2012 Community Engagement Survey Summary
As part of ongoing efforts to champion and advocate for experiential engagement by students, the Office of Civic, Global and Professional Opportunities conducted a survey of faculty and staff over Winter Term 2011-2012. The survey's primary goal was to describe the who, what, where, why, and when of community engagement among those who mentor our students. While it is clear from the questions that we defined community engagement as volunteerism, two respondents challenged the definitions of both community engagement and volunteerism, feedback we appreciate given our interest in defining for ourselves and our students what is meant by civic engagement.
- 187 full -and part-time faculty and staff (69 faculty/118 staff) responded (out of 770 faculty & staff at DePauw)
- Response rate for all DePauw was 25%
- 65% of respondents were female; 36% were male
- The majority of respondents have worked at DePauw for 6 years or more
- 75% of all respondents live in Putnam County. (77% of faculty respondents live in Putnam County; 69% of staff respondents live in PC)
EXTENT OF VOLUNTEERISM
75% of respondents (143) have volunteered in the last year.
- Roughly 70% of these respondents reported volunteering at least monthly or more frequently
- 26% volunteer a few times/year
- Respondents said:
“There is a lot more volunteer work going on among faculty and staff than our students realize.”
“For me, it's absolutely necessary. We are defined by our profession, but we are also defined by our relationships and our connection to our community.”
Most (95%) respondents have volunteered locally, with fewer volunteering on a national (30%) and global level (13%).
- Faculty volunteered for national and global organizations at higher rates than staff (47% and 27%, respectively)
56% sought out the opportunity themselves or were asked directly by someone (friend, family member, colleague, student, etc.)
Of those that have NOT volunteered in the past year, the main reason cited was lack of time due to teaching schedules and personal obligations. Some faculty believe their time working at DePauw is a fulfillment of civic responsibility. Of those reporting that they have not volunteered in the past year, many cite a desire for more time to participate in community based projects and initiatives.
- Respondents said:
"I don't feel very connected to the community--I probably would if I had children in school here. Also, a whole lot of what I do feels like "service", and I don't see the point in doing the soup kitchen once a month stuff."
"Don't have time….wish I did. Teaching is draining!"
AREAS OF FOCUS IN COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Civic duty and community involvement is important to faculty and staff at DePauw. 50% of respondents believe that they make “some difference” in solving needs and issues in communities. 31% of respondents believe that they make “a little difference”.
“Youth (38%)” “education (48%),” and “religious/faith based (28%)” themes were the top 3 themes in volunteer efforts. These remained the top 3 themes across genders, for staff members, and age groups above the 35-44 range. Other popular themes: environmental (20%), arts and humanities (14%), and homelessness (14%).
- The majority serve as teachers, mentors or coaches, and/or serve on boards or committees for various non-profit youth-focused organizations and institutions
- For faculty,” education,” “youth,” and “environmental” issues were the top 3 themes. “Religious/faith based” issues were not in the top 10 themes for faculty
- Men focused more on “political/campaigning,” “athletics/recreation,” and “economic development” themes at much higher rates than women
- Women focused on “religious/faith based,” “animal,” and “poverty” themes at higher rates than men
The top 3 reasons for participating in a volunteer effort were “personal interest (78%),” “purpose of organization (59%),” and “time availability (36%).”
- “Impact of work/organization” was more important than “time availability” for men
- “Relates to personal skill” was more important to faculty than to staff
The top 3 motivations to volunteer were “to fulfill duty as a citizen (50%),” “impact of a particular issue (31%),” and “to develop a sense of belonging to the community (38%).” Close fourth and fifth motivators were “to create a better community than I have personally known” and “to contribute to a more socially just world.”
- The top 3 motivations for all respondents fell in one of these 5 categories
30% reported offering a course or supporting a program with a local community based component.
- Faculty (36%) responded “yes” more than staff (27%)
- Representative projects:
- Projects in senior seminar with community impact
- Non-profit management consulting project class
- Extra credit for a class community project
- Winter term class teaching science in local schools
- Practicum courses in Kinesiology
- Nature Park "Earth Day" projects
IMPROVING THE CULTURE OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
In response to the open-ended question:
“What can CGPOpps do to support development of future community-based projects?”
- Respondents want practices for knowing about long-term and short-term service opportunities in the community
“By raising the profile and importance of community-based work to the same level as off-campus study/ Winter Term/ internships, so that more people are aware of the opportunities and more likely to get involved. Perhaps also by connecting specific opportunities to disciplines/ program areas.
- Respondents want opportunities for faculty and staff to learn more about service learning
- Respondents mentioned the importance of making service meaningful to students
"Create mechanisms in the systems that provide incentives for students to be involved in a sustained and far-reaching way. Make civic engagement an authentic part of the curriculum; there needs to be rationale and sense
of connection for students between their volunteer opportunities and their studies. As much and as often as possible, these things should complement each other."
- Respondents suggested that more weight should be placed on civic and community engagement in the merit and promotion process
“If DePauw is strongly interested in faculty and staff increasing their volunteer participation, they might consider allowing people to take time from work (with pay, but not using vacation or person time), like an hour or so a week, to do volunteer work. Many companies offer such an opportunity.”
"Help convince DePauw to consider all types of service as Service under the tenure and promotion guidelines. This would allow faculty to provide service in areas they are not "experts" in but otherwise have an interest to provide their leadership"