Ruffalo Noel Levitz recently hosted a webinar, Student Satisfaction Data: Overcoming Barriers and Facilitating Use. The webinar featured speakers from three institutions sharing their experiences:
- Heather Chapman, Director of Academic Analytics at Weber State University (Utah)
- Chris Confer, Assistant Provost and Dean of Students at Anderson University (Indiana)
- Cammie Pollastro, Assessment Coordinator at Western Wyoming Community College.
If you missed this hour-long session, you can listen to the recording. I also want to share a few highlights from these presentations with you:
Why assess student satisfaction? Three reasons from campuses
Heather Chapman indicated that Weber State administers the RNL Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) because it is a good fit for their demographic, they have found it relatively easy to convert the data into action, it is a comprehensive survey instrument, and the results are easy for faculty and staff to digest.
Chris Confer shared that they were looking for tools to help them with improving retention at Anderson University. They wanted data to support or refute anecdotal evidence, and also were looking for ways to understand and improve the value of the university in the face of rising tuition. They also appreciated that the SSI offers external national benchmark for comparison purposes.
Cammie Pollastro said that the decision to use the SSI was made several years ago by her predecessors at Western Wyoming Community College, but the current team has continued to use the instrument because it gives them an important perspective on their students’ perceptions, helps them to understand which campus services are most important, and identifies current satisfaction levels.
How do campuses share their college student satisfaction data?
Sharing the data widely on campus is an important step to be sure the campus at large is aware of the student perceptions. The three campuses provided examples of how they have shared the results on campus, including:
- Presentations to the Student Affairs Division and the Academic Affairs Division
- Working sessions with the Student Government Association to partner on initiatives
- A chapel presentation dedicated to talking about the result and the subsequent improvements
- Incorporating the data into a Measures Table which is used by the Building Student Connections team for evaluation and to inform the areas of concern for targeted action
What are some examples of initiatives and responses?
Taking action with the data to make improvements on campus is the key to improving student satisfaction. Typically campuses are looking for opportunities to change policies, procedures, or student perceptions in ways that may be easy to implement immediately as well as initiatives that may require additional time and resources. The three campus presenters above shared these activities that they have been able to implement:
- Reducing campus run-around through campuswide initiatives to reduce the number of people a student must interact with to complete a task
- Better lighting in the parking lots and cameras as residence hall entrances to improve safety and security
- Campaign on campus to address the value proposition of the University to shift perceptions on tuition being worthwhile
- Establishment of a Student Persistence and Success Academy to provide additional academic support to students
- Improved course scheduling in response to concerns on the ability to register for classes with few conflicts