OSU Foundation Survey

A week or two ago – I wasn’t really paying attention – I got an email from the OSU Foundation CEO, asking me to take a survey on his behalf.  I ignored it, because hey, he happily ID’ed himself as the CEO, and we all know how I feel about that.

Two days ago I got another email from someone else from the OSU asking me to take the same survey.  Marketing tactic?  You bet. Did it work?  Sure – I decided to see what they wanted to know.  Three minutes in, it was clear they were doing research to figure out how to increase giving.  Wholly unsurprising, and I answered it relatively honestly, though I didn’t go all-out with the acerbic commentary.  (I do wonder if it was an all-alum email or if I was targeted, though.)

There were also a few questions that struck me as painfully bad, which is the genesis of this post.  All were on a Likert scale of 1-5 from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree.  The first statement of note:

I like what OSU represents.

Hm.  What does OSU represent, exactly?  If I say I like it, what am I liking?  Well, whatever the person who is presenting the survey results wants me to like!

This is bad social science, I thought when I read the question.  Then I realized the standards were far lower:  This is marketing.  Strongly Disagree.  Next.

OSU understands my needs.

What does this even mean? Is OSU my significant other?  My psychiatrist?  My friggin’ cat?  This was a survey addressed to alumnus – why do I care if OSU understands my needs?  I don’t need anything from them… except maybe to not be asked such asinine questions.  Also, what if my needs are not to be bugged by the Foundation for money?  Can they meet that need?  Didn’t think so.  Strongly Disagree; I need OSU not to become a goddamn corporation. (Later in the survey, they ask several questions about my giving habits.  Har.)

The final statement of note:

My OSU education helps me to be who I want to be.

Ooohhh….. now this is a marketing question!  Ironically, it is also very true that what I got out of college had far more to do with becoming a particular person than it was a job or career path.  In that sense, it’s a great question!  Too bad this was a marketing survey designed to get alum to donate more, and I hate that shit.  My answer was a lie.

Bottom line:  I don’t think I was that helpful, beyond the fact that I responded.  I did answer one question very truthfully:  I feel a connection to my old department, not to OSU as a whole.  That much is true.

I can’t wait for the Philosophy Department faculty and Chair to be forced to send out fundraising emails to alum.  This is gonna be great.

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3 Comments on “OSU Foundation Survey”

  1. IE Says:

    I so agree…very lame survey. Sad to see from a university.

  2. Jonathan Kaplan Says:

    “I can’t wait for the Philosophy Department faculty and Chair to be forced to send out fundraising emails to alum. This is gonna be great.”

    Ha! Way ahead of you. But we disguise them as “announcements” and “thank you” notes. 🙂

    But fortunately (?) with the coming “reorganization” there won’t be a “Philosophy Department” with a “Chair” anymore. There will be (I think) a “philosophy program” that may or may not have a “faculty liaison” to the “school director” (the “liaison” may or may not be part of the school “leadership team” headed by the director). (We’re still trying to figure out who else will be in the “school” with us, so things are all a little vague now…)

    So alas, there soon won’t be a Chair of the Philosophy Department under whose aegis fund-raising requests can be sent. Probably they’ll have to come from the school heads. Just as well, perhaps.

    Jonathan Kaplan
    Chair (for the next few months) of the Philosophy Department at OSU (for the next few months)

  3. Dennis Says:

    John…. that’s just bizarre. I look forward to the final results of the reorganization =)

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