Terms of Reference

Advisory Committee to Review Requests to Survey the University Community
Terms of Reference (May 2018)

Context

The University of Manitoba strives to provide a future that puts students, faculty, staff, and alumni at the front and centre.  The University endeavours to provide an outstanding educational experience for students, an outstanding learning and working environment for faculty and staff, and an engaging, collaborative connection with alumni. 

As a result, units invested in students, faculty, staff, and alumni are eager for information on these groups, and often want to survey them.  An Advisory Committee to the Provost has been established to review proposed surveys of students, faculty, staff, and alumni.  The Advisory Committee does not replace the Research Ethics Board for those surveys requiring ethics review. The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to coordinate surveys of the University Community; to control and determine avenues for accessing students, faculty, staff, alumni; to reduce survey fatigue by addressing timing; to ensure results are shared with the University; and to ensure adherence to privacy legislation. 

Surveys conducted for academic research, institutional surveys, and those strongly supporting the strategic priorities of the university are prioritized.  The Committee also evaluates requests by external agencies to conduct surveys with University of Manitoba students, faculty, staff, and alumni. 

The Committee reviews surveys for which the University Community is actively recruited by, for example, e-mail or distribution of “pen and paper” surveys to specific populations.  Surveys for which the University Community is passively recruited, for example posting a survey on social media or handing out “pen and paper” surveys to random individuals on campus, are not reviewed by the Committee. 

Survey Review Committee Membership

Core Committee:

  • Chair: Executive Director, Office of Institutional Analysis
  • Coordinator: Senior Research Analyst, Office of Institutional Analysis
  • Access and Privacy Officer
  • Associate Vice-President (Partnerships)
  • Vice-Provost (Graduate Education) and Dean (Graduate Studies)
  • Vice-Provost (Students)

Additional Committee Members:

  • Associate Registrar
  • Executive Director, Marketing and Communications Office
  • Vice-Provost (Integrated Planning and Academic Programs)
  • Vice-Provost (Academic Affairs)
  • Vice-Provost (Indigenous Engagement)
  • Staff member, Human Resources
  • Staff member, International Centre
  • Staff member, Government Relations
  • Student representative appointed by UMSU
  • Student representative appointed by GSA

Survey Review

An important distinction between the review of surveys requiring Research Ethics Board approval and those not requiring REB approval, follows.

  • Surveys requiring approval by a University of Manitoba Research Ethics Board are reviewed by the Survey Review Committee for timing (to minimize survey fatigue amongst the University Community and to maximize survey response rates), adherence to privacy legislation, and reasonableness of survey distribution and data access. 
  • Surveys not requiring approval by a University of Manitoba Research Ethics Board are reviewed for quality, timing, adherence to privacy legislation, and reasonableness of survey distribution and data access.  In addition, their usefulness and applicability in helping the University of Manitoba achieve its strategic objectives are evaluated. 

Process for Surveys Requiring REB Approval

Surveys requiring REB approval are reviewed by several members of the Core Committee.  Review of these surveys for timing, adherence to privacy legislation, and reasonableness of survey distribution and data access takes approximately 5 business days.  After a survey has been approved, survey materials are circulated to all members of the Survey Review Committee to ensure they are aware of the surveys in which the University Community is taking part. 
Process for Surveys Not Requiring REB Approval
Surveys not requiring REB approval are reviewed by the Core Committee for quality, timing, adherence to privacy legislation, and reasonableness of survey distribution and data access.  Other members of the Survey Review Committee are provided with the survey materials to provide overall comments, should a survey affect their unit.  After approval, survey materials are circulated to all members of the Committee to ensure they are aware of all surveys.
A preliminary review by the Coordinator, followed by Committee review, can take up to four weeks.  Generally, the Chair should be notified more than three months in advance of a proposed survey if timelines for data collection are not flexible. 

Approved Institutional Surveys

The following surveys of the University Community are approved and will continue to be included in survey coordination activities:

  • Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey (CGPSS)
  • Canadian University Survey Consortium surveys (CUSC)
  • National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
  • Statistics Canada’s National Graduate Survey

Schedule of Approved Surveys

The Office of Institutional Analysis maintains a schedule of approved surveys on its Web site, a link to which can be found on the Provost’s Web site. (http://umanitoba.ca/admin/vp_academic/).  The Web site should be consulted prior to the submission of a proposed survey.

The Committee will review all proposed surveys and assess them based on the following criteria:

  1. Where applicable, relevance to the strategic objectives of the University of Manitoba, in particular to the Strategic Priorities.
  2. Where applicable, quality, timing, adherence to privacy legislation, and reasonableness of survey distribution and data access.
  3. Where applicable, likelihood the results will provide actionable items for the unit and/or the University.
  4. Workload generated for other offices including, but not limited to, the Office of Institutional Analysis, the Registrar’s Office, and Information Services and Technology.
  5. Appropriateness of the timing of the survey, taking into account those already scheduled.
  6. Adequate provision made for FIPPA issues and/or review by the appropriate Research Ethics Board.
  7. Proposed storage and destruction of data, including parameters around access to data.

Research design and development of the survey questions are the responsibility of the applicant.  The Committee’s role is to provide feedback on the developed materials. 

Committee meetings may be face-to-face or by email, as appropriate.

If Committee consensus cannot be reached, the Chair will submit his or her recommendation to the Provost.  In this circumstance, final approval rests with the Provost.

Subject to approval, the applicant will receive a formal notification specifying a time period for data collection. 

Surveys not requiring REB approval: Within two weeks from the end of data collection, applicants are required to advise the Office of Institutional Analysis of the response rate for the survey.  Response rates will be posted on the Office of Institutional Analysis’ Web site on the Past Surveys page.  In addition, applicants are required to provide a brief report detailing key findings of the survey with an emphasis on the changes made as a result of the findings.  Brief reports are to be submitted to the Office of Institutional Analysis within 6 months of data collection.  A compilation of these reports will be provided to Senate and posted on the Office of Institutional Analysis’ Web site.