2022 SAC staff survey report

This report summarizes the 2022 CANR staff survey and outlines actions taken in response to the survey results.

A bridge during springtime at the 4-H Children's Garden on Michigan State University's campus.


In early 2020, just prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CANR Staff Advisory Committee (SAC) conducted a survey to help identify current attitudes and opinions among CANR staff. Given the impacts to the workplace that have occurred since the pandemic began, the SAC conducted a follow-up survey in early 2022 to get a better understanding of CANR staff experiences and identify areas where additional support may be needed.  


An anonymous online survey was sent to all regular, temporary, and on-call CANR staff members in February 2022. The survey included 13 questions in varied formats including multiple choice, rank order, and open response. Four of the 13 questions were duplicated from the 2020 survey offering opportunity for comparison. A total of 221 responses were received, representing a 33% response rate.  

Response to Survey Results 

Survey results were summarized and presented to (then interim) Dean Kelly Millenbah and the CANR Academic Chairs & Directors. Upon their recommendations, the SAC conducted additional data review and solicited open feedback from staff on (1) what unit leaders can do to help staff feel more valued, and (2) what specific unit-level engagement opportunities have been successful and/or might be well attended by staff. These results have been shared with college, department, school, and unit leadership in an effort to continuously improve upon the CANR staff experience. Specific actions that the CANR has taken in response to the 2022 staff survey results are: 

  • CANR hosted a 4-week program for all CANR staff entitled “Navigating Work and Life Effectively – A Resilience Training Series” during October 2022. The course was offered via Zoom and was also recorded to accommodate variable work schedules. We had 154 staff members register to participate, and all of the feedback we received directly about the program was positive. We’re hoping to host a follow-up workshop series in fall 2023 for staff members.   
  • CANR hosted a town hall Zoom meeting with support staff, the CANR Dean, and the Directors for MSU Extension and AgBioResearch engaging in Q & A discussions. The February 2023 meeting was attended by over 200 CANR staff. These meetings will continue on a biannual basis.  
  • CANR created 4 new or revised awards to recognize outstanding staff within CANR. Recipients receive a monetary award, recognition at the CANR Annual Awards ceremony, and an invitation to join the Dean at a luncheon along with other award recipients.  
  • The SAC continues to organize engagement activities for staff, including offering free MSU Women’s Basketball tickets and a March Madness Men’s basketball bracket. 

Full Survey Results  


Q1 - How valued do you feel by CANR Deans, Directors, and Chairs? 
Highly Valued – 10% 
Valued – 27% 
Somewhat Valued – 41% 
Not Valued – 22% 

Q2 - How valued do you feel by CANR faculty in your department/school/unit? 
Highly Valued – 19% 
Valued – 35% 
Somewhat Valued – 34% 
Not Valued – 11% 

Q3 - How valued do you feel by your staff counterparts in your department/school/unit? 
Highly Valued – 29% 
Valued – 47% 
Somewhat Valued – 20% 
Not Valued – 3% 

Q4 – How do you feel about the amount of communication from CANR leadership? 
Too Much – 2%
About Right – 67%
Not Enough – 23%
Other – 8% provided a written comment. Themes for these comments included receiving communication not relevant to job, receiving duplicate communication, and receiving communication that is insincere or lacks transparency.

Q5 - What is your opinion of the overall morale of the staff in your department/school/unit? 
Good – 26% 
Neutral – 40% 
Not Good – 34% 

Q6 - What state describes your morale relative to your work in CANR? 
Good – 38% 
Neutral – 39% 
Not Good – 23% 

Q7 – Are you experiencing current barriers to your success as a staff member in the CANR? 
Yes – 55% 
No – 45% 

Q8 – If yes to the previous question, please choose all barriers that may apply: 
Unmanageable Workload – 26% 
Lack of Communication from Departmental Leadership – 16% 
Understaffed/Unfilled Positions – 31% 
Other – 27% provided a written comment. Themes for these comments included lack of funding, lack of advancement opportunities, lack of direction/engagement from supervisor, burnout, work‐life balance challenges, lack of training, and lack of public engagement with programming. 

Q9 - Please rank the following engagement activities in order of your likelihood to participate. Please label each option from 1 through 6, with one being the most likely to participate. 

  1. Webinar w/CANR staff & Dean
  2. All staff/faculty awards picnic  
  3. Walking club  
  4. March Madness pool  
  5. Book club  
  6. MSU women’s basketball tickets 

Q10 – Please list any other engagement activities that interest you. 
Written comments included in-person activities (cornhole tournament, potluck, fishing, kayaking, etc.), in-person briefings or conversations with CANR leadership, and event tickets (MSU sports, Wharton). Seven respondents noted the difficulty in engaging because they are off campus, and 4 respondents stated that they have no interest in engagement activities. 

Q11 - Would you be more likely to attend staff engagement activities if they were established within your department/school/unit or open to all CANR? 
Established within your department/school/unit – 65% 
Open to all CANR – 35% 

Q12 – What is your current work location? 
On-campus – 19% 
Off-campus (not at home) – 32% 
Home – 18% 
Hybrid – 31% 

Q13 – Is your current work location affecting your morale in a: 
Positive Manner – 48% 
Negative Manner – 14% 
No Effect– 37% 

Note: Percentages may not total to 100% due to rounding 


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