The units within Towson University’s Division of Innovation and Applied Research each have a primary focus that guides their work. However, many of our services are complementary. Today, units are are working together on collaborative studies, marketing their services together rather than independently, now more than they ever have in the past. One great example of this collaboration is the Center for Professional Studies (CPS) working with the Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) to conduct a study on the level of engagement among employees at the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). Earlier this year MDOT contracted CPS to complete an engagement study focused on understanding how engaged MDOT employees feel as well as how empowered MDOT employees feel in their workplace. The study, which consisted of an engagement survey designed by RESI, was completed as part of the mission of MDOT.
To gather feedback from all MDOT employees, all of the MDOT Transportation Business Units were surveyed, including the following:
- Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA)
- Maryland Port Administration (MPA)
- Maryland Transit Administration (MTA)
- Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA)
- State Highway Administration (SHA)
- The Secretary’s Office (TSO)
- Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA)
Working closely with MDOT and CPS staff, RESI created the survey questions, including both closed- and open-ended questions, in late 2016. The survey was disseminated to MDOT employees in early 2017. To ensure that all MDOT employees had the ability to take the survey and that the survey responses could not be linked to individual employees in this anonymous survey, MDOT staff had the opportunity to complete the survey through an online survey tool backed up to Towson University’s secure server or in paper format. This enabled the MDOT staff who work offsite or who do not have computer access to complete the survey and submit it via mail in pre-addressed envelopes. Once the survey closed, CPS analyzed the data and RESI created a summary report, presenting the findings to MDOT executives in May 2017.
While this survey approach was used to successfully gather feedback from MDOT employees, RESI staff are also able to conduct focus groups on employees’ attitudes, beliefs, and opinions. In the case of engagement studies, the staff’s anonymity would be removed through focus groups; however, the participants are able to provide candid feedback, which is often useful to move an organization forward using guidance from employees.
Collaboration is one of our Division’s core values. Each day, our teams try to reach across our networks and organizations to achieve maximum results. This project is just one example of how we are supportive of each other and our partners.