The Personal and Social Responsibility Inventory (PSRI)

AAC&U has partnered with the Research Institute for Studies in Education (RISE) at Iowa State University to oversee the national administration of the Personal and Social Responsibility Inventory (PSRI), a campus climate survey developed through AAC&U’s Core Commitments initiative.The PSRI surveys four campus constituent groups—faculty, students, student affairs professionals, and academic administrators—regarding key dimensions of personal and social responsibility: striving for excellence; cultivating academic integrity; contributing to a larger community; taking seriously the perspectives of others; and developing competence in ethical and moral reasoning and action

RISE is now recruiting campuses to administer the PSRI in 2014; for more information about using the survey, visit or email

The Core Commitments initiative was supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.


The development of the survey began in 2006 under the direction of Lee Knefelkamp, director of dialogue and assessment, and Richard Hersh, with research assistance from Lauren Ruff and funding from the John Templeton Foundation. The developers conducted a thorough review of the relevant literatures, created a pool of sample items, and then drafted a version of the survey. This initial instrument went through internal revision before being sent to external reviewers, survey research firms, and experts in the fields of student development and climate measurement. The PSRI was developed to gauge respondents' perceptions across the five dimensions of personal and social responsibility and across ten markers of campus culture. The survey includes quantitative items plus open-ended items to capture the experiences of individual respondents.

The instrument was tested at three institutions in spring 2007 by then-director of research Eric L. Dey and colleagues at the University of Michigan's Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education. A revised PSRI was subsequently administered in fall 2007 by the 23 schools in the Core Commitments Leadership Consortium after they each used an Institutional Matrix to map their campus opportunities, assets, and gaps in educating students for personal and social responsibility . Overall, 24,000 students and 9,000 campus professionals completed the PSRI in that administration, and the survey has now been refined for use by the wider higher education community.

Findings from Fall 2007

Findings from the fall 2007 administration are available in several forms, most recently in three publications. Developing a Moral Compass: What Is the Campus Climate for Ethics and Academic Integrity? examines constituents’ perceptions of the campus climate for academic and personal integrity as well as moral and ethical reasoning. Civic Responsibility: What Is the Campus Climate for Learning? describes the degree to which students are encouraged to develop civic awareness and skills, and highlights practices that advance students’ civic commitments. Engaging Diverse Viewpoints: What Is the Campus Climate for Perspective-Taking? focuses on whether—and which—environments promote students' abilities to understand and be informed by perspectives that differ from their own. Initial findings are also published in a report titled Should Colleges Focus More on Personal and Social Responsibility?

If you have specific questions about the PSRI or the upcoming 2014 administration, please contact Dr. Robert Reason at