As a lifelong Richmond resident and current city commissioner, Jason Morgan desired a scientific survey that would engage local citizens in charting the community’s course.
He first asked Eastern Kentucky University regional outreach agent Vickie Moberly, who in turn contacted Dr. Yoshie Nakai, director of the Center for Applied Psychology and Workforce Development at EKU. Now, city leaders will soon hear the results and analysis of a community survey developed and administered by two graduate students in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Cassandra Walter and Brianna Wilson, with oversight from Nakai.
The survey touches on such topics as public safety, education, traffic and transportation, the business environment and community appearance, among others.
“Any time we can bring our community and university together in a collaborative manner is positive,” Moberly said. “This particular ‘town-gown’ initiative is a win-win proposition for both partners. The city benefits by gaining real-time feedback from its citizens that can be utilized to set priorities and decision making, and the University benefits by providing its faculty and students the opportunity to engage in authentic, meaningful research that has the potential for positive community impact.”
The project was completed at no cost to taxpayers, as the students earned academic credit for their “independent study” course.
“As far as I know, citizens of Richmond have never been asked the questions of what we are doing right and where we need to improve,” Morgan said. “The purpose of the survey was to engage the community to determine what our strengths and weaknesses are and to use the survey as a tool to enhance our strengths and address our weaknesses through policy, budget, etcetera.”
In expressing his gratitude to the University, Nakai and the students, Morgan said he was “grateful for the expertise provided by the center” and “confident that the report provides credible evidence of what our citizens want in our community. This provides the commission confidence when adopting policies that move our community forward.”
The students also benefit, Nakai said, “by polishing skills they gained in their (survey development) coursework. Also, managing a project from the beginning to the end offers students a great opportunity for their professional development.”
Anna Shank, who earned her master’s degree from EKU in May 2016, assisted with the project in its early stages.
The EKU team will present the results of the survey at the City Commission meeting on March 28.
"As confident as I am in the report, I am more confident that (it) will provide meaningful changes to Richmond,” Morgan said.
The Center for Applied Psychology and Workforce Development is a training, research and service agency within EKU’s Department of Psychology. Its services include:
· training programs.
· workshops and seminars.
· new employee orientations.
· job analysis and description.
· performance appraisals.
· employee recruitment and selection.
· organizational development and needs assessments.
· program development and evaluation
· data collection and analysis.
· employee surveys.
· customer satisfaction surveys.
For more information, contact the center at firstname.lastname@example.org.