Quality, Access and Service Remain Top Priorities for Most Students
IOWA CITY, IowaGood classes and the opportunity to get into them without difficulty remains one of the most important aspects of college life for students at all types of institutions, according to a report released last month. The 2001 National Student Satisfaction Report summarizes the responses of 906,884 students at 1,099 four-year and two-year private and public institutions. Students were asked to indicate which areas of their educational experience are most important to them and their levels of satisfaction with these aspects of college life. The top five items in the categories of importance, satisfaction and performance gaps have remained relatively consistent across all institutional types for the last several years, says Julie Bryant, program consultant for the Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory, the survey instrument used in the study. “What matters most and where institutions are performing best is in the quality of instruction and in faculty knowledgeability. Another key issue we see consistently is students’ ability to register for classes with few conflicts,” she says.In terms of performance gaps, financial aid availability and practices remain problematic for students at all types of institutions. Campus parking is another area where campuses are not meeting student expectations, although it does not rank as high in importance, especially at non-commuter campuses. Students at four-year private institutions reported growing dissatisfaction in the areas of academic advising, concern for the individual, and student-centeredness. These failings were confirmed by staff and faculty at four-year private institutions who completed the related Institutional Priorities Survey.At four-year public institutions, students, faculty and staff all reported increased performance gaps in the areas of climate and service excellence, as well as academic advising.“Two-year community colleges are continuing to do the best at meeting student expectation,” Bryant says, citing steady or increased expectation and satisfaction levels in almost every area of the 2001 survey.
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