Student Survey Policy and Procedures


All staff members and students of the University


To ensure a consistent and co-ordinated approach across the University to surveying students


Student surveys are an important source of information on the student experience 

The ready availability of digital surveying tools has led to an increase in surveys of students at the University.  The co-ordination and oversight provided through this policy ensures that the surveys of students are managed to minimise over-surveying of the student population and to maximise response rates for institutional surveys 


1.    All surveys of students initiated by a member of the University community must comply with existing University policy, and the principles and methodologies of survey design and conduct including:

  • voluntary participation of students
  • a clear focus or aim
  • a design and methodology that ensures validity, reliability and accuracy, and supports evidence-based judgements and decisions
  • a clear statement for potential respondents that includes:
    • the intended use of the information collected
    • how student privacy and confidentiality will be protected
    • how respondents will be able to access a summary of findings from the survey
    • the terms and conditions associated with any incentive prizes offered 

2.    The following are core institutional surveys:

  • Learning and Teaching Survey (annual)
  • New Students Survey (annual)
  • Graduate Destination Survey (every two years)
  • International Student Barometer (every two years)

3.    To protect the University’s core institutional surveys, surveys of students initiated by members of the University community - whether undertaken for academic research, institutional research, or other purposes - must be approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) before students are contacted about the survey.  This includes where an external organisation is contracted to survey University of Auckland students  

4.    Exemptions to the requirement for DVC(A) approval include:

  • small-scale surveys of students undertaken for academic research purposes
  • service feedback surveys that are characterised by targeting a clearly defined user-group within the student population (e.g. a     survey seeking feedback on accommodation services that is distributed to users of University accommodation)
  • structured focus group activities undertaken by academic units or service divisions
  • course and teaching evaluation surveys
  • the annual Auckland University Students Association (AUSA) survey on the Student Services Levy; and small-scale surveys     conducted by AUSA 

5.    The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will base his or her decision on the potential impact of the survey on the student population, its proposed timing and (for institutional surveys), strategic relevance 

6.    Applications for annual or recurrent surveys of students will be considered carefully against the University’s strategic objectives, and in light of existing standing institutional surveys 


Surveys of students for academic research purposes 

7.    All surveys of students for the purpose of academic research require ethics approval from the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (UAHPEC) 

8.    DVC(A) approval for large-scale surveys of students for academic research purposes must be sought concurrently with UAHPEC approval

Note - UAHPEC ethics approval is for a three-year period 

9.    It is the responsibility of the principal investigator to ensure that both UAHPEC and DVC(A) approvals are granted before large-scale research surveys are undertaken 



10.    Survey sponsors for institutional research surveys approved under this policy must provide a copy of survey results, or a summary report, to the Academic Quality Office.  Surveys conducted by AUSA are excepted from this requirement

11.    Survey sponsors, or principal investigators for academic research surveys, are responsible for ensuring that survey participants have the opportunity to learn about survey results and outcomes

12.    The DVC(A) is to report annually on survey activity and outcomes, where possible, to Education Committee

13.    The approval status of institutional and other recurrent surveys of students approved under this Policy is to be reviewed by Education Committee every three years

14.    Survey sponsors and principal investigators are responsible for ensuring appropriate protection of respondent identity and confidentiality, and for ensuring the appropriately secure and confidential storage of data



15.    Survey sponsors must consult the Student Survey Register and Student Survey Calendar for the current schedule and scope of approved surveys 

16.    Applications for DVC(A) approval of a proposed student survey must be made using the Student Survey Proposal form and will be coordinated through the Academic Quality Office.  See Survey Approval Process  diagram.

  • the approval of the relevant director or faculty dean must be included
  • survey sponsors or principal investigators must include specific information about requirements when access to University student data forms part of the survey project
  • the Planning and Information Office provides data for approved institutional surveys, but must be given a reasonable period of notice for such a requirement
  • where a sampling approach is used, consideration must be given to ensuring the representative weighting of groups in the sample, including equity groups
  • the sample must include only actively enrolled students, and depending on the nature of the survey consideration should be given to including students with a minimum EFTS load
  • if the proposed survey is conducted by an external organisation contracted through the University, appropriate procedures must be in place to safeguard the privacy of student information
  • the University has a site licence for the survey tool, Qualtrics, which may be used as a platform for online surveys 

17.    The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) may request changes to proposed survey timings 

18.    A decision is to be returned within two weeks of submission of a completed application form                                                       

19.    The Academic Quality Office is to advise the survey sponsor or principal investigator of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s decision, and any conditions that may apply 

20.    Changes made to the timing or methodology of an approved survey must be notified to the Academic Quality Office 

21.    A Student Survey Register and a Student Survey Calendar provide information on all institutional surveys and any other surveys of students approved under this policy

Note - the Register and Calendar are maintained by the Academic Quality Office 

22.    Survey sponsors may contact the Academic Quality Office to discuss survey proposals or approval procedures 


The following definitions apply to this document: 

Academic research means original, independent investigation undertaken by staff members or students

Institutional research surveys of the student population are those intended to assist the University to achieve its strategic objectives by informing institutional planning, policy development and decision-making in areas related to the student experience

Large-scale survey means a survey population of 1000 students or more

Small-scale survey means a survey population of fewer than 1000 students

Staff members refers to individuals employed by the University on a full or part-time basis

Student population means prospective students; currently enrolled students; or recent graduates of the University of Auckland

Survey means a set of structured questions that require recorded responses from an individual

Survey sponsor means the person requesting the survey to be conducted

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries

University community means all staff members and students of the University

University-wide refers to surveys that are advertised and open to all enrolled students

Document management and control

Owned by: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)

Content manager: Manager, Academic Quality Office

Approved by: Council

Date approved:  30 April 18

Review date:      16 April 21