Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Public Administration


Employee attitude surveys, Employee retention, Portland State University




Portland State University (PSU) is strongly focused on equity and inclusion as evidenced by its strategic priorities, active Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion (OGDI), and many employees and students who care about inclusion and social justice. There is, however, less focus on the employee experience. With nearly 4,000 staff, faculty, administrators, and student workers, PSU runs on the people passionate about serving its mission, but depending on the area of the university in which one is employed, experiences can range from supportive and trusting to micromanaging and disrespectful.

This report examines the employee experience, or employee engagement, at PSU from multiple campus perspectives, and will focus on the experiences of those in members of marginalized populations (MPs). MPs are defined as those voices often or historically excluded from the mainstream or “privileged” aspects of PSU, Portland, and society in general, such as people with disabilities, women, people of color or ethnic minorities, members of the LGBTQ community, older employees, and political/religious minorities. The Gallup Q12 engagement survey was conducted in 2015 and 2016 with a subset of PSU employees that specifically broke participants up into five groups: gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQ status, and years of service at PSU.

The following report will discuss employee engagement in general, for public employees, and for marginalized populations; provide analysis of how PSU engagement is affected by MP status; examine the contributors and inhibitors of engagement at PSU; and provide recommendations for improving general PSU employee engagement, and particularly engagement among those marginalized groups.


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Advisors: Masami Nishishiba and Sarah Johnston

This is the final research paper.

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