Education survey reviewed by Board of Trustees

Members of the Board of Trustees (left to right) Leonor Fuller, Richard Wadley, Barbara Clarkson, Brian Vance and Judith Blinn. Photo by Sheri Suter

The results of the latest institutional research survey gauging how well the college is educating its students was presented at the October Board of Trustees meeting.

Director of Institutional Research Jennifer Tuia delivered a report to the board and handed out a companion handout showing the survey’s results.

With the exception of a few indicators, the college administrators feel satisfied with the job they are doing.

The results were divided into 27 categories and color-coded based on if they met their goals or not.

Of the categories, 12 were met. Some of these goals included student performance on college-wide abilities and student satisfaction with related work experience.

There were 10 goals partially met or increased. Some of these goals included the percent of student retention, and distribution of online/hybrid offerings.

Four goals were not met or declined. Percent of applicants to enrollment was one of the goals that failed to meet a satisfactory result. More students applied to SPSCC than those who enrolled.

“SPSCC graduate level of preparation for upper division coursework” had 72 percent of respondents who felt “well to very well prepared,” missing the goal of 80 percent satisfaction.

One category is a new indicator, and the survey questions for it aren’t done yet. The category questions faculty’s comfort with cooperative internship, and experiential and clinical learning.

Tuia reaffirmed the general importance of the survey to college administrators, but noted that it’s just one tool in the toolbox.

“Of course we like to have this feedback, but there are other methods to do that, such as their GPA, their cumulative GPA, or their junior status at the transfer institution. That would be a more scientific way to determine how well prepared they were,” said Tuia.

Surveys of college grads are less scientifically rigorous due to their low response rates. A University of Washington survey of recent grads from 2008-2009 had a 33 percent response rate. They sent out 10,000 surveys, and only 3,295 returned. For this SPSCC survey, a total of 222 surveys returned out of 1,000 sent out.

“It’s definitely not scientific. It’s whoever felt like responding to it, so you can get some non-response bias there,” said Tuia.

When asked, four students on campus weren’t aware of the concept of institutional research, but quickly picked up on it. They all said they would fill out a survey after graduating, but given the current response rate of 22 percent, only one may actually go through with it.

On the subject of merit-based pay, the four students generally agreed that it would not be a good idea for teachers and college administrators to have salaries based on performance. Student Alyssa Rim said, “Some students struggle more than others, but I guess they could come in and get extra help, so maybe.”

Three cited the gap between good students and bad students. A few bad students could throw off the averages for everyone. All agreed that there’s a give and take between students and teachers.

All four students consider themselves good students. Student James Lehr said he’s “decent.” Kinnaird admitted to the occasional act of procrastination and said, “If I find a class to be kind of boring, I kind of slack off, and I procrastinate, but I always try my hardest to get it done.”

Two of the students said they would be interested in attending a Board of Trustees meeting. “That is actually something I’d like to know more about,” said Tim Wojciehowski.

The Board’s next meeting is at 3 p.m. Nov. 2 on the second floor in Building 25, the Board Room. The meetings are open to students.

More information on the college’s Institutional Research is available at SPSCC’s webpage under the “Administration” tab.

Present at the Oct. 5 meeting were Chair of the college’s Board of Trustees members, Judith Blinn, Vice Chair Brian Vance, Leonor Fuller, SPSCC President Gerald Pumphrey, Barbara Clarkson, Richard N. Wadley, and the Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Eileen Morey. There was a small audience present.

The Board also introduced four new faculty members to the audience: Laura Moe-Genther in dental assistant technology, Jillian Heist of nursing, Elizabeth Cumberland of nursing, and Sarah Patterson an adjunct faculty of welding.