In the next few days, my office will launch a new research initiative with the help of a few other members of the USAO staff. The project is called the Student Satisfaction Survey (I am calling it the S3 because math is fun). We designed the S3 to obtain reliable feedback from USAO students about the things that are important to them. Well, at least it includes many of the topics we think are important to students- we will not really know if we missed any major themes until after we collect some data, but I am confident we are most of the way there. The S3 includes topics like student satisfaction with residence halls, dining services and other obvious point of contact. S3 also includes a few items that might notbe as obvious for this type of survey, but might be important to measure anyway. This second group (not obvious) includes topics such as classroom environment, academic advisement and course scheduling.
Why Take the S3?
It is easy to say that this information will be used to enhance the student experience at USAO. After all, we say the same thing about just about every other survey we deploy. In this case, the phrase’s status as cliché doesn’t make the statement less true. The S3 attempts to measure student satisfaction with a wide range of service-related phenomenon. This feedback will be useful in crafting new policy or revisiting existing approaches. Most of us at USAO believe we treat our students with dignity and respect and each of us also likely believes they do a fantastic job. And while that may be true, how would we know if it weren’t? How would we know if there is a subtle problem that is more annoying than rage-inducing? How do we know if something is a systematic issue or simply a random glitch in an otherwise good system? We cannot know any of these things with confidence unless we have an objective way to gather data and the S3 is the first step towards just that.
Who Takes the S3?
While every USAO undergraduate student is eligible to take this survey, only some will be selected. I have decided on a stratified random sample, not to exclude anyone but to reduce the overall survey burden on our students. I recognize that we ask our students to participate in many surveys and each of them is important. So in an effort to reduce survey fatigue, I am beginning with a sample equal to 50% of each undergraduate classification. In other words half of all freshman students will get an email invitation to participate, half of all sophomores, juniors and seniors will as well. The selected students are selected by a random number generator to eliminate any potential for bias.
If you are a USAO student and get the email invitation, I ask that you please participate. I truly believe that your responses will help all of us that serve you to do so better. The survey doesn’t take too long (about 15 minutes in pre-testing) and I am taking steps to protect your identity so that nobody can link your responses back to you- your responses are completely confidential. As added incentive, my office is shelling out for a few prizes. Every student that completes the survey will be eligible to win one of three (3) Roku Streaming Sticks. Winners will be announced on this blog so you know I won’t keep them for myself (I can’t say I’m not tempted).