Results of Values & Culture Survey Conducted by the ERC Released by Penn State

September 19, 2014

A Statement from the Ethics Resource Center

The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) today announced the results of a comprehensive survey of all faculty, staff and students (graduate and undergraduate) on all campuses as part of a larger, ongoing effort to better understand the University’s core values and culture. The Ethics Resource Center (ERC), America’s oldest nonprofit advancing high ethical standards and practices in public and private institutions, was contracted by Penn State to support the project. A total of 14,655 members of the University community participated in the effort. Penn State released the findings, stating its commitment to using the survey results to strengthen the University community.

By conducting this survey, we believe that Penn State has set a new standard for higher education. To ERC’s knowledge, no other major university has conducted a survey of this type and scope and Penn State should be proud to be first to conduct a comprehensive survey of this kind.

Such surveys are common among large, for-profit organizations, and though Penn State is among the first major institutions of higher education to undertake such an effort, ERC believes that the results will be equally informative for all university leaders across the nation. These results help an organization’s leaders to identify priorities for establishing an ethical culture and to develop the resources and support systems to help all university stakeholders recognize and respond to ethics and compliance issues when they arise. The findings also provide a unique glimpse into the means by which a University can better understand the shared values that guide community members’ decisions and behavior on a daily basis.

During the survey process, ERC experienced an unprecedented level of involvement by senior leaders in the survey initiative. Senior-level administrators, faculty members and student leaders were actively engaged in the development of the question set, the review of findings, and discussions about next steps. In ERC’s view, Penn State leaders have taken the results of the survey very seriously.

ERC was pleased to be selected to conduct the research and supports the effort by all public and private institutions to understand and promote high ethical standards.

Patricia J. Harned, Ph.D.,
ERC President