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Back in January we shared information on this blog about CIRCLE’s new National Study on Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE) in this blog post. A number of TDC campuses have since signed up to participate in this free study (no survey completion required). The deadline to participate is June 1st, but TDC campuses are being given an extension until June 20th!

CIRCLE has revised their FAQ – it’s still long, but it’s clear.  And they’ve streamlined the process, recommending that campuses sign up for the basic study before the June 20th deadline, and then worry about whether they want to participate in a special study or tailor the data fields considered.

CIRCLE also contacted campuses to learn what barriers might prevent their participation.  Based on those responses, they are doing some “myth-busting.”  Here are a few things that CIRCLE heard, and their response to these concerns:

We don’t have time/don’t want to run another survey or assessment.

You don’t have to!  This is NOT a survey.

We don’t want to send CIRCLE our student list.

You don’t.  You send the authorization form to the National Clearinghouse, which already has your list, and they add voting records, de-identify it, and send it to us.

The system seems to protect student privacy.  Does it really?

It’s hard not to say to everyone, “trust us!”  But we worked hard with FERPA lawyers up and down the east coast, and it took us nearly four months to get it right. We don’t want to know who your students are or how an individual voted.  We want to study aggregate rates and patterns and give campuses interesting data..

We need IRB approval.

We can’t speak for individual campuses, but only one campus so far has felt the need to seek an exemption from their IRB.  Why?  Because CIRCLE will be working from de-identified lists. Reports contain aggregate data, not student lists (de-identified or not).

It’s hard to figure out who should sign the form.

Here’s who can sign: presidents, provosts, vice presidents, institutional researchers, and enrollment officers.  We’re keeping track of who signs most, and right now, it’s a dead heat between student affairs officers and institutional researchers.

We don’t want to deal with it now.  We’ll wait for the next round.

Campuses won’t get 2012 numbers for comparison if they wait.  It’s the comparisons with 2014 and 2016 that will make this information really valuable.

June 1st is too soon.  We can’t pull it off.

You have plenty of time  to download the form, find the right person to sign it, and follow the instructions for submission on the bottom.  The average turnaround, based on downloads-to-submission data, is three days. And TDC campuses are being given an extension until June 20th!

We can’t just sign this.  We have to read everything and understand it.  And it’s complicated, and no one has the time.

Join an upcoming info session.  There’s one a week, and they run around 30 minutes, give or take a few.  Or email Nancy Thomas (nancy dot thomas at tufts dot edu) with questions. She’s happy to chat with campuses one-on-one.