Like many large institutions, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) was a much-surveyed campus community – so much so, in fact, that the proliferation of ad hoc, piecemeal assessments had created a kind of survey fatigue, with few strategic results, says Kelli Parmley, assistant vice provost at VCU’s Center for Institutional Effectiveness. “I was looking for an opportunity to be more strategic at the institutional level with our surveys,” says Parmley, who was also eyeing the institution’s next accreditation process five years out. But it was a pointed question from a board member that spurred VCU to find a more effective approach.
Research shows that more than three-quarters of college students today are employed while taking classes. Many of these students work at campus jobs. Institutions employing students on campus realize multiple benefits:
- On-campus employment can be an effective way to engage students in campus life and increase their sense of identity with the institution.
- Students who work perform better academically than their non-working peers.
- Campus jobs help prepare students for their post-collegiate career.
- With tight budgets, employing student workers can help leverage resources.
You can download the white paper Enhancing Student Success by Treating “Student Jobs” as “Real Jobs” to learn some useful things regarding student workers, including:
- Seven suggestions for maximizing the return from your investment in student employees
- Common elements of student worker training
- Eight ways supervisors can best help student workers
How does your campus get the most out of campus employment opportunities for students? What kind of training and support is available for supervisors of student employees? What kind of training is provided for student workers?
Read on, and see how you can significantly enhance your student employees’ work experience and boost job site productivity.
What do we know about the satisfaction levels and priorities of non-traditional students? These students include students 25 years of age an older (often referred to as “adult students”), students in graduate-level programs, and students enrolled online. These populations may make up the primary population you serve or be a population that you are currently interested in learning more about.
Three new research reports from Noel-Levitz highlight the satisfaction levels of non-traditional students regarding their educational experiences. They also reflect the priorities of these students and what they consider to be the most important issues when it comes to institutional improvements.
You can download these reports at https://www.noellevitz.com/nontraditional. There are three:
- The National Adult Learner Satisfaction-Priorities Report on adult students at the undergraduate level
- The National Adult Student Priorities Report on adult students in graduate as well as undergraduate programs
- The National Online Learners Priorities Report on students in online distance-learning programs
There are three general findings from these reports:
- Students at four-year and two-year adult serving institutions have similar priorities.
- Graduate students are generally more satisfied than undergraduate students.
- Students enrolled primarily online are typically more satisfied than students enrolled primarily on-campus but also taking online courses.
Do you find any of these results surprising? What has been your experience with your adult and online learners?
My clients on campuses sometimes ask, “Tim, before you joined Noel-Levitz and when you were still in our shoes, employed by a campus, what are some things you didn’t do right?” Wow! There are many things I didn’t do right or could have done better. I had the right goal, to improve fall-to-spring and fall-to-fall retention rates, but often I didn’t have the right strategies (art and science) in place. In this article I’d like to continue this conversation with you and discuss how you can use both art and science to strengthen your retention approaches, especially with an eye toward improving your first-year student assessment and early-alert systems as students transition to campus and continue to their second term and second year.
Recently when I was on a campus, my contact, let’s call her Pat, asked me, “Tim, is what we’re doing with our first-year assessment and early-alert system really early enough and are we missing opportunities to better understand our students? Isn’t it too late by mid-term for many students? Couldn’t we start to know the issues that are putting our students at risk earlier than we do?”