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Author: Eileen Filliben Edmunds, JD/MBA Managing Partner, ModernThink LLC

Title IX Blog Post“The first step in solving a problem is to name it and know the extent of it - - and a campus climate survey is the best way to do that.” – The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault

While campus climate surveys are not yet mandated, forward-thinking institutions are making the decision to conduct surveys.  Why should your campus administer a survey now and not wait?

1. Surveys provide valuable data upon which to base your decisions and allocate scarce resources.  At ModernThink, we’re fans of making data-based decisions.  With one client, our survey data clearly showed that knowledge of campus resources on sexual misconduct was much greater with their incoming freshman than upperclassmen.  This clear metric demonstrated that the investment in training worked, and they should carry it through with other students.   Likewise, data we’ve provided our clients has helped them understand perceptions among different demographics on campus, provided clear feedback on campus violence prevention resources and revealed important new data on incidence and prevalence.

2.Conducting a survey sends a message to your campus that you are listening.  And what sends an even stronger message is to share the data appropriately.  When there is a lack of information, people tend to fill in the blanks themselves, and not always in a positive way.  Conducting a campus climate survey is the right thing to do.  We’ve seen that students, faculty and staff participating in a Title IX survey want to be heard.  Use a survey to frame your dialogue about sexual misconduct and gender discrimination, and to solicit input on improvements and programs that would be most meaningful on your campus.

3.We know survey mandates are coming.  The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has made conducting climate surveys a requirement of many resolution agreements.  Both pending legislations, (Campus Accountability and Safety Act and Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency on Campus Sexual Violence Act) require campus climate surveys.  It’s unclear if a specific format will be prescribed, but we know surveys are coming. Surveys could be used to gather information, or as an enforcement mechanism. Future survey results might be made public.  Wouldn’t you rather learn and act now while there’s time to make improvements?  Obtain a baseline read and begin a longitudinal assessment of climate and culture evolution over time.

4.Surveys bring attention to an issue that needs to be addressed.  What you don’t know can be dangerous and put your institution, students and employees at risk.  We’ve heard institutions say “Sexual assault is not a problem here!”  But are you sure?  Don’t put your head in the sand.  A survey allows you to close the gap between perception and reality, and helps you mitigate risk.

To learn more about a Fall 2015 Title IX survey collaboration between HERC and ModernThink, please visit

Enter your name and contact information under Stay Informed with Program Updates.

HERC members receive a 10% discount on survey pricing.

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2. What makes your service stand out in the higher education recruitment and retention field?

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3. What is the tool or resource you provide to clients that wins you the most accolades?

Higher Education clients love our Approvals module. The tool makes it easy for hiring and selection committees to view, approve and/or reject candidates with just a few clicks. It’s quick and easy and can even be done from mobile devices. Customers also appreciate that we satisfy the needs of all types of users, from HR Departments and selection committees to IT departments and applicants.

4. What is a trend you see in your field that affects higher education recruitment?

The biggest trend in software development right now is mobile technology. Seventy-seven percent of all job applicants expect to use mobile apps during their job search and nearly one-third of’s traffic each month comes from mobile devices. However, as many as 40 percent of mobile candidates abandon the apply process when they encounter an application that is not optimized for mobile devices.  

5. Does your company have any new initiatives or products that would be of interest to HERC members?

As mobile technology continues to grow at a rapid pace, our latest initiative to bring the HireTouch application experience to mobile devices is very exciting. Applicants are now able to create a profile, search for and apply to jobs all from their mobile devices. We continually improve and refine the product and are always looking for new ways to better serve our clients, including partnering and integrating with many specialized services such as background checks and HRIS/HRMS.

6. Why is partnering with HERC important to your company?

Partnering with HERC is important to HireTouch because we believe in providing higher education institutions with the best possible tools for hiring and recruitment. Our staff is committed to ensuring the success of all our clients and we value networking and the sharing of ideas to foster a strong user community. 

By:  Eileen Filliben Edmunds, JD/MBA, Managing Partner, ModernThink LLC

1)  Title IX is not just about students.  It applies to faculty, staff and administrators, too, whether they are the alleged victims or perpetrators.  HR needs to be as vigilant about Title IX as it is about other employee rights and responsibilities. While nearly all of the recent Title IX focus has been on student-on-student misconduct, the law starts with the words “No person”, not “No student.”  Title IX prohibits employment discrimination, sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct.  Faculty, administrators, staff and students all benefit from its protections and are all held accountable to its standards.  HR needs to ensure that all employee policies, practices, systems and trainings are compliant and up-to-date.

2)  Patterns of Title IX violations are often symptoms of a broken culture. As the guardian of the culture, HR plays an essential role in continually assessing and cultivating its health.  Culture refers to the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize members of an organization and define its nature.  At institutions where there seem to be more persistent Title IX problems, there’s often a failure chain in play, meaning that multiple, interdisciplinary failures are occurring, and/or checks and balances are either not in place or not working.  HR can play a vital leadership role in ending the failure chain.  An important proactive step is assessing cultural health through a climate survey.  Only then will you have the data you need to make the process and/or cultural improvements that are needed most.  Only then will you have the best chances of extinguishing any smoke before it becomes fire.  See #4 below.

3)  Reputation damage can be devastating, especially to recruitment and retention of faculty, staff and students. Proactive HR practices can help mitigate the harm.  We’ve all seen too many recent examples of schools getting black eyes in the headlines related to alleged Title IX transgressions.  The ramifications can be swift, harsh and far-reaching, especially if the institution is perceived to be non-responsive.  Boards demand answers. Alumni threaten to withhold donations and/or call for changes to the administration.  Faculty, administrator and staff job applications go down and/or top candidates ask even more challenging questions.  Student enrollment suffers.  The OCR opens an investigation.  Preemptive HR practices can help identify and lessen these threats before they happen.  See #4 below.

4)  Strategic-thinking HR professionals anticipate and reduce risks, including those associated with Title IX.  While senior administrators are likely aware at a high level of an institution’s responsibilities to all employees under Title VII, many fewer understand the overlapping requirements of Title IX.  Therefore, strategic HR partners have a critical role in educating senior administrators and others about the reach of the law and the dangers of noncompliance.  HR professionals should also conduct an internal audit to ensure that all policies, practices and procedures are up-to-date regarding Title IX as it relates to employees.  By way of example, in light of additional federal guidance, many colleges and universities have recently reviewed their student grievance, complaint and/or disciplinary procedures to ensure compliance with Title IX.  That same exercise should be done for employee grievance, complaint and disciplinary procedures.  In addition, it’s important for HR to ensure that training keeps pace with all needs and requirements, including those under Title IX.  HR should also survey regularly to understand the current “state of the union” and identify and rectify issues before they become risks to the institution.

5)  Even putting their own Title IX rights aside, faculty and staff care deeply about students. When things go wrong, HR can have an important role in resolving stand-offs and repairing relationships and processes.  So many college and university employees go out of their way to build lasting bonds with students.  Faculty often has the most direct contact.  If a student is harmed or worse yet, there appears to be a pattern of ongoing harm, a deep divide can be created not only between the administration and students but also between the administration and faculty and even the administration and alumni.  HR can have a critical role building bridges, facilitating communication and making meaningful improvements.

To learn more, please sign up for HERC’s upcoming webinar Gender Discrimination & Sexual Misconduct on Campus: Understand Your Climate & Protect Faculty, Staff & Students on Thursday, May 28th at 10 PT/11 MT/12 CT/1 ET.  Click here to register.

To stay posted about a Fall 2015 Title IX survey collaboration between HERC and ModernThink, please visit here and enter your name and contact information under “Stay Informed With Program Updates”.

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1. If you had one word to describe what your company is all about, what is it?


2. What makes your service stand out in the higher education recruitment and retention field?

It is important to market to and recruit a diverse group of people to add richness to your institution. is the only image collection available for commercial use that offers lifestyle imagery covering many invisible and visible disabilities.  The images are all fully released and captioned to include the specific disability.  They include images of real people with real disabilities living their lives while engaging in education, sports, careers, home life and rehabilitation.

3. What is the tool or resource you provide to clients that wins you the most accolades?

Clients can search with keywords focused on specific disabilities.

4. What is a trend you see in your field that affects higher education recruitment?

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5. Does your company have any new initiatives or products that would be of interest to HERC members?

New imagery is being added all the time.  We can shoot to a customer's need if you don't find what you are looking for, usually at no extra cost.

6. Why is partnering with HERC important to your company?

HERC offers a good format to promote diversity among people and institutions. is all about the richness of diversity.

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There are over 200,000 employment sites currently in operation on the Internet, and these sites have been recognized as the elite of their field by the job seekers, employers and recruiters who use them.

Now celebrating their eleventh year, WEDDLE’s annual User’s Choice Awards are the only accolades in which actual users are able to vote for the employment sites they think work best.  While the poll is not a scientific survey, it does indicate the intensity of support users have for their favorite sites.

“We believe customers count most,” says WEDDLE’s CEO, Peter Weddle.  “While pundits will always have their favorites, it’s the people who use the sites who really know which are the most helpful.”

The winners were selected in open balloting conducted throughout 2014 at the WEDDLE’s Web-site (  Thousands of unique ballots were cast and the top thirty vote-getters were selected as the 2015 User’s Choice Award winners.  For a complete list of the winners, please visit

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