Each year the college carefully selects surveys with really important questions and asks students to answer them. This year, the first years can participate in the Your First College Year Survey, and the seniors can answer the College Senior Survey. It has been three years since the college last commissioned these survey (when the current seniors were first years), so we have the chance to learn some great things about how students have learned and changed over this time.
Current first years and seniors who are eligible to participate have received email invitations.
“I look forward to receiving the data from student surveys every year,” says Health and Wellness Director Tara Girard. “It is such a great opportunity to hear from the student voice about the impact, or not, of the work we're doing. We use the data to further pinpoint student wellness needs and to evaluate into which programming we should put more effort and resources.”
The results from the last time were used in major ways to improve campus. Some examples:
- The Dean of Students, Christina Klawitter, organizes professional development sessions for her staff each semester. In Fall 2015, they met around the topic of student safety and community, and the development focused around the brand-new data from the 2015 Your First College Year and College Senior Surveys. Staff learned about students’ views on the respect for the expression of diverse beliefs, feeling part of the campus community, and feeling discriminated against because of their race/ethnicity.
- Each fall, faculty gather to engage a topic of interest and important to the college and to students. In Fall 2015, the topic was Equity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism: Cornerstones of Liberal Education, and a major part of the agenda was looking at findings from the 2015 Your First College Year and College Senior Survey. Faculty learned from student findings related to students’ negative and positive experiences with diversity and how frequently students socialized, dined, shared personal feelings/problems, had intellectual discussions with, studied with, had meaningful/honest discussions about race relations with someone of another racial/ethnic group, among other things.
- Office of International Education used the results from these same student surveys to understand international students’ sense of belonging on campus and work to improve it.
- The Health and Wellness Center designs their programming around students’ needs, and they use this data to learn about students eating, drinking, sleeping, and exercise habits, as well as their satisfaction with the services the college provides.