Survey Oversight Policy

Policy Rationale

Surveys provide opportunities for the school to collect valuable information from students, faculty, and staff. Surveys currently being administered originate from both within as well as outside the school. However, survey overload and burnout contribute to missed opportunities to collect valuable information and feedback aligned with the school mission and values. Almost every week the school receives external requests to include our students or faculty in a survey study. The following policy guides and governs the decision-making process regarding how the school will determine which surveys will be administered.

Who is Impacted: Any SOP faculty, staff, graduate students, other student, or external stakeholder conducting research or quality improvement efforts via a survey using SOP faculty, staff, students, alumni, preceptors, etc. as respondents.

UW-Madison Compliance

Regardless of the need for IRB approval, the School of Pharmacy Survey Oversight Policy still applies. If you are unclear if your project falls under this policy, please consult with the Assistant Dean for Assessment and Academic Planning. Some surveys may be considered human subject research and require Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval prior to the initiation of the survey. In general, if your survey data is only being collected for a class project, quality improvement project, departmental evaluation, or social use, IRB approval may not be needed. However, if this survey is for a research project (1) involving a systematic investigation with (2) the goal of creating generalizable knowledge (i.e. being able to apply the data to a broader population and plan to publish or present the findings), IRB approval may be required.

Procedures and Guidelines

Anyone wishing to administer a survey to an SOP audience should complete this form. This form documents information being collected from multiple areas around the school and helps make use of existing data reducing survey fatigue. 

External Surveys. Surveys originating from sources external to the SOP (ie. professional organizations, researchers at other universities, etc.)

  1. Requests originating from sources external to the School of Pharmacy should be forwarded to the Assistant Dean for Assessment and Academic Planning.
  2. Assistant Dean will review the purpose of the survey and possible value the survey may have to the school. The survey may be shared to relevant stakeholders for additional feedback to determine whether or not to administer the survey. Theses stakeholders may include the Dean, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Assistant Dean for Teaching and Learning, Division Chairs, etc. Consensus among the ad hoc group will be reached to determine whether or not the survey will be administered.
  3. Assistant Dean for Assessment and Academic Planning will assist in administering the survey as needed.

Internal Surveys. Any survey requests originating from faculty, staff, or student internal to the School of Pharmacy.

  1. Consult with the Assistant Dean for Assessment and Academic Planning during the survey design process. If seeking IRB approval, initiate contact during the survey design phase prior to IRB submission. The Assistant Dean can assist with instrument design and creation and advise on administration of the tool and timing to increase response rates and reduce survey fatigue across the school populations. For those intending to administer surveys to SOP students, please also refer to “Guidance on Surveying SOP Students” (below).
  2. As necessary, the Assistant Dean for Assessment and Academic Planning will consult with relevant stakeholders which may include the Dean, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Assistant Dean for Teaching and Learning, Division Chairs, etc.
  3. The Assistant Dean for Assessment and Academic Planning will assist in administering the survey as needed. The Assessment Office may be used as a resource in this process to reach targeted response rates.
  4. Survey results and analysis are expected to be shared with relevant school stakeholder groups.

This procedure does not apply to UW-Madison-based required surveys to students, faculty, or staff from campus level offices. Voluntary campus surveys should follow the “external surveys” process outlined above.


Guidance on Surveying SOP Students


Guidance Rationale

Students are frequent targets for surveys administered by parties ranging from outside agencies to faculty conducting research to fellow students running opinion polls. While individually most of these surveys serve valid research or administrative purposes, however, collectively they take time away from core academic endeavors and cause “survey fatigue,” eroding survey response rates and reducing the validity of results.

Lack of coordination in the past has resulted in multiple/similar surveys being fielded simultaneously to the same population of students, creating confusion and frustration for survey administrators and respondents alike. Survey fatigue is a particular danger for members of populations that need to be “oversampled” (in the technical statistical sense) to ensure a valid survey sample size for that group.

Procedures and Guidelines

Course Surveys. Quality improvement and formative assessment surveys are common within the classroom. Faculty may continue to use these tools but are asked to register them using this form for documentation purposes.

Outside of the Classroom and Research Surveys. Surveys proposed to be administered to a SOP academic program or cohort of students require approval by the School of Pharmacy Assessment Office. Such requests will be evaluated in terms of the following guidelines:

  1. Surveys should normally be administered to the smallest number of respondents necessary to achieve a high likelihood of statistical validity, taking response rate assumptions based on recent experience into consideration.
  2. All requests for population samples should include procedures to maintain confidentiality of survey respondents, to make clear to survey recipients that they are free not to participate, and to give survey respondents the opportunity to see the research results (basic human subjects research considerations).
  3. All requests for population samples for purposes of generalizable research and publication must conform to Human Subjects guidelines, and will be referred to the Institutional Review Board (IRB). (see above UW compliance)
  4. Larger surveys, defined as sampling entire SOP academic programs or cohorts of students, should be submitted for consideration at least one month prior to proposed administration to allow time for survey samples to be coordinated with other simultaneous surveys.
  5. Group-email advance letters, survey invitations, and non-respondent follow-ups must conform to the school of pharmacy Group E-Mail Policy.
  6. No surveys should be administered during students’ final examinations for each semester except by special permission by the Assessment Office.

Survey requests and Questions should be addressed to the School of Pharmacy Assistant Dean for Assessment and Academic Planning: beth.janetski@wisc.edu