Input sought in many areas

NSSE survey and others allow students to give valued feedback
January 24, 2013
By Tom Peacock

Concordia students can share their feedback though a variety of surveys.
Concordia students can share their feedback though a variety of surveys.

Every day, more and more survey invitations pour into the inboxes of Concordia students. So they may occasionally suffer from survey fatigue, admits Jonathan Levinson, whose work as Concordia’s new executive director of Institutional Planning and Analysis relies on the data these surveys provide.

Even so, there is one survey in particular that Levinson is hoping undergraduates won’t relegate to their junkmail folders: the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). The annual survey, he says, which collects information from hundreds of universities and colleges across North America, provides an invaluable measure of the quality of Concordia’s educational offering.

“It provides highly valued information that serves as a reference for many institutions, including Concordia,” Levinson says. “We take the results very seriously, and they help us adjust how we focus on teaching and learning.”

The survey polls first-year and final-year undergraduate students. Although the latter group may question the benefit in filling out the survey just prior to graduating, Levinson points out that their degrees will continue to gain in value proportional to Concordia’s reputation. “A Concordia degree is an essential part of a graduate’s own personal brand for the rest of their lives,” he says. “The value of that degree and the way that it’s regarded evolves over time. The NSSE survey is a really key tool for helping us improve the quality and the value of that degree.”

The widely used survey also allows Concordia to measure its performance in key areas against other universities in Canada. “We tend to do well,” Levinson says. “What our students say about their learning experience here at Concordia is one of our strong suits.” Nevertheless, he adds, there’s always room for improvement. “It forms a key input for our Academic Plan. We’re listening closely.”

Students who complete the NSSE Survey by March 1 will be entered in a random draw to win an Apple iPad (16Gb + WiFi), valued at approximately $450. All students who complete the survey by March 31 will be entered in a random draw to win one of 20 Chapters-Indigo gift cards valued at $20 each.

Each first-year and final-year undergraduate student will receive an invitation directly from NSSE on Concordia letterhead containing a unique, secure link to the survey.


Student Services Survey
Concordia’s Student and Enrolment Services Department is also conducting a survey to gather feedback on the many services it provides on campus. “This feedback will help us develop the best possible services to meet students’ needs,” says Bradley Tucker, associate vice-president of Student and Enrolment Services.

Students who answer the survey, sent to their inboxes, will be entered in another draw to win an iPad Mini (16 gig, WiFi, estimated value $329). The survey closes on January 30, 2013, at 5 p.m.

Library Survey
Concordia Libraries will launch the LibQUAL+ 2013 survey during the week of January 28. The survey is designed to determine the level of satisfaction with library services, collections and spaces.

The organizers estimate the LibQUAL+ survey takes about six minutes to complete. Used by university and research libraries across Canada, the U.S. and beyond, the survey assesses library users’ expectations for library services, collections and spaces, the relative importance they attach to each of those expectations, and finally, the extent to which they believe the library is meeting those expectations.

Members of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, including Concordia, have conducted the survey at various times. Concordia’s most recent LibQUAL+ survey took place in 2010. The results can be seen in reports posted on the Libraries’ web pages.

Concordia Graduate and Professional Student Survey
Another survey coming up this term is the Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey
(CGPSS). This survey, sent out every three years to graduate students at universities across Canada, is designed to measure the opinions of graduate students in regard to their programs, their advisors or supervisors, as well as their experiences of various university services available to them (for example, libraries and research laboratories).

The survey is billed as “an important tool for benchmarking and providing input for improving the graduate student experience.” The last time the survey was conducted, in 2010, 38,000 students participated. An invitation to participate will be sent out to Concordia’s graduate students in late February.

Program Appraisal Surveys
Program Appraisal Surveys will be administered to a sample of students in selected departments at Concordia during the winter term. The surveys are designed to take a measure of the students’ satisfaction with their program of study, their courses and their instructors.

Student Health Survey
Concordia’s Health Services will also conduct a survey of the university’s student population this term. Using the National College Health Assessment Web survey (NCHA-Web), the department will collect information to assess the health of Concordia’s students and assess priorities to better support student health.

Student participation is voluntary and confidential. Certain questions may cause some personal discomfort or distress, and students can decide which questions they wish to answer.

Related links:
•    Concordia student services
•    National Survey of Student Engagement
•    Concordia’s Health Services
•    LibQUAL at Concordia, including FAQ and reports of previous surveys
•    The complete story of LibQUAL+, its history, statistical foundations, participation

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