academic graduate survey

advertisement
Okanagan University College
ACADEMIC GRADUATE SURVEY
Spring 1999
Institutional Research and Planning
and Dr. J. M. Small
1999 Academic Graduate Survey
Fall, 1999
September, 1999
Executive Summary
In June 1999, the Office of Institutional Research and Planning conducted a survey of all
graduating degree students in order to gather information related to their OUC experiences.
Of the 342 mailed questionnaires, 120 were returned, giving a 35% rate of response. The
survey and this report were designed to provide client feedback to University College
constituent groups with improvement in programs and service as the ultimate goal. The
questionnaire was similar to that used in 1998, thereby allowing some comparisons to be
made.
As was the case last year, the graduate population is typical of a community-based postsecondary institution, except that females outnumbered males by about two-to-one. This
is due to the nature of the OUC degree programs. About half could be considered nontraditional students in that they are over 24 years old, are married and have family
commitments. Their motivations for choosing OUC over other institutions were primarily
pragmatic in nature.
Respondents were satisfied with most aspects of their programs and courses. The four
highest rated items all deal directly with the attitude of instructors towards their students
and teaching responsibilities. The lower rated items focus on course and program
organization and requirements.
Administrative and support services were also generally satisfactory but rated a bit lower
than programs and courses. Respondents were reasonably satisfied with 13 of the 16
services. A common theme which appears to connect the satisfaction levels of students
with regard to both administrative and support services and programs and courses is a
high level of professionalism among OUC staff, faculty members in particular.
Despite the fact that the 1999 survey was somewhat changed, some comparisons
between the two years were possible:
i.
The ratio of male to female graduates increased from 1 to 3 in 1998 to 2 to 3 in
1999. (see Table 1, page 5 and Table 1, page 5 of 1998 Academic Survey)
The 1999 graduates claimed to have been less motivated by location in choosing
OUC.
The 1999 graduates had been more inclined to interrupt their studies for
employment reasons.
More 1999 graduates had secured jobs by the end of their programs. This is likely
related to ‘iii’ above.
ii.
iii.
iv.
Generally the results paint a very positive picture of OUC programs and services. This
impression is underscored in a series of closing questions that attempted to elicit a
concluding judgement from respondents.
•
•
In terms of degree program expectations, 81% felt that their experience had met or
exceeded their expectations.
In terms of value of education as an investment, 91% felt that their degree program
had been a good, very good, or exceptional investment.
Institutional Research and Planning
Page 2
1999 Academic Graduate Survey
•
Fall, 1999
93% would be inclined to recommend their degree program to a close friend.
Conclusions and recommendations arising from the survey are provided at the end of the
report.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.
INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................... 5
2.
THE STUDENT BODY.............................................................................................. 5
3.
MOTIVATIONS........................................................................................................... 7
4.
STUDENT SATISFACTIONS.................................................................................... 8
5.
CONTINUITY OF STUDY....................................................................................... 10
6.
PROGRAM OUTCOMES........................................................................................ 11
7.
GENERAL SATISFACTION .................................................................................... 12
8.
CONCLUSIONS....................................................................................................... 13
9.
RECOMMENDATIONS ........................................................................................... 14
Institutional Research and Planning
Page 3
1999 Academic Graduate Survey
Fall, 1999
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES
T ABLE 1: REPRESENTATIVENESS OF THE RESPONDENT GROUP ....................... 5
T ABLE 2: DEMOGRAPHIC AND ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF
RESPONDENTS........................................................................................................ 6
T ABLE 3: FACTORS INFLUENCING DECISION TO ATTEND OUC ............................ 7
T ABLE 4: SATISFACTION WITH ADMINISTRATION AND SUPPORT SERVICES...... 8
T ABLE 5: SATISFACTION WITH PROGRAMS AND COURSES ................................... 9
T ABLE 6: COMPARISON OF SELECTED SATISFACTION ITEMS IN 1998 AND 1999
SURVEYS ................................................................................................................... 9
FIGURE 1: REASONS FOR INTERRUPTING STUDIES............................................... 10
T ABLE 7: RATING OF PROGRAM OUTCOMES .......................................................... 11
FIGURE 2: EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES ...................................................................... 12
Appendix A: Research Instrument
Appendix B: Survey Results – Actual Scale
Institutional Research and Planning
Page 4
1999 Academic Graduate Survey
Fall, 1999
1. INTRODUCTION
In June 1999, OUC conducted a survey of all graduating students in order to gather
information related to their university experiences, with the ultimate goal of improvement
of degree programs and services. Since the questionnaire was similar to that used in
1998, an additional objective was to compare the two sets of data for changes in
demographics and perceptions. Of the 342 mailed questionnaires, 120 were returned.
The 35% response was better than last year (27%) and is considered to be acceptable
for revealing general tendencies. The extent to which the respondents are representative
of OUC’s graduating population is indicated in the comparison provided in Table 1.
(Note: In all tables, reported percentages are based on the number of responses for each
particular question. In some cases, the base is not the total respondent group.)
Table 1: REPRESENTATIVENESS OF THE RESPONDENT GROUP
Variable
Graduate Population (%)
Respondent Group (%)
Program of Study
BA
BED
BFA
BSC
BSN
BSW
BBA
Total
N
110 (32%)
45 (13%)
26 ( 8%)
61 (18%)
48 (14%)
28 ( 8%)
27 ( 8%)
345 (100%)
N
42 (35%)
12 (10%)
11 ( 9%)
15 (13%)
19 (16%)
12 (10%)
9 ( 8%)
120 (100%)
Average Age
29.3 years
30.2 years
2.1:1
2.3:1
Female/Male Ratio
Bearing in mind that the average age of the respondent group is an approximation based
on age–range data, the average ages of the population and respondent group are about
the same, and the representativeness of the genders also is close. There are some
minor biases in program of study: BSc and BEd graduates are slightly under-represented
in the respondent group, and BA graduates are slightly over-represented. Generally,
however, the respondents are quite typical of the target population.
2. THE STUDENT BODY
Examination of Table 1 shows that female graduating students outnumbered males by
about two-to-one, down from three-to-one among last year’s graduates. While this
distribution may suggest a bias in admissions and/or in dropout rate, this is not the case.
A major factor influencing the male/female ratio leans towards the nature of the programs
OUC offers. The mix of programs OUC offers tends to be slightly more attractive to
female students. i.e. nursing, elementary education. The average age in all programs
was around 29 years, but a closer analysis of the data reveals that the average age
Institutional Research and Planning
Page 5
1999 Academic Graduate Survey
Fall, 1999
varied by program with the oldest being BSW (33.6) and BFA (32.7) and the youngest
BSC (25.8).
The majority (84%) of the respondents were from the Okanagan, most of the remainder
from other parts of British Columbia, and about 3% from Alberta. All are Canadian
citizens or landed immigrants (Table 2.) Aboriginal Canadians comprised only 2.8% of
the respondents, while 3.7% of respondents classified themselves as disabled. Because
these are self-declared results only, it is likely that the actual totals are somewhat higher.
There were twice as many female respondents compared to males, and 41% of
respondents were within the typical college age (18 to 24 years). The majority were
single, but 38% were living with a spouse or partner during their last year of studies.
Table 2: DEMOGRAPHIC AND ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF RESPONDENTS
Variable
Area
Okanagan
Kootenays
Lower Mainland
Alberta
Other
Gender
Male
Female
Age
21-24
25-29
30-39
40-54
55 or older
Marital Status
Never married
Married or partnered
Divorced/Separated/Widowed
Citizenship
Canadian
Landed immigrant
Financial Sources
Off-campus work
On-campus work
Student loan
Prior savings
Spouse/partner
Family/friends
Other
Institutional Research and Planning
Number of
Respondents
Percentage
101
6
5
3
3
84%
5%
4%
3%
3%
36
84
30%
70%
52
28
15
24
1
43%
23%
13%
20%
1%
63
46
11
53%
38%
9%
117
2
98%
2%
78
19
49
61
30
43
14
72%
19%
48%
56%
29%
42%
18%
Page 6
1999 Academic Graduate Survey
Fall, 1999
Respondents supported themselves from multiple sources: 91% through employment;
71% received financial help from relatives and friends, and almost half had student loans.
Regarding family tradition of higher education, in the case of two out of three
respondents, neither parent had completed a degree. 22% of respondents reported that
one parent had completed a degree and 10% stated that both parents had completed a
degree.
The information on students reveals a fairly typical student body for a small university.
The great majority are from the local community and there are very few foreign or
aboriginal students. A significant number could be considered nontraditional students in
that they are over 24 years old (57%) and are, or have been, married or partnered (47%)
and have family responsibilities. On the whole, the respondents are generally very similar
to last year’s group.
3. MOTIVATIONS
Respondents were asked to rate a variety of factors that might influence a decision to
attend OUC (see Table 3). The rank order of factors, in terms of importance, are shown
along with respective rankings from last year’s survey (in parentheses).
Table 3: FACTORS INFLUENCING DECISION TO ATTEND OUC
Influencing Factors
Important or V important
Rank
Availability of program
Quality of instruction
Cost of tuition
96.7%
95.8%
90.8%
1 (2)
2 (4)
3 (3)
Living expenses
Class size
80.7%
80.7%
4 (5)
4 (5)
Institutional reputation
Location
76.5%
67.5%
6 (8)
7 (1)
Size of institution
47.1%
8 (9)
Athletics program
16.0%
9 NR
The six most important factors influencing the decision to attend OUC were rated as
important or very important considerations by 76%, or more, of the respondents.
Availability of desired program, quality of instruction, and reasonable tuition costs were
the top ranked considerations. Those factors also rated highly in last year’s survey.
Reasonable living expenses, small classes, and the university college’s reputation also
carried a lot of weight for the present group. The major difference from last year is the
importance of location, a factor rated number one last year and seven out of nine this
Institutional Research and Planning
Page 7
1999 Academic Graduate Survey
Fall, 1999
year. This finding suggests that students are becoming less place-bound and might be
more inclined to relocate to find the programs they desire.
4. STUDENT SATISFACTIONS
Respondents were asked to rate their satisfaction level with Administration and Support
Services and with Programs and Courses. Their responses are summarized in Tables 4
and 5 which display means and standard deviations based on the following scale:
♦
♦
♦
♦
♦
♦
♦
very dissatisfied 1
moderately dissatisfied 2
slightly dissatisfied 3
neutral 4
slightly satisfied 5
moderately satisfied 6
very satisfied 7
The “not applicable” responses were not factored into the calculations.
Table 4: SATISFACTION WITH ADMINISTRATION AND SUPPORT SERVICES
Service
Friendliness/courtesy of program staff
Tuition/fee level
Quality of classrooms
Parking availability
Academic advising by faculty
Availability of required degree courses
Availability of required specialty courses
Leadership of academic dean
Food service
Responsiveness of administration to student concerns
Ease of registration
Quality of computing resources
Quality of library resources
Remote access to computer network
Training to utilize computing resources
Academic advising by non-faculty
Mean
SD
Rank
5.7
5.4
5.4
5.3
5.1
4.9
4.7
4.5
4.5
4.4
4.3
4.2
4.1
3.9
3.8
3.5
1.5
1.5
1.6
1.7
1.9
1.7
1.9
1.6
1.8
1.8
1.9
1.7
2.0
1.7
1.5
1.9
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
Assuming that a mean score above 4 (neutral) indicates a reasonable level of
satisfaction, respondents were satisfied with 13 of the 16 services. The five most
satisfactory services are friendliness/courtesy of program staff; quality of classrooms;
tuition/fee level; parking availability; and academic advising by faculty. All five had a
mean rating of better than slightly satisfied.
Institutional Research and Planning
Page 8
1999 Academic Graduate Survey
Fall, 1999
The three least satisfactory services are: academic advising by non-faculty; training to
utilize computing resources; and remote access to computing network. All were rated
between slightly dissatisfied and neutral.
Table 5: SATISFACTION WITH PROGRAMS AND COURSES
Program Feature
Accessibility of instructors outside class
Instructors treat students with respect
Theoretical focus of program
Expertise of faculty in my area
Instructors’ pride in teaching
Quality of courses
Program expectations
Practical focus of program
Communication of program expectations
Standard of evaluation
Program flexibility
Mean
SD
Rank
6.0
6.0
5.9
5.9
5.9
5.7
5.4
5.4
5.2
5.1
5.0
1.5
1.5
1.2
1.4
1.4
1.3
1.3
1.5
1.6
1.6
1.5
1=
1=
3
4=
4=
6
7=
7=
9
10
11
Generally, respondents were satisfied with all aspects of their programs and courses.
The four highest rated all deal directly with the attitude of instructors towards their
students and teaching responsibilities. The lower rated items focus on course and
program organization and requirements.
It is difficult to compare these ratings to those of last year’s survey since the number of
items, wording of items, and formatting have been changed. But the generally positive
perceptions of students is a trend which continues from 1998. Table 6 compares data
from the two surveys relating to items perceived as needing improvement in 1998.
Table 6: COMPARISON OF SELECTED SATISFACTION ITEMS IN 1998 AND 1999 SURVEYS
1998 SURVEY
Answer Scale
1998 Survey
Good or
Question
Very Good
Program advising by
your Faculty Office
Academic counselling
services
Career counselling
services
Library
holdings
Registration procedures
Institutional Research and Planning
47.4%
17.1%
1999 SURVEY
Answer Scale
1999 Survey
Slightly,
Question
Moderately, &
Very Satisfied
Academic advising by
69.8%
the faculty
Acadmic advising by
27.1%
non-faculty
10.5%
38.8%
20.8%
Quality of library
resources
Ease of class
50.4%
48.7%
Page 9
1999 Academic Graduate Survey
Fall, 1999
registration process
The program allowed for
flexibility
54.1%
Agree or
Strongly Agree
Program flexibility
61.7%
While acknowledging that comparisons between the two sets of data is tenuous, it
appears that some headway has been made in academic faculty advising and
registration procedures. Program flexibility and library holdings appear to have lost
ground over the last year.
5. CONTINUITY OF STUDY
Two out of three respondents completed their degree programs within a four to five-year
time frame, but as many as 21% had taken seven or more years. This is similar to last
year and is considered normal for a small university with a large part-time student
population.
Respondents were asked if they had ever interrupted their studies for a term or more, not
including inter-session, for any of a variety of given reasons (see Figure 1). As before, the
most common reason was employment. Discontinuing for all categories have increased
over last year.
Figure 1: REASONS FOR INTERRUPTING STUDIES
16%
14%
1999
1998
12%
10%
8%
6%
4%
2%
0%
Illness
Employment
Institutional Research and Planning
Have or raise
children
Other family
reasons
Travel
Required to
Other (unspecified
withdraw by OUC
reasons)
Page 10
1999 Academic Graduate Survey
Fall, 1999
6. PROGRAM OUTCOMES
Respondents were asked to rate 19 desirable learning outcomes on a 5 point scale as
follows:
Almost None (1); Very Little (2); Some (3); Quite a Bit (4); A Great Deal (5).
The lead question was: “How much did your education at OUC contribute to
improvement in each of the following areas?” Table 7 displays their responses in rank
order of impact, along with last year’s ranking.
Table 7: RATING OF PROGRAM OUTCOMES
Skill Item
Research skills
Critical judgement
Writing skills
Ability to learn on one’s own
Problem solving skills
Creative thinking
Speaking skills
Awareness of ethical issues
Ability to work with others
Ability to work across disciplines
Ability to work effectively in teams
Self-confidence
Leadership skills
Development of skills employers seek
Conflict resolution skills
Career prospects
New career possibilities
Basic computer skills
Advanced computer skills
Mean
SD
1999
Rank
1998
Rank
4.3
4.1
4.0
3.9
3.8
3.8
3.7
3.7
3.6
3.6
3.6
3.6
3.4
3.4
3.3
3.3
3.1
2.8
2.3
0.8
0.9
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.1
1.1
1.2
1.0
1.0
1.0
1.1
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.3
1.3
1.3
1.3
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9=
9=
9=
10
13
14
15=
15=
17
18
19
1
2
5
4
3
6
7
8
9
10
N/A
11
12
14
13
16
17
15
N/A
An examination of Table 7 reveals that the impact of the programs is greatest in terms of
intellectual skills and weakest with respect to pragmatic skills. Research, thinking, and
communication skills were rated as quite a bit to a great deal enhanced by degree
programs. By contrast, career-related outcomes were only somewhat enhanced and
computing skills even less so. These findings are almost identical to last year’s and
affirm liberal education as the hallmark of degree programs. However, four of the seven
degree programs, accounting for about two-thirds of the respondents, have an implied
Institutional Research and Planning
Page 11
1999 Academic Graduate Survey
Fall, 1999
career focus and the question again is raised about the desirability and feasibility of
developing more explicit connections between degree programs and workplace skills.
Despite this criticism, it must be noted that respondents were not asked for a judgement
about how much emphasis should have been placed on the listed outcomes, and they
may be quite supportive of the intellectual focus. This supposition is supported by the
fact that 69% of respondents claimed to have secured a job and 62% believed that these
jobs were closely related to the expertise acquired in their university studies. Most of the
jobs were full-time, but temporary, positions. Employment outcomes are presented in
Figure 2 along with data from the 1998 survey.
Figure 2: EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES
70%
60%
1999
50%
1998
40%
30%
Job secured at graduation
Clearly related to studies
Permanent position
Full-time position
Compared to last year, a higher percentage of respondents had secured jobs and more
of them saw a clear relationship between their studies and the nature of employment.
Fewer of the 1999 placements, however, were permanent.
7. GENERAL SATISFACTION
Three questions were related to general satisfaction with the university-college
experience. Respondents' answers indicated that:
•
In terms of degree program expectations, 32% felt that their experience had met
their expectations; whereas in the case of 49%, expectations had been
exceeded. Only 19% felt that their experience had not been equal to their
expectations.
Institutional Research and Planning
Page 12
1999 Academic Graduate Survey
Fall, 1999
•
In terms of value of education as an investment, 26% felt that their degree
program had been a good investment; whereas 65% felt that it was a very
good to exceptional investment. Only 8% felt that their degree expenditures
were a poor investment.
•
50% would be extremely inclined to recommend their degree program to a
close friend, and 43% would be moderately inclined to so recommend. Only
7% would not be inclined to recommend their program to a friend.
These responses reveal a very high level of general satisfaction with experiences at
OUC. Given that universities traditionally provide a screening of candidates for
professional careers and that not everyone can live up to their aspirations, the fact that
19% of respondents had been somewhat disappointed is understandable; yet this figure
represents a target to be monitored and addressed. Also, the fact that more than 90%
believed that their educational costs represented a good investment confirms the value
of a degree in today’s economy.
8. CONCLUSIONS
1. The questionnaire responses reveal a high level of general satisfaction of graduates
with most aspects of their programs.
2. The quality of teaching and professionalism of faculty, both in and outside of classes,
are generally very high.
3. The questionnaire reveals that a high percentage of graduates felt that their education
had been a very good to exceptional investment.
4. Comparisons with the 1998 survey reveal that:
i.
ii.
iii.
More respondents reported interruption of their studies for employment
reasons.
Respondents were less influenced to choose OUC by the convenience of
location than were last year’s graduates.
More graduates had secured jobs than in the previous year.
5. The survey has produced valuable information on which to base several program and
service improvements.
Institutional Research and Planning
Page 13
1999 Academic Graduate Survey
Fall, 1999
9. RECOMMENDATIONS
Specific recommendations for the improvement of degree programs and services
identified from this years survey are:
1. Improving library holdings.
2. Enhancing access to computers and on-line services.
3. Review the curricula of structured programs to see if there is sufficient flexibility and
explore ways to increase course options where appropriate.
4. Explore ways to make connections in programs with the workplace, such as by
discussing career possibilities in classes and stressing skills that employers are
seeking.
5. Explore the desirability of focusing more specifically on computers and computing.
Institutional Research and Planning
Page 14
Download
Related flashcards
Management

42 Cards

Management

61 Cards

Create flashcards