OCCC satisfied with student survey results

October 11, 2013 Latest Print Print
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OCCC recently compiled data from a school-wide student satisfaction survey.

The findings showed that OCCC ranked higher than the national average among comparable institutions on 70 out of 70 questions that were asked, said Stu Harvey, Planning and Research executive director.

Some 925 OCCC students of the 12,367 students enrolled during the spring of 2013 semester responded to the online survey.

Harvey said he considered the 925 responses to be a good sample number.

The survey polled students on a variety of services and opportunities afforded by OCCC, Harvey said.

They were asked to rank various topics on a scale of one to seven (one indicating low satisfaction and seven indicating high satisfaction.)

Among the topics, students were asked to rate campus safety and security, academic advising and learning tools such as Moodle, the platform used for online classes.

“We compare [student satisfaction results] to a national benchmark of community colleges,” Harvey said.

The comparison group that OCCC competes within is made up of about 190 community colleges around the country.

“It’s probably the single-most positive survey I’ve ever been associated with,” Harvey said.

“We’ve always had really high levels of student satisfaction … but when you have 70 out of 70 questions that were higher [than the national benchmark], it’s hard to do much better.”

Among the top-rated items on the survey were the adequacy and accessibility of computer labs with a 6.7 out of 7, a well-maintained campus with a 6.37 out of 7, and a safe campus with a 6.30 out of 7.

Lower rated items were the child care facilities (5.2 out of 7), the helpfulness of academic advisers (5.30 out of 7) and financial aid counselors (5.30 out of 7.)

The lowest rated items on the survey showed a margin that was higher than the national average in schools where students were given a similar survey.

Harvey said the survey will be administered again, probably in the spring of 2015.

He described the survey results as “extremely positive.”

“I think the reason that any organization asks the people who use their services [about their satisfaction] is because we want to know areas where we can improve.” Harvey said.

“For years, our mission was to provide access in terms of affordability,” Harvey said. But he said that OCCC has other responsibilities and duties to carry out, and on the forefront is the goal of making students more successful.

Harvey said student satisfaction is one thing, but student success in the form of graduation rates is another.

“One of the things that we’re not satisfied with is the number of students who graduate. What this (survey) tells us is that students have a really high opinion of the college – they’re satisfied with their experience here.

“Now the big challenge is to use that positive experience and build on that using a variety of interventions to help students be successful.

“Just because a student is satisfied doesn’t mean that they’re successful.”

Harvey said that when students who took the survey were asked if they would re-enroll at OCCC again, between 87 percent and 89 percent said yes. The national number, Harvey said, was 70 percent.

“My takeaway is that we have very satisfied students and we can build on that to make students successful. This satisfaction is great [because] it could definitely be a problem if [students] weren’t.”

Harvey said that student surveys go a long way back.

“It’s been something that we’ve done since before I started here,” said Harvey, who has worked at OCCC for nearly 10 years.

Although it wasn’t the first time that OCCC administered a student survey, it was the first time using a new model, Harvey said.

The Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction inventory was used this time, after the college’s previous student opinion survey vendor, ACT, discontinued their survey.

For more information, contact Harvey at sharvey@occc.edu.

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