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University System of Georgia Students Highly Satisfied, According to Survey Results

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Faculty Attitude Towards Students, Class Sizes and Libraries Get High Marks

Atlanta — March 10, 1998

Eight out of ten University System of Georgia students are satisfied or very satisfied with their colleges or universities and the faculty who teach them, and the majority of students would attend the same institution if they could start over, according to early survey results released today by the Board of Regents.

Five areas of the survey drew exceptionally high marks for the University System. Of those students responding, 78 percent reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the college or university that they are attending. In addition, 76 percent of the respondents expressed their satisfaction with the attitude of faculty toward students. Out-of-class availability of faculty was another positive factor for students, with 71 percent reporting that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their access to instructors. Library facilities also earned extremely high praise, with 81 percent of students indicating that they were satisfied or very satisfied with such offerings. College orientation programs also earned a 72 percent satisfaction rate.

The extremely positive preliminary findings are the initial installment of a Student Satisfaction Survey conducted by the University System of Georgia at its 34 colleges and universities in October and November 1997. Students were queried regarding their satisfaction with campus environments and college services, with a goal of determining how they assess their learning experiences in University System institutions. The final results will be used to identify benchmarks of satisfaction and to pinpoint areas of low satisfaction requiring strategic action.

“This was a bold step, and we are simply thrilled with the results,” said Chancellor Stephen R. Portch. “The fact that eight out of ten of our students are satisfied with their educational experience is a compliment to the University System’s dedicated faculty and staff, whose contributions and commitment I applaud and greatly appreciate.”

In several other areas that were assessed, students reported strong satisfaction levels with various aspects of their campus environments and institutional services. These included class sizes and classroom facilities; quality of instruction; recreation, intramural and cultural programs; and tutorial services.

Additional sample results included:

  • 85 percent of students reported being either satisfied or very satisfied with the size of classes.
  • 82 percent of students reported similar satisfaction with recreational/intramural programs.
  • 76 percent of students reported similar satisfaction with cultural programs.
  • 76 percent of students reported the same types of satisfaction with tutorial services.
  • 76 percent of students reported being either satisfied or very satisfied with classroom facilities.
  • 74 percent of students reported being either satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of instruction they are receiving in their major area of study.

Any low levels of satisfaction reported by students will be used to shape strategies and initiatives to improve campus environments and services.

Least favorable ratings – those primarily with less than half the students satisfied – included:

  • 42 percent of students reported being dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with parking (with 40 percent reporting satisfaction).
  • 35 percent of students reported being dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the availability of courses at the times that they wanted them (43 percent reporting satisfaction).
  • 15 percent of students reported being displeased with food services (nearly 35 percent were satisfied).
  • 24 percent of students reported dissatisfaction with how student activity fees are used (with 39 percent being satisfied or very satisfied).

“It certainly came as no surprise to us that students were not so pleased with cafeteria food or with the availability of parking,” said Chancellor Portch. “I would really wonder if we didn’t hear back from students on those categories, because those are universal complaints of undergraduates no matter where they go to college. Still, we will look to improve on every item now that we have benchmarks.”

The student satisfaction survey was administered by the Educational and Social Research Division of ACT, Inc. More than a quarter (26 percent) of the University System’s 166,143 undergraduate students were surveyed, totaling 26,004 four-year university students and 17,551 two-year college students; 60 percent of those queried (26,600) responded. Levels of satisfaction were weighed on a scale of one to five, with five being satisfied and one being very dissatisfied. The margin of error for the survey was plus or minus .04 percent.

Next steps in the survey process include conducting a full analysis of the results and the launching of a tracking system to follow students over time. Such studies also will be used to determine if student satisfaction is related to academic performance and retention/graduation.

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