1. Purpose of policy
This policy provides an operational framework to enable a coordinated approach for the implementation of surveys of the University’s students across the University. The policy is not intended to constrain initiatives in gathering feedback from students via surveys. It does, however, aim to assure or improve the quality of such surveys and to monitor and regulate the frequency with which students are asked to participate in surveys.
2. Policy scope and application
This policy applies to any staff, student (current or past) or agent of the University and any external organisation or individual that wishes to conduct a survey of the University’s students. This policy does not apply to the collection of information using methods requiring participant trial, assessment or experimentation, ad-hoc in-class surveys or ongoing polls of general student opinion.
Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures and the Student Survey - Procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to this policy and are critical to its effectiveness:
Agent: means a person or organisation acting on behalf of the University.
Implement/implementation: means the release and conduct of a survey of students.
Official survey: means a survey which has been mandated by the University Executive, State or Federal authorities or a survey that is centrally implemented by the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit (SIAU).
Protected period: means a time frame during which the implementation of non-official surveys may be restricted. The usual duration of a protected period extends from one week prior to the implementation of an official survey to two weeks after the release of the survey to students.
Survey: means a process of collecting information from or about persons using methods such as interviews, focus groups, electronic or paper questionnaires. Excluded from this definition is the collection of information using methods requiring participant trial, assessment or experimentation, ad-hoc in-class surveys or ongoing polls of general student opinion.
Survey Manager: means the person who is responsible for the implementation of the survey. In these Procedures, USC staff or students are referred to as internal applicants/Survey Managers; Survey Managers who are not USC staff or students are referred to as external applicants/Survey Managers. USC students undertaking research should confirm with their research supervisor who will perform the role of Survey Manager.
4. Purpose and principles of student surveys
4.1. The University uses student surveys for a variety of purposes including: to inform planning; review service delivery; quality assurance and quality improvement, and; as part of the research undertakings of its staff and students.
4.2. The University may also be invited or required to participate in surveys of students which are initiated by external organisations or individuals.
5. Ethics and Intellectual Property requirements
5.1. Where a survey of students is being conducted for research purposes, human ethics approval will be required. For more information refer to the Human Research Ethics – Governing Policy and the Human Research Ethics - Procedures.
5.2. Information regarding intellectual property requirements is detailed in the Intellectual Property - Governing Policy.
6. Application for approval to survey students
6.1. With the exception of surveys mandated by the University Executive, State or Federal authorities, an application for approval to survey students must be made to the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit (SIAU) regardless of whether the survey is initiated from within or external to the University.
6.2. An application for approval to survey students initiated by USC staff must initially be approved by the appropriate Head of School or Cost Centre Manager. An application for approval to survey students initiated by USC students must initially be approved by their Supervisor.
6.3. The SIAU will further consult relevant USC academic and business areas as required for approval of the implementation of a survey of students and may set conditions regarding the time frame for implementation of a survey.
7. Access to surveys, data and findings
7.1. Internal Survey Managers who implement a survey where the main purpose is to collect information for USC’s strategic planning, quality assurance or improvement purposes will be required to report on the findings to a designated USC office or committee and publish a summary of findings and USC’s response for student access.
7.2. The SIAU may request from a Survey Manager a copy of data or findings of a survey.
8. Monitoring student surveys
8.2. The SIAU will provide a summary of approved surveys to a USC officer or committee nominated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at least quarterly.
9.1. The Survey Manager is responsible for all aspects relating to obtaining appropriate ethics clearances, applying appropriate information privacy practices, the design and implementation of an approved survey, records management and reporting on survey findings.
9.2. The SIAU will monitor compliance with this policy and associated procedures.