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Caltech Back Together Survey Results

October 04, 2021

To: The Campus Community
     Jennifer Howes, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Wellness
     Linda Krippner, Director, Staff and Faculty Consultation Center
Date: October 4, 2021
Re: Caltech Back Together Survey Results

For the past 19 months, the Caltech community—together with the rest of the world—has faced extraordinary and unprecedented challenges. Whether it's dealing with illness or the loss of a loved one, juggling work and childcare, or grappling with a sense of isolation and fear, the ongoing pandemic has placed significant stress on all of us.

In late August 2021, the Caltech Back Together committee sponsored a survey to better understand the hopes, challenges, and resource needs of community members, particularly as they relate to the return to full on-site operations. The survey was distributed in both English and Spanish, and responses were collected online.

In total, 1,403 individuals representing a cross-section of the Caltech community participated in the survey. A brief summary of the survey results has been posted on the Caltech Together website, along with a link to the full results

  • About half of respondents expected to return to work 100 percent on-site, while about half expected to have a hybrid work arrangement.
  • Nearly everyone said that they received information about Caltech's response to the pandemic primarily via email.
  • Mental health concerns were cited as a significant challenge faced by more than two-thirds of respondents.
  • A majority of respondents said that their main concerns about a return to on-site operations related to health and safety measures as well as managing interactions between different households. 

In addition, 429 open-ended responses were analyzed by the committee to assess what might be done to address the concerns of the community. These responses were analyzed by the Office of Institutional Research to understand the needs of the community, which were grouped into common themes. These categories were used to compile three domains of relevant programs and resources:

  • Information: a repository of frequently updated webpages and documents about the Caltech COVID-19 response;
  • Skill building: workshops and training resources from the Staff and Faculty Consultation Center and Student Wellness Services to help individuals navigate through the stress of returning to on-site operations;
  • Connection: workshops as well as online and in-person groups to foster the sense of community that has always been a strong part of the Caltech experience. 

The committee thanks everyone who participated in the survey, and appreciates the candor and constructive suggestions that helped to inform this collection of resources. Communication within a community is not just a one-way street, and we continue to welcome your ongoing feedback. If you have additional questions, concerns, or suggestions, you can always submit them through the Caltech Together website's online portal

Thank you for your continued support.