Inclusivity survey page banner


The big picture | Timelines and process | Confidentiality and security | Questionnaire preview | The qualitative interview and focus group process | Practical help | Provider and questionnaire credentials | Support and assistance | Contact details

The big picture

  • Why is UCT doing this survey?

    UCT wants to make our institution a home for all. Broadly, this survey is about whether the university community feels a sense of belonging, and, for staff particularly, whether they feel engaged, represented, valued and respected for who they are and their contribution to the institution.

    The Staff Inclusivity Survey was identified by the UCT Executive as a strategic objective aligned to the UCT Strategic Planning Framework 2016 – 2020. It is intended as a means to produce in-depth baseline data to guide and measure the interventions and the performance outcomes of the transformation process.

    UCT recognises that internal interventions are required to rebuild relationships and create greater understanding in terms of the change process that the university has embarked upon. The outcome UCT is seeking is increased inclusivity as a result of strategic interventions for faculties and departments.

  • What is the survey all about?

    At issue is the question of inclusivity at UCT - for staff and students. Broadly, it is about whether the university community feels a sense of belonging, and, for staff particularly, whether they feel engaged, represented, valued and respected for who they are and their contribution to the institution.

    The survey comprises a quantitative phase (questionnaire) followed by a voluntary qualitative phase (interviews and focus groups).

    The outcome UCT is seeking is increased inclusivity as a result of strategic interventions for faculties and departments. The survey is already an intervention aimed at improving inclusivity, but specific, targeted interventions will follow from 2020 to 2023, at which point inclusivity will once again be measured.

  • Why should I participate?
    A wide number and variety of perspectives and voices are essential to help UCT get to grips with the concept of inclusivity and what’s needed to achieve it on campus. By not participating or withholding your input, you miss the chance to voice your opinions and so help to shape the institution at which you work. The university, meanwhile, misses out on your input into the implementation of critical interventions essential to making UCT more of a home for all staff. You may feel cynical about whether such a survey will achieve any real change, so it’s important to know that there is a strong commitment in place from 2020 to 2023 to address issues of inclusivity and institutional belonging in effective ways.
  • Will the survey change anything?
    The time when issues of institutional inclusivity and belonging could be swept under the carpet are long gone. The Executive and the Office for Inclusivity and Change recognise that these are crucial strategic issues that will impact on UCT’s performance, relevance and sustainability into the future.
  • How will the results be used?

    The results will be used to inform and implement interventions that improve inclusivity and institutional belonging. These interventions will be implemented through the office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Transformation, Professor Loretta Feris, and the OIC. The results will be made available to UCT staff during November 2019.

    The results will not be used to:

    • victimise or bully staff,
    • identify people and their viewpoints,
    • increase exclusion and alienation, or
    • drive a particular political agenda.

    In addition, UCT will never have access to the raw data, nor will the institution be provided with any data analysis for demographic groups comprising fewer than 10 members. This further safeguards respondents’ anonymity.

  • How and when will the results be shared?
    The results will be shared in a report in November 2019 that will include the findings from both the quantitative and qualitative research phases, as well as recommendations for further interventions. There will be further feedback via a VC Desk and other institutional channels in respect of the planned interventions and follow-up activities.
  • Who is being asked to complete the survey?
    All staff, excluding tutors, are invited to take part. This includes permanent and contract staff, whether employed in full- or part-time positions.
  • Is it compulsory to take part?
    No, it isn’t. However, UCT really wants to hear from as many staff members as possible in order to ensure that everyone’s input is included, and all voices are heard. We appeal to you to take the time to make UCT a more inclusive institution by completing the questionnaire. It will only take 20 minutes of your time.
  • Have the UCT unions been consulted?
    On 8 April 2019 the leadership from all the unions represented at UCT were informed about the survey and the service provider, Aephoria. During this session, questions regarding survey deployment and the languages to be used were answered.
  • How have decisions about this project been made?

    A Working Group, led by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Transformation, Professor Loretta Feris, oversees the service provider’s procurement and appointment and its implementation of the survey. Since appointing the external provider, Aephoria, in January 2019, the Working Group has been advising and making crucial decisions about the research. These activities have included stakeholder engagement with numerous groups and individuals, including specific PASS departments, unions and leadership forums. The UCT Executive has been part of the process throughout.

    A framework was developed to inform all decisions and trade-offs, and to ensure the following principles were considered throughout:

    • pragmatism,
    • inclusivity and fairness,
    • collegiality, community and trust, and
    • academic integrity.
  • Why aren’t students being included?

    Our strategic focus for this project is on staff.

    UCT students participated in the South African Survey of Student Engagement (SASSE) during September 2018. That survey was conducted by the University of the Free State and gathered data from a number of universities across the country. Reporting and feedback to institutions is currently under way and will include high-quality data that encourages changes to the learning environment that are intended to boost student success. Feedback from the SASSE to our broader UCT community will be provided during the latter part of 2019. The results of this and all subsequent student surveys will be considered and aligned with the outcomes and initiatives to be implemented for staff.

  • How does this survey relate to the IRTC process and report?
    UCT wants to make our institution a home for all. The Staff Inclusivity Survey was identified by UCT leadership as a strategic objective aligned to the UCT Strategic Planning Framework 2016 – 2020. The planning for this project started in 2017. It is intended as a means to produce in-depth baseline data to guide and measure the interventions and performance outcomes of the transformation process. The survey’s scope is different from the IRTC, although the survey will take cognisance of the IRTC report and the related decisions made by Council.

Timelines and process

  • What is the timeline for this project?
    • Survey announcement: 13 May 2019
    • Survey open for completion: 20 May – 14 June 2019
    • Preliminary analysis of quantitative data: 24 June – 26 July 2019
    • Interviews and focus groups: 29 July – 13 September 2019
    • Analysis of quantitative and qualitative data: 16 September – 14 October 2019
    • Draft report to Working Group and Executive: 24 October 2019
    • Release of final report: 11 November 2019
  • How can the survey be completed?

    The majority of staff will receive a unique link via email to their UCT email address which will take them to the questionnaire. It can be completed online using a computer, tablet or mobile phone.

    Some staff, specifically those in the Department of Student Affairs and the Department of Properties and Services, will receive a paper-based questionnaire to complete and return to Aephoria via internal mail.

    Please contact or WhatsApp 071 186 3441 if you have not yet received your questionnaire link or booklet. (It will be sent out on 20 May 2019.)

  • When will I have access to the survey?

    If you are completing an electronic survey, you will receive the relevant link in an email from on 20 May 2019.

    If you are completing a paper-based survey, your director will make be an arrangement with you during the first week of the survey (20 – 27 May 2019).

    If you have not received your survey, please contact or send a WhatsApp to 071 186 3441.

  • What is the deadline for completion of the survey?
    The survey must be completed by 23:59 on Friday, 14 June 2019. Don’t leave it until the last minute!
  • What happens after the quantitative part (questionnaire) of the survey is completed?

    The preliminary results will be analysed to identify areas of excellence and areas of concern in the institution. Follow-up interviews and focus groups will be conducted to deepen the findings.

    You will not be asked to participate in this part of the research based on your individual questionnaire responses, as these cannot be linked to you. A general notice will be sent to all staff to request participation in this phase of the research based on specific demographic groups that have been identified as important to further research. Whether or not you completed the survey is irrelevant to your participation in the qualitative research process. In addition, you don’t have to accept an invitation to be part of a focus group or to participate in an interview. Your participation is entirely voluntary.

    If you want to volunteer to be part of the qualitative phase of the research, please email with a short reason why you would like to be interviewed.

  • How and when will the results be shared?

    A report of findings will be made available to all UCT staff on the staff website before the end of the 2019 academic year.

    Further opportunities for feedback will be finalised with the Executive.

  • What happens after 2019?

    The survey results will inform a number of interventions and transformation activities aimed at improving inclusivity at UCT. These will be implemented under the leadership of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Transformation and the Office for Inclusivity and Change. These may range from changes in policies and organisational practices, to specific development interventions in selected departments or faculties.

    The intervention target period will run from 2020 to 2023.

  • Will this survey be a once-off measurement?
    No, this survey is the start of an intervention and transformation project that will run for three years until 2023, when inclusivity at UCT will again be measured to track improvements and the impact of transformation interventions.

Confidentiality and security

  • How is my anonymity protected as a participant in the survey?

    UCT does not have access to any individual responses and will not know whether or not you even participated. Your data and responses are secure. All data is handled by the service provider and the database of results does not include your email address, name or surname. No reporting or aggregated results for groups of respondents numbering fewer than 10 people will be shared with UCT.

    In some of the demographic questions there is an option to “rather not say”, should you be concerned about being identified.

  • How can I be sure that the data won’t be used to identify me?

    The external service provider, Aephoria, handles all data and is contractually bound not to share your individual data or responses with UCT. The company has conducted this kind of survey for more than 50 000 people globally and has not experienced any issues with data security or breaching of this aspect of anonymity in any previous projects.

  • Then why are you asking for my demographic data?
    This data will only be used to identify trends and patterns of exclusion and inclusion at UCT. The survey needs to include these questions because without some demographic data, the service provider will be unable to identify who is feeling included or excluded, or to identify patterns of inclusivity and exclusion. The categories within demographic questions have been made significant, but safe, in order to maximise participants’ anonymity.
  • Will my manager know what I’ve said in the survey?

    Your manager will not under any circumstances receive your responses. If you are a member of a very small department with fewer than 10 staff members who completed the survey, the results for your department will be included in a larger pool, eg within your faculty.

  • Who will have access to the data and responses?

    The data and responses are only accessible to the Aephoria project team as the external service provider. The database they work with in analysing responses is already anonymised, as it does not contain any email addresses, names or surnames.

    Paper-based questionnaires are handled by supervised data capturers from Aephoria and shredded once the data has been captured.

    The metadata is only visible to the Aephoria ICT lead, who is contractually bound by a non-disclosure agreement.

    UCT does not have access to any individual responses or any identifiable data.

  • Will my information be used for anything other than this survey?

    Your email address will be used to send you the link to the survey and the reminders to complete it. It will also be used to send you a general email inviting you to volunteer for the focus group sessions or interviews required in the qualitative phase. This will be a general invitation and it will not be based on your survey participation or individual response to the questionnaire.

    Once the two phases of the research have been concluded, the database will be destroyed. Your personal contact information will not be used for any other purpose, and you will not receive unsolicited mails or offers from the service provider, Aephoria.

    When you start the questionnaire, you also have the option to make the data available for further academic research purposes. You can accept or decline this invitation, but whatever you decide, you will still be asked to complete the questionnaire. If further academic studies are undertaken, it will only include those individuals who have given their consent. Data used for such studies will be used in anonymised form.

  • How secure are the servers on which the data will be stored?

    All data within the InclusionIndex is stored within an encrypted database using RSA encryption. Connections to this database have been firewalled to ensure that data ingresses from and egresses to authorised hosts within the virtual private cloud in which the platform is hosted.

    The InclusionIndex inclusivity survey system uses an SSL security certificate to ensure that your sessions and responses cannot be intercepted by any third parties or hackers.

    Always make sure that the status bar in your browser indicates that you are connected securely to the platform. Once the survey is complete, all the data will be retrieved from the platform and set aside to be archived for cold-storage.

  • How do you ensure participants complete the questionnaire only once?

    Each staff member who receives an electronic questionnaire will receive a unique link via email. This can only be used once. If you forward your link to someone else after completing your questionnaire, it will only take them to a screen thanking them for their participation.

    Each staff member who receives a paper-based questionnaire will be given a booklet with specific markings that cannot be replicated through photocopying or scanning. Only original paper-based questionnaires will be accepted and captured in the database.

  • Does this survey have UCT ethics clearance?
    Yes, it does. The ethics application was reviewed and passed by the Faculty of Commerce. It is valid for one year until April 2020 and can be renewed thereafter.

Questionnaire preview

  • In what languages will the questionnaire be available?

    The questionnaire is available in Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa.

  • Is the survey accessible to people with visual impairments?

    Yes, the questionnaire has been developed to accommodate people with visual impairments who make use of JAWS (screen readers). If you are having trouble with this, please email or send a WhatsApp to 071 186 3441.

  • How long does it take to complete?

    It takes 20 minutes to complete.

  • How many questions are included?

    There are 83 tick-box type questions that don’t require elaboration or further written explanations. Additionally, there are three optional spaces for providing short written answers.

  • What kinds of questions can you expect?

    The questions cover a range of topics relating to inclusivity, such as leadership, recruitment, bullying and harassment, and discrimination. Most of the questions are answered on a five-point scale where you choose an answer ranging from “strongly disagree” through to “strongly agree”.

    Here is an example question you may be asked to complete:

    • People at UCT are well informed about diversity, inclusivity and transformation topics.
  • What demographic/biographical data can you expect to be asked to provide?

    The demographic data is aimed at enabling the useful analysis of results and will help to identify where exclusion and inclusion are occurring.

    We do not ask for:

    • your name and surname,
    • your personnel number,
    • your email address,
    • your contact numbers.

    We do ask for:

    • gender,
    • nationality,
    • faculty/department,
    • race,
    • age,
    • religion.

    In some of these questions, you can opt out of answering by choosing the “I’d rather not say” option.

  • What is the difference between the paper-based and electronic versions of the questionnaire?

    They are exactly the same.

The qualitative interview and focus group process

  • Who will be invited to interviews and focus groups?

    Once the quantitative survey is complete, the preliminary results will be analysed to identify areas of excellence and areas of concern in the institution. Based on this, a general email will be sent to all UCT staff, inviting people who belong to specific groups or areas of interest to volunteer for focus group sessions or interviews. This will be a general invitation and it will not be based on your survey participation or individual response to the questionnaire.

    You are also invited to volunteer to participate in this phase of the research. Please email with a short reason why you would like to be interviewed. This does not guarantee your inclusion in this phase, but the service provider will keep you informed either way.

  • When will these interviews and focus groups take place?

    The interviews and focus groups will take place between 29 July and 13 September 2019.

Practical help

  • I can’t find my questionnaire link on email.

    Email or WhatsApp 071 186 3441 to get your link resent.

  • I’ve lost/deleted my link. Can I use the link my colleague was sent?

    No, you cannot. Each link can only be used once. Please email or WhatsApp 071 186 3441 to get your link resent.

  • The power went off while I was busy with the questionnaire – what now?

    No problem. The system saves your answers as you complete each section. You don’t have to redo the entire questionnaire. Simply click on the link in the email you received, and you will be asked to continue where you left off.

  • What device should I use to complete the questionnaire?

    The questionnaire is compatible with computers, tablets and mobile phones. You can use the device and browser of your choice. It may be helpful to have a full keyboard available for the optional free text parts of the survey.

  • What do I do with my paper-based questionnaire once it is complete?

    You put it in the pre-addressed envelope you received with your questionnaire and place it into the UCT internal mail. It will then be handed to the service provider for data capturing. There are no collection boxes on campus.

  • I am supposed to get a paper-based questionnaire, but I haven’t received one. How do I get my questionnaire? (for staff from Department of Student Affairs and Department of Properties and Services only)

    Please let us know via or WhatsApp 071 186 3441, or speak to your Director. If you are concerned about the process of handing out the questionnaires, you can also contact the Office for Inclusivity and Change on 021 650 2767. Remember that information is not submitted to the OIC, as all completed forms will be returned directly to Aephoria.

  • When and where will the sessions be held to complete the paper-based questionnaire?

    Department of Student Affairs and Properties and Services staff will be informed of the times, dates and venues of sessions where they can complete the questionnaire. These will be at your department’s chosen times between 20 May and 14 June 2019. You can also complete the questionnaire at any time once you have received it and send it to the service provider via internal mail in the envelope provided.

  • I’ve lost the envelope for my questionnaire. How do I get it to you?

    If you have lost your envelope, you can put it in any envelope and address it to:

    Inclusivity Survey
    c/o Aephoria
    UCT Post Room
    Otto Beit Building
    Upper Campus
    University of Cape Town

    You can then place it into internal mail, and it will get to the service provider directly. There is a secure postal facility that can only be accessed by Aephoria at the Post Room. You can also hand deliver your questionnaire to either Aephoria directly at Unit 19, Draper Square, Draper Street, Claremont, 7708, or to Nina Barnes at the Office for Inclusivity and Change in the Ivan Toms Building, 28 Rhodes Avenue, Mowbray (next to the Student Wellness Service).

Provider and questionnaire credentials

  • Who is the service provider for this project?

    The service provider that was appointed to run both the quantitative and qualitative phases of the project is a local, Cape Town-based consultancy called Aephoria.

  • How were they appointed?

    A Working Group, led by Professor Feris as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Transformation, has overseen the procurement and appointment of the service provider. A competitive procurement process was conducted during 2018 and Aephoria was appointed as the most suitable provider.

  • Is InclusionIndex a valid and reliable questionnaire?

    Yes, the instrument has been validated and has been deployed to more than 50 000 people in Southern Africa, the UK, Europe and the USA to date.

    InclusionIndex has been developed specifically to measure inclusion and has been subjected to a high level of academic scrutiny to ensure its validity and integrity. During the course of reviewing InclusionIndex’s psychometric elements to check its consistently strong properties, the following tests have been carried out:

    • descriptive data analysis of the individual items,
    • correlational analysis to investigate whether the items are sufficiently intercorrelated as indicated by the KMO Index,
    • principal component analysis,
    • analysis of the internal consistency of each item with Cronbach’s Alpha used as a measure of reliability of the sumscale,
    • correlational analysis involving all the sumscales to investigate their degree of convergent validity,
    • a profile of the means of the scales to evaluate the “traffic lights” scoring system,
    • a frequency analysis of the traffic light scores.

    This rigour sets InclusionIndex apart from the more generic employee opinion surveys conducted by many organisations.

  • Where else has this questionnaire been used?

    The institutions and organisations that have worked with the survey range from universities and government departments to agencies and for-profit organisations. Although other universities have used this tool, UCT is the first South African university to complete the InclusionIndex.

  • What results and actions have come from previous uses of this survey?

    Some improvements, actions and interventions that have come from the use of this survey include:

    • A global consumer goods company reviewed and changed its promotion and recruitment processes. They also established structured feedback channels for minority groups.
    • A UK university initiated a wholesale overhaul of its bullying and harassment procedures to make it significantly easier to report incidents.
    • A financial services group rolled out a new employee assistance programme to ensure that its staff had access to counselling for stress.
    • An engineering company added specific diversity and inclusivity metrics to the key performance indicators for its Executives.

Support and assistance

  • The questionnaire made me feel uncomfortable and unsettled while/after completing it. Who can I contact for further support or counselling?

    You may access the UCT Employee Health and Wellness Programme, or phone the toll-free number 0801 113 945 from a Telkom line (available 24 hours a day) to talk to an on-site counsellor.

    An English-speaking on-site counsellor will be available on Mondays and Wednesdays, while an isiXhosa-speaking on-site counsellor is available on Fridays (09:00 to 13:00). Both on-site counsellors will be stationed in the Bremner building. Should you wish to make an appointment to see either counsellor, please call the toll-free line to make a booking.

    Other options are:

    • An on-site counsellor (once a month) at the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI). Contact Marwou de Kock on 023 346 5400.
    • An on-site counsellor (once a month) at the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre (once a month). Contact Dr Zandile Mkhize.

    You can also send USSD code *134*905# to request a callback and arrange for counselling services. Please note that this is not the general questionnaire help line.

  • I want support when completing the questionnaire. How do I get help?

    If you have received a paper-based questionnaire, ask your Director about the time, date and location of the next group session where support will be available in Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa.

    If you have received an electronic link to the questionnaire and need support, email or WhatsApp 071 186 3441.

Contact details

  • How do I contact the service provider?

    You can speak to the team from Aephoria by sending an email to or WhatsApp 071 186 3441.