2.9, and administrators rated it at 2.65, while UR staff gave it a rating of 1.8.
* Staff (3.86) and administrators (4.0) rate people stories of significantly greater importance than faculty (3.37) or UR staff (3.6).
* UR staff attach far less importance to Unsung Hero features than other groups, especially university staff. Means are 2.37 for UR staff, 2.98 for faculty, 3.12 for administrators, and 3.4 for staff.
* UR staff (2.87) and university staff (2.96) differ markedly from faculty (3.43) and administrators (3.65) in their perception of the importance of charts and graphs. This is not surprising, considering that faculty and administrators make frequent use of charts and graphs in their work, while most staff members, including UR staff, do not.








Further analysis of responses to Faculty and Staff
Communication Survey

Significant agreement (mean of 4.0-5.0) was found in response to these questions:
#7: I try to stay abreast of campus news. Mean of 4.26 out of possible 5.0
#13: I want to know the bad news along with the good. Mean of 4.56.


Substantial agreement (mean of 3.5-3.99) was found in response to these questions:
#8: I want to learn more about other faculty and staff. Mean, 3.79.
#12: The AU Report looks like a quality product. Mean, 3.91.
#21: Campus news is too important to wait two weeks. Mean, 3.70.
#27: Charts and graphs add perspective to the AU Report. Mean, 3.72.

Significant disagreement (1.0-1.99)was found in response to these questions:
#17: Auburn doesn't need the AU Report. Mean of 1.58.
#22: The Plainsman has all I need to know about faculty/staff news. Mean of 1.7.
#28: Campus issues don't really concern me. Mean of 1.38.
#33: Sensitive Issues should not be reported in the AU Report. Mean of 1.67.
#37: The AU Report should look more like USA Today. Mean of 1.88.

Substantial disagreement (2.0-2.5) was found in response to these questions:
#10: I prefer getting news by letter instead of newspaper. Mean, 2.42.
#15: The AU Report needs to lighten up. Mean, 2.34.
#16: The AU Report has too many standing features. Mean, 2.39.
#19: The AU Report looks too old-fashioned, Mean 2.22.
#24: Faculty/staff achievements are ignored in the AU Report. Mean, 2.33.
#30: The AU Report looks too trendy. Mean, 2.07.
#31: Just summarize the high points and skip the details. Mean, 2.11.
#32: Internet pages are killing newsletters like the AU Report. Mean, 2.26.
#34: The AU Report never covers the important news. Mean, 2.29.
#39: Charts and graphs in the AU Report are a useless distraction. Mean, 2.01.

Issues and news items rated as very important (mean of 4.0-5.0) were:
#44: AU budget and funding. Mean of 4.61.
#45: AU academic reputation/ranking. Mean of 4.08.
#46: Pay and benefits. Mean of 4.62.
#49: Working conditions. Mean of 4.32.

Issues and news items rated as of substantial importance (3.5-3.99) were:
#47: Research developments. Mean, 3.76.
#51: Achievements/honors. Mean, 3.78.
#53: Opinion columns. Mean, 3.65.
#55: Parking issues. Mean, 3.75.
#56: Auburn Answers column. Mean, 3.57.
#57: Campus Roundup news briefs. Mean, 3.58.
#60: People stories. Mean, 3.63.
#61: Calendar stories. Mean, 3.84.
#64: Reader response columns. Mean, 3.67.
#67: Administration news. Mean, 3.78.

The lowest rated issue or news item and the only one to fall in the unfavorable column was #58:Teaching Tips, with a mean response rate of 2.91 out of 5.0.

Others with relatively low ratings (and their mean scores) were:
#50: Alumni gifts (3.04) #63: Unsung Hero (3.18)
#52: Conference announcements (3.28) #65: Charts & graphs (3.19)
#62: Entertainment news (3.09) #66: Government news (3.03)

To get a better picture of the strength of faculty/staff attitudes toward issues and news items, the categories were collapsed and recoded, with 0.0 equaling unimportant and 1.0 equaling important. Answers listed as 3, indicating either undecided or lack of interest, were not counted. The results are ranked from most important to least important:

AU budget and funding .99
Pay and benefits .99
Working conditions .99
Academic reputation/ranking .93
Administration news .91
Achievements/honors .89
Calendar items .88
Research developments .87
Campus Roundup .87
Appointments .85
Parking .85
Reader Response columns .85
Opinion columns .84
Auburn Answers column .82
People stories .80
Technology news .79
Buildings/facilities .79
Conference announcements .67
Government news .67
Charts and graphs .64
Unsung Hero columns .57
Entertainment News .55
Alumni gifts .51
Teaching Tips .49

To provide evidence that respondents were giving serious thought to the questions and ensure that they were not randomly marking answers, the statement "Charts and graphs add perspective to the AU Report" was rephrased elsewhere "Charts and graphs in the AU Report are a useless distraction." Responses to these questions produced strong correlation (-.6417, P=.000) to each other. Answers to these questions were similarly correlated to the rating for charts and graphs in terms of importance, indicating that respondents were consistent in their answers.



Recommendations

* Avoid major design or format changes for the AU Report for the near future.

* News coverage should reflect the importance that faculty and staff attach to news about AU budget and funding, pay and benefits, working conditions, Auburn's academic reputation/ranking, and administration news.

* University Relations staff should place more importance on such features as Achievements, Campus Roundup and the calendar to more accurately reflect the interests of faculty and staff.

* Administrators should be aware that as a group, they differ from faculty and staff in attitudes toward news about pay and benefits, working conditions and parking. While legitimate reasons may exist for these differences in attitudes, the divergence suggests that greater effort should be made to improve campus communications on these issues.

* UR staff should recognize the importance that administrators place on administration news and news about alumni gifts; to appeal more to faculty, AU Report stories about alumni gifts should focus more on the benefits to the campus and less on the donor.

* The AU Report should be supplemented by weekly updates on the Internet, with heavier promotion of the web version.

* Drop the Teaching Tips column, and reduce frequency and/or amount of space of other low-rated columns and news items.

* Recognize that some items, such as charts and graphs and Unsung Hero, are considered important by one group but not another, and therefore should be continued despite lower overall ratings. Use such features to build affinity with segmented target audiences.

# # #

(Survey Instrument)




FACULTY & STAFF COMMUNICATION SURVEY

We need your help. Please take a few minutes to complete and return this survey. In doing so, you will help the University Relations News Bureau identify ways to improve communications among faculty, staff and administrators. You are among a small group of faculty and staff who will receive a copy of this survey ‹ only one in 10 of faculty and staff on campus ‹ so please don't pass up this chance to share your views. Thank you.

I. How I receive information:
(In the following section, for each question, check the item that is most accurate or most expresses your opinion.
If two or more items are nearly equal, please rank the items instead of checking multiple items.)
1. My primary source of news of special interest to AU faculty and staff is:
a. __ print media c. __ broadcast media e. __ administrators g.__ AU Senate
b. __ e-mail/www d. __ campus organizations f. __ colleagues or coworkers h.__ students

2. Among print media, my primary source of news of special interest to AU faculty and staff is:
a.__ AU Report c.__ Montgomery Advertiser e. __ Columbus Enquirer
b.__ Plainsman d.__ Opelika-Auburn News f. __ other ___________________________

3. When I am reading about campus issues, the following characteristic is most important:
a. __ accuracy (Is it correct?)
b. __ thoroughness (Is it complete?)
c. __ timeliness (It is still news?)
d. __ relevance (Is it news I can use?)
e. __ presentation (Is it presented attractively?)
f. __ perspective (Is it balanced?)

4. The following characteristic is the greatest strength of the AU Report:
a. __ accuracy
b. __ thoroughness
c. __ timeliness
d. __ relevance
e. __ presentation
f. __ perspective

5. Failure to adequately achieve the following characteristic is the greatest weakness of the AU Report:
a. __ accuracy
b. __ thoroughness
c. __ timeliness
d. __ relevance
e. __ presentation
f. __ perspective

6. I usually receive the AU Report on a
a. __ Monday
b. __ Tuesday
c. __ Wednesday
d. __ Thursday
e. __ Friday

(continued)
(page 2)

II. Rating The AU Report and other campus communication methods:
(On the following scales, circle the number that represents your level of agreement or disagreement.)

Disagree Agree

7. I try to stay abreast of campus news. 1 2 3 4 5
8. I want to learn more about other faculty and staff. 1 2 3 4 5
9. Electronic media are a good alternative to the AU Report. 1 2 3 4 5

10. I prefer getting news by letter instead of newspaper. 1 2 3 4 5
11. The faculty and staff are well informed about AU issues. 1 2 3 4 5
12. The AU Report looks like a quality product. 1 2 3 4 5
13. I want to know the bad news along with the good. 1 2 3 4 5

14. I use the Internet more now than I did a year ago. 1 2 3 4 5
15. The AU Report needs to lighten up. 1 2 3 4 5

16. The AU Report has too many standing features
(Campus Roundup, Auburn Answers, etc.). 1 2 3 4 5
17. Auburn doesn't need the AU Report. 1 2 3 4 5

18. The administration tries to keep faculty and staff informed. 1 2 3 4 5
19. The AU Report looks too old-fashioned. 1 2 3 4 5

20. The AU Report is too trivial at times. 1 2 3 4 5
21. Campus news is too important to wait two weeks. 1 2 3 4 5
22. The Plainsman has all I need to know about faculty/staff news. 1 2 3 4 5

23. If people are talking about an issue, I can find information
about it in the AU Report. 1 2 3 4 5
24. Faculty/staff achievements are ignored in the AU Report. 1 2 3 4 5
25. Matters that I care about are featured in the AU Report. 1 2 3 4 5

26. The AU Report does a good job of balancing the information
needs of faculty and staff with those of the administration. 1 2 3 4 5
27. Charts and graphs add perspective to the AU Report. 1 2 3 4 5
28. Campus issues don't really concern me. 1 2 3 4 5

29. If I read it in the AU Report, I know I can believe it. 1 2 3 4 5
30. The AU Report looks too trendy. 1 2 3 4 5
31. Just summarize the high points and skip the details. 1 2 3 4 5

32. Internet web pages are killing newsletters like the AU Report. 1 2 3 4 5
33. Sensitive issues should not be reported in the AU Report. 1 2 3 4 5
34. The AU Report never covers the important news. 1 2 3 4 5

(continued) (page 3)
Disagree Agree
35. The AU Report should have longer stories and more pages. 1 2 3 4 5
36. Color photos would add a lot to the AU Report. 1 2 3 4 5
37. The AU Report needs to look more like USA Today. 1 2 3 4 5

38. There is no way to make my voice heard at Auburn. 1 2 3 4 5
39. Charts and graphs in the AU Report are a useless distraction. 1 2 3 4 5
40. I can express my opinions in the AU Report. 1 2 3 4 5

41. News is often old by the time I see it in the AU Report. 1 2 3 4 5
42. Some regular features in the AU Report are boring. 1 2 3 4 5
43. The AU Report devotes too much space to the administration. 1 2 3 4 5


IV. Issues and news
(Please rate the following in terms of importance to you.)
unimportant very important

44. AU budget and funding 1 2 3 4 5
45. AU academic reputation/ranking 1 2 3 4 5
46. Pay and benefits 1 2 3 4 5

47. Research developments 1 2 3 4 5
48. Appointments 1 2 3 4 5
49. Working conditions 1 2 3 4 5

50. Alumni gifts 1 2 3 4 5
51. Achievements/honors 1 2 3 4 5
52. Conference announcements 1 2 3 4 5

53. Opinion columns 1 2 3 4 5
54. Technology news 1 2 3 4 5
55. Parking issues 1 2 3 4 5

56. Auburn Answers column 1 2 3 4 5
57. Campus Roundup news briefs 1 2 3 4 5
58. Teaching Tips 1 2 3 4 5

59. Buildings and facilities 1 2 3 4 5
60. People stories 1 2 3 4 5
61. Calendar items 1 2 3 4 5

62. Entertainment news 1 2 3 4 5
63. Unsung Hero columns 1 2 3 4 5
64. Reader response columns 1 2 3 4 5

65. Charts and graphs 1 2 3 4 5
66. Government news 1 2 3 4 5
67. Administration news 1 2 3 4 5




(continued)
(page 4)



V. About Yourself:

68. I am:
__ tenured faculty __ administrative or professional
__ nontenured faculty __ support staff __ other _____________________

69. I am:
__ male __ female

70. I have been at Auburn:
__ 0 to 5 years __ 11 to 15 years __ 21 or more years
__ 6 to 10 years __ 16 to 20 years

IV. Comments:
71. Please elaborate on any points or suggestions that you feel may not have been adequately covered above (use
additional space if necessary):
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Thank you for assisting with this research. Your opinions and information are important, so please return the form promptly. To return, simply fold so that the return address label is on the outside, seal with a piece of tape and drop in campus mail.