Okanagan University College

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Okanagan University College
Academic Graduate Survey
Spring 2001
Office of Institutional Research
June, 2002
2001 Academic Graduate Survey
Spring, 2001
Executive Summary
In June 2001, the Office of Institutional Research conducted a survey of all graduating
degree students in order to gather information related to their OUC experiences. Of the
348 mailed questionnaires, 128 were returned, giving a 36.8% 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 previous years, thereby allowing some
comparisons to be made.
As was the case in previous years, the graduate population is typical of a communitybased post-secondary institution, except that females outnumbered males by more than
two-to-one. About half could be considered non-traditional students in that they are over
24 years old, are married and have family commitments. They chose OUC primarily
because of the quality of instruction and availability of the programs they wanted.
Respondents were satisfied with most aspects of their programs and courses. As in
previous years, the five 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. As with last year, but in a slightly different order, the highest ratings went to the
reasonableness of tuition and fees, the quality of classrooms, friendliness of staff, and
availability of parking.
Cross-tabulations were included again this year to see if perceptions varied along age,
gender, or program lines. Very few differences were found with regard to age and
gender, but several emerged in the case of the three major program classifications—
Arts, Science, and Professional Programs. However, the differences in perceptions
held by students in the three programs can be easily explained.
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, 30% felt that their experience had met
their expectations, whereas in the case of 50%, expectations had been
exceeded. Only 20% felt that their experience had not been equal to their
expectations.
•
In terms of value of education as an investment, 16% felt that their degree
program had been a good investment, whereas 67% felt that it was a very
good to exceptional investment. Only 17% felt that their degree expenditures
were a fair to poor investment.
•
43% would be extremely inclined to recommend their degree program to a
close friend, and 50% 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 and continue the trend noted in previous years.
Office of Institutional Research
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2001 Academic Graduate Survey
Spring, 2001
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.
INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................... 4
2.
THE STUDENT BODY............................................................................................. 4
3.
MOTIVATIONS ........................................................................................................ 6
4.
STUDENT SATISFACTIONS .................................................................................. 7
5.
CONTINUITY OF STUDY ........................................................................................ 9
6.
PROGRAM OUTCOMES......................................................................................... 9
7.
GENERAL SATISFACTION .................................................................................. 11
8.
CROSS-TABULATIONS........................................................................................ 11
9.
CONCLUSIONS..................................................................................................... 12
LIST OF TABLES
TABLE 1: COMPARISON OF THE GRADUATE POPULATION AND RESPONDENT GROUP ................ 4
TABLE 2: DEMOGRAPHIC AND ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF RESPONDENTS ...................... 5
TABLE 3: FACTORS INFLUENCING DECISION TO ATTEND OUC..................................................... 6
TABLE 4: SATISFACTION WITH ADMINISTRATION AND SUPPORT SERVICES ................................. 7
TABLE 5: SATISFACTION WITH PROGRAMS AND COURSES ........................................................... 8
TABLE 6: COMPARISON OF SELECTED SATISFACTION ITEMS IN 1999, 2000 AND 2001 ............... 9
TABLE 7: REASONS FOR INTERRUPTING STUDIES......................................................................... 9
TABLE 8: RATINGS OF PROGRAM OUTCOMES ............................................................................. 10
TABLE 9: EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES ............................................................................................ 10
TABLE 10: DIFFERENCES IN SATISFACTION VARIABLES BY PROGRAM ...................................... 12
TABLE 11: DIFFERENCES IN SKILL DEVELOPMENT VARIABLES BY PROGRAM............................ 12
Appendix A: Research Instrument
Office of Institutional Research
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2001 Academic Graduate Survey
Spring, 2001
1. INTRODUCTION
In June 2001, the Office of Institutional Research conducted a survey of all graduating
degree students in order to gather information related to their university experiences.
Since the questionnaire was similar to those used in 1998 to 2000, an additional
objective was to compare the four sets of data for changes in demographics and
perceptions. Of the 348 mailed questionnaires, 128 usable returns were received. The
36.8% response rate was similar to last year (37.2%), but better than both previous
years (35% in 1999 and 27% in 1998) perhaps indicating a trend towards greater
acceptance of these surveys. The extent to which the respondents are representative of
OUC’s graduating population can be determined by comparing survey demographics
with graduation demographics (Table 1).
(Note: In all tables, reported percentages are based on the number of responses for
each particular question. In many cases, the base is less than the total respondent
group.)
Table 1: Comparison of the Graduate Population and Respondent Group
Variable
Graduate Population (%)
Program of Study
BA
BFA
BED (Elementary)
BBA
BSC
BSN
BSW
Average Age
Female/Male Ratio
Respondent Group (%)
31.6
4.6
14.1
15.8
12.6
10.6
10.6
28.9
2.3
16.4
14.8
11.7
17.2
8.6
28.9 yrs
30.1 years
2.2:1
3.7:1
The average ages of the population and respondent group are about the same; however
males are under-represented in the survey. There is a small over-representation of BEd
and BSN graduates. As with last year, there is an under-representation of BFA
graduates. Generally, however, the respondents are fairly typical of the target
population.
2. THE STUDENT BODY
Examination of graduate population data in Table 1 shows that female graduating
students outnumbered males by more than three-to-one, as was the case in previous
years. This distribution may suggest a continuing bias in admissions and/or in dropout
rate—i.e. more females than males enrolling and/or a higher rate of withdrawal of males,
however, the reason is likely a function of the type of programming offered at OUC, for
example, BEd (Primary), BSc (Nursing). The average age at graduation (29 years)
indicates that OUC attracts a mix of traditional college and mature students.
Office of Institutional Research
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2001 Academic Graduate Survey
Spring, 2001
The majority (79%) of the survey respondents was already living in the Okanagan prior
to undertaking their studies, while about 6% were from the Kootenays. A few were living
in other parts of British Columbia, and three came from Alberta. Four respondents
stated they were from some location other than British Columbia or Alberta. More than
half are single (59%) and the rest are either currently married or previously married.
Except for four landed immigrants, all are Canadian citizens. There were three times as
many female respondents as male, and 76.6% of respondents were under the age of 30
on graduation. Three respondents described themselves as aboriginal Canadians (Table
2).
There were no notable changes in demographics from previous years.
Table 2: Demographic and Economic Characteristics of Respondents
Number of
Respondents
Percentage
Area
Okanagan
Kootenays
Lower Mainland
Alberta
Other
100
8
6
3
4
79%
6%
5%
2%
3%
Gender
Male
Female
27
101
21%
79%
Age
21-24
25-29
30-39
40-54
65
33
14
16
51%
26%
11%
12%
Marital Status
Never married
Married or partnered
Divorced/Separated/Widowed
65
54
13
49%
41%
10%
Citizenship
Canadian
Landed immigrant
123
4
96%
3%
Financial Sources
Off-campus work
On-campus work
Student loan
Prior savings
Spouse/partner
Family/friends
Other
83
13
58
63
31
40
12
70%
14%
55%
60%
32%
40%
17%
Variable
Office of Institutional Research
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2001 Academic Graduate Survey
Spring, 2001
Respondents supported themselves from multiple sources: about 75% through
employment on and off campus (up from about 57% last year), 40% received financial
help from relatives and friends (down from about 60% last year), and just over half had
student loans. Less respondents noted “other sources” than did so last year. (Note that
percentages in Table 2 are based on those answering each specific question.)
Regarding family tradition of higher education, in the case of two out of three
respondents, neither parent had completed a degree. Statistics Canada, Education
Quarterly Review, 1999 states “High School graduates with university educated parents
had higher odds of attending university”. Sixteen percent of respondents reported that
one parent had completed a degree and 12.5% stated that both parents had completed
a university degree. There was no notable change from last year.
As was the case in the two previous years, the information on students reveals a fairly
typical student body for a small university. Most are from the local community and there
are very few foreign or aboriginal students. About half could be considered
nontraditional students in that they are over 24 years old and are, or have been, married
or partnered and have family responsibilities.
3. MOTIVATIONS
Respondents were asked to rate a variety of factors that might influence a decision to
attend OUC (see Table 3). The factors, ranked in terms of importance, are shown along
with respective rankings from the previous two surveys (2000, 1999, and 1998).
Table 3: Factors Influencing Decision to Attend OUC
Influencing
Factors
Quality of instruction
Important or
Very Important
89.1%
Comparative Rank
(2000, 1999, 1998)
(1,2,4)
Availability of program
85.8%
(2,1,2)
Cost of tuition
74.2%
(3,3,3)
Class size
74.2%
(4,4,5)
Location
73.4%
(7,7,1)
Living expenses
60.9%
(6,4,5)
Institutional reputation
49.6%
(5,6,8)
Size of institution
35.9%
(8,8,9)
Campus life activities
7.0%
(not asked in previous years)
N/A
(9,9,NR)
Athletics program
The five most important factors influencing the decision to attend OUC were rated as
important or very important considerations by 73% or more of the respondents.
Office of Institutional Research
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2001 Academic Graduate Survey
Spring, 2001
Quality of instruction, availability of desired program, and reasonable tuition costs were
the top ranked considerations. Those factors also rated highly in previous surveys.
Location climbs a bit this year to fifth in importance, while institutional reputation falls a
bit in importance.
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 that display means and standard deviations for 34 variables 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. Items were the
same as last year's questionnaire and so the means from the 2000 survey are shown in
parenthesis for comparable items.
Table 4: Satisfaction with Administration and Support Services
Service
Counsellors course and program information
Student Affairs Advisors course and program info.
First Nations
Responsiveness of administration to student concerns
Co-op Employment Services
Leadership of dean of your academic area
Availability of courses in your specialty
Availability of required degree courses
Quality of library resources
Disability Services
Admissions course and program information
Training to utilize computing resources
Departmental faculty advisors course & program Info.
Financial Awards
Ease of class registration process
Athletic Recreational Programming
Quality of computing resources
Remote access to computer network
Food service availability
Parking availability
Friendliness/courtesy of program staff
Quality of course classrooms
Tuition/fee level of the program
Mean
3.46 (3.6)
3.79 (4.1)
3.95 (4.3)
4.12 (4.3)
4.14 (4.3)
4.28 (4.4)
4.37 (4.6)
4.37 (4.8)
4.39 (3.7)
4.45 (4.7)
4.54 (4.8)
4.58 (4.7)
4.62 (5.2)
4.63 (4.7)
4.64 (4.8)
4.70 (4.4)
4.85 (5.1)
4.96 (5.1)
5.08 (5.1)
5.09 (5.5)
5.44 (5.7)
5.46 (5.5)
5.69 (5.6)
SD
1.70
1.26
1.33
1.87
1.58
1.65
2.03
2.03
1.90
1.15
1.58
1.55
1.77
1.53
1.79
1.28
1.62
1.63
1.44
1.58
1.59
1.41
1.28
Rank
23
22
21
20
19
18
16 =
16 =
15
14
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
Most of the means for satisfaction with Administration and Support Services variables
are above the scale mean of 4.0, indicating a high degree of satisfaction overall. The
Office of Institutional Research
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2001 Academic Graduate Survey
Spring, 2001
three lowest scoring items under 4.0 are Counsellors’ course and program information,
student affairs advisors course and program information, and First Nations.
The highest mean scores were accorded to Tuition/fee level of the program, Quality of
course classrooms, Friendliness/courtesy of program staff, Parking availability, and Food
service availability, all of which had means of 5.0 or more.
There were a few improvements from last year’s ratings, three representing
improvements:
¾
¾
Quality of library resources
Athletic recreational programming.
There were three significant drops from last year's ratings including:
¾
¾
¾
Departmental faculty advisors course and program info.
Availability of required degree courses
Parking availability.
The library score is interesting since it has moved from the slightly dissatisfied range last
year to neutral. The two items, availability of course in your specialty and availability of
required degree courses show the largest standard deviations, indicating that these
ratings vary quite a bit among respondents. (Differences in ratings between respondent
groups are presented later in this report.)
Table 5: Satisfaction with Programs and Courses
Program Feature
Program flexibility
Standard of evaluation for coursework
Communication of program expectations
Practical focus of program
Program expectations
Quality of courses
Instructors treat students with respect
Theoretical focus of program
Instructors’ pride in teaching
Expertise of faculty in my area
Accessibility of instructors outside class
* Last year’s means are in parentheses
Mean
4.85
5.29
5.34
5.46
5.05
5.57
5.70
5.87
5.85
5.85
6.15
(4.7)*
(5.7)
(5.4)
(5.8)
(5.6)
(5.9)
(6.0)
(5.8)
(6.3)
(6.0)
(6.3)
SD
Rank
1.71
1.50
1.45
1.52
1.23
1.41
1.66
1.20
1.39
1.51
1.16
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
Generally, respondents were satisfied with all aspects of their programs and courses.
As was the case last year, the four highest rated 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, but they are still rated
favorably.
Table 6 compares data from the last three surveys relating to items perceived as
needing improvement in 1998.
Office of Institutional Research
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2001 Academic Graduate Survey
Spring, 2001
Table 6: Comparison of Selected Satisfaction Items in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001
Surveys
Satisfaction Item
Library holdings
Registration process
Academic Counselling
Program flexibility
Percentage
rating
moderately or
very satisfied in
2001
40.2
39.1
34.9
41.4
Percentage
rating
moderately or
very satisfied in
2000
26.9
45.4
50.8
41.4
Percentage
rating good or
very good in
1999
Percentage
rating good or
very good in
1998
33.6
30.3
55.5
40.8
38.8
20.8
*
54.1
* Not asked in 1998
It appears that the decline in library holdings has been reversed. Academic counselling
has dropped from last year and Program flexibility is unchanged. All four areas appear
to require further attention.
5. CONTINUITY OF STUDY
About 63% respondents completed their degree programs within a four to six-year time
frame, but as many as 37% had taken seven or more years. These rates are almost
similar to previous years and are considered normal for a small university.
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 Table 7). Reasons
for withdrawal are much the same over the three-year period, the most common being
employment (12.5% of respondents).
Table 7: Reasons for Interrupting Studies
Percentage Reporting
Reason
Illness
Employment
Have or raise children
Other family reasons
Travel
Required to withdraw by OUC
Other (unspecified reasons)
2001
2000
1999
1998
3.1
12.5
4.7
2.3
3.1
0.8
9.4
2.1
14.0
8.0
6.3
6.2
3.1
12.4
4.8
15.5
3.7
4.9
6.2
2.5
14.8
2.2
6.7
3.4
3.3
2.2
1.1
7.9
6. PROGRAM OUTCOMES
Respondents were asked to rate 19 learning outcomes on a 5-point scale as follows:
Almost None (1), Very Little (2), Some (3), Quite a Bit (4), and 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 8 displays their responses in rank order of impact,
along with previous rankings.
Office of Institutional Research
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2001 Academic Graduate Survey
Spring, 2001
An examination of Table 8 reveals that, as in the previous three years, the impact of the
programs collectively is greatest in terms of intellectual skills and weakest with respect
to pragmatic skills. Research, writing, critical judgement, and independent learning were
rated as quite a bit to a great deal enhanced by degree programs. By contrast, careerrelated skills and basic computer skills were only somewhat enhanced. Advanced
computer skills received the lowest rating. These findings are similar to those from the
1999 and 2000 surveys and are consistent with the primary goals of liberal education.
However, four of the seven degree programs, accounting for 45% of the respondents,
have an implied career focus and there is a distinct possibility that perceptions of skill
development outcomes might vary by program. Differences by program are presented
later in this report.
Table 8: Ratings of Program Outcomes
Skill Item
Mean
Career prospects
New career possibilities
Advanced computer skills
Basic computer skills
Conflict resolution skills
Development of skills employers seek
Leadership skills
Ability to work effectively in teams
Awareness of ethical issues
Problem solving skills
Ability to work well with others
Creative thinking
Self-confidence
Ability to work across disciplines
Ability to learn on one's own
Speaking skills
Critical judgement
Writing skills
Research skills
NA
NA
2.65
3.15
3.25
3.49
3.52
3.60
3.61
3.62
3.65
3.67
3.70
3.77
3.80
3.80
3.98
4.00
4.24
2001
Rank
NA
NA
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
4=
4=
3
3
1
2000
Rank
15=
18
19
17
15=
14
12=
5=
5=
5=
5=
5=
12=
5=
4
5=
2=
2=
1
1999
Rank
15=
17
19
18
15=
13=
13=
9=
7
5=
9=
5=
9=
9=
4
7=
2
3
1
1998
Rank
16
17
NA
15
13
14
12
NA
8
3
9
6
11
10
4
7
2
5
1
Employment outcomes are presented in Table 9 along with data from the 1998, 1999
and 2000 surveys. Actual job outcomes are similar to the last two years: 67% of
respondents claimed to have secured a job and 62% of these believed that their jobs
were totally related to the expertise acquired in their university studies. However, less
than half of the jobs were permanent full-time positions, which is a significant drop from
last year's respondents.
Table 9: Employment Outcomes
Outcome
Job secured at graduation
Clearly related to studies
Permanent position
Full-time position
Office of Institutional Research
2001 Survey
67%
62%
31%
38%
2000 Survey
65%
67%
56%
53%
1999 Survey
69%
62%
41%
59%
1998 Survey
59%
56%
53%
55%
Page 10
2001 Academic Graduate Survey
Spring, 2001
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, 30% felt that their experience had met
their expectations, and 50% felt their expectations had been exceeded. Only
20% felt that their experience had not been equal to their expectations.
•
In terms of value of education as an investment, 16% felt that their degree
program had been a good investment, whereas 67% felt that it was a very
good to exceptional investment. Only 17% felt that their degree expenditures
were a poor investment.
•
43% would be extremely inclined to recommend their degree program to a
close friend, and 50% 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 and continue the trend noted in previous years.
8. CROSS-TABULATIONS
While keeping in mind that the survey was drawn on a population of respondents and
the data may not be suited to inferential analysis, cross-tabulations were run to explore
potential relationships between variables. Specifically, data from Section E (Satisfaction
with Administration and Support Services), Section F (Program and Course
Satisfaction), and Section G (Skill Development) were cross-tabulated with age, gender,
and program. Very few statistically significant chi sq. differences were found (p< or =
.05) by age or by gender. However there were quite a number by program.
Differences by Age
By Program Professional programs attract a slightly older group of students than do Arts
and Science programs. 72.6% of the age 25 or older were in professional programs,
compared to only 47.7% of the 21 to 24 year-old group.
Disability Services Older students were more likely to report more often their satisfaction
with disability services compared to younger students.
By Satisfaction with Leadership of Dean There was greater satisfaction by older students
(44.4%) compared with younger students (26.3%).
Differences by Gender
By Satisfaction with Leadership of Dean This differed from last year, in that there was
slightly greater dissatisfaction among females (24% dissatisfied) than among males
(18% dissatisfied). Overall, most males and females were satisfied with the leadership
of the dean in their academic area.
Differences by Program
For purposes of comparison, the degree programs were distinguished as follows: Arts,
Science, and Professional Programs. Differences in satisfaction by program are
Office of Institutional Research
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2001 Academic Graduate Survey
Spring, 2001
presented in Table 10. Although each cross-tabulation offers some options for cell
comparisons, in every case the differences in percentages that have been selected for
display in Table 10 are for group dissatisfactions. Percentage satisfactions could as
readily have been chosen, but dissatisfactions are considered to be better indicators of
needed improvement.
Table 10: Differences in Satisfaction Variables by Program
Arts
Percentage
Dissatisfied
Dependent
Variable
Science
Percentage
Dissatisfied
Professional
Percentage
Dissatisfied
Number
Percentage
Number
Percentage
Number
Percentage
23
63.9
7
46.7
75
28.0
5
13.9
0
0.0
9
12.0
Availability of
required courses
Communication of
prog. expectations
In a similar fashion, Table 11 presents the percentages selecting almost none/very little
for each skill outcome.
Table 11: Differences in Skill Development Variables by Program
Dependent Variable
Skills employers seek
Advanced computer
Ethical issues
Arts
Percentage almost
none/very little
5
14.7
19
54.3
5
14.7
Science
Percentage almost
none/very little
7
50.0
2
13.3
7
50.0
Professional
Percentage almost
none/very little
8
10.8
30
40.5
8
10.8
None of these cross-tabulations is surprising since most could have been anticipated
from the inherent nature of the programs. Required and specialty courses are most
likely to be specified and provided for in professional programs, some of which are
organized around cohort groups. Arts and Science students are likely to make the
heaviest demands on library resources while spending less time in computer
applications. Career considerations are likely to be more evident in professional
programs than in Arts. Nevertheless, program administrators might be interested in
considering ways in which aspects of their programs, which compare poorly with other
programs, might be strengthened.
The main inference from the cross-tabulations is that differences in perceptions between
respondents grouped by age, gender, and program are relatively few, and the data
presented for the entire group of respondents have general applicability.
9. CONCLUSIONS
1. Female graduates outnumber males by 2.2 to 1.
2. The demographics of the graduating population are typical of a small communitybased university.
3. There is a very small representation of aboriginal people in the graduates.
Office of Institutional Research
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2001 Academic Graduate Survey
Spring, 2001
4. Graduation demographics have been stable over the past three years.
5. Fewer students are supporting themselves through employment than in previous
years.
6. Students were strongly influenced by quality of instruction and availability of
programs of interest and not much concerned about institutional reputation when
considering OUC.
7. Graduates were very satisfied with most aspects of their programs.
8. The quality of teaching and professionalism of faculty, both in and outside of classes,
are generally very high.
9. Friendliness and courtesy of staff appears to be a hallmark of OUC.
10. Intellectual skills are developed more than pragmatic skills. Yet about two out of
three graduates had secured employment.
11. Eighty percent felt that their programs had met or exceeded their expectations.
12. Eighty-three percent felt that their education had been a good or exceptional
investment.
13. Ninety-three percent would be inclined to recommend their program to a close friend.
14. There were few differences in perception between respondents grouped by age or
gender.
15. There were several differences in perception between respondents grouped by
program, but all could be explained by the inherent characteristics of the programs.
16. Generally, the findings of the survey can be seen as applying across all segments of
the graduate population.
Office of Institutional Research
Page 13
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