Distributed April 25, 2001
For Immediate Release
News Service Contact: Mark Nickel
Office of Campus Life begins study of Campus Climate Assessment
The Office of Campus Life and Student Services at Brown University has received results of a campuswide assessment it commissioned early this year. That study, prepared by Mcguire Associates Inc. of Boston, gathered information and opinions from 45 percent of undergraduates, 31 percent of graduate students and 39 percent of medical students via the Web during February.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Undergraduate students at Brown University report a very high level of overall satisfaction with their campus experience, according to an independent survey conducted in February by Mcguire Associates Inc. of Boston. More than 90 percent of current undergraduates say they would choose Brown again.
“Although that broad-brush positive result was very satisfying,” said Janina Montero, vice president for campus life and student services, “we are looking to the assessment to identify areas of campus life where significant work needs to be done. We are just beginning to analyze those results.”
The Campus Climate Assessment, commissioned by the Office of Campus Life and Student Services, used a Web-based questionnaire to gather information from 3,163 Brown students, including a 45-percent response rate from the undergraduate student body, 31 percent from graduate students, and 39 percent from medical students. Online data gathering was conducted Feb. 1-25, 2001, using a Web server controlled by Mcguire Associates to ensure confidentiality. All respondents were verified as Brown students, and only fully completed questionnaires were counted.
In addition to providing information about themselves (race, age, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, financial aid status, etc.), students were asked to respond to 83 statements, using a seven-point scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.” Most responses indicated satisfaction at a level between 5 and 7.
“Student participation in the study was extraordinarily good, so the assessment is rich with information and will support a great many studies,” Montero said. “Our goal was to identify strengths and weaknesses of the University’s programs and services and to better understand the factors that are important in students’ overall satisfaction with campus life. I believe we have important information with the new data.”
Montero received a preliminary report last week. Further studies on satisfaction levels for selected subpopulations are being prepared, including analyses for students of color and students who receive financial aid. Additional reports for graduate and medical students are also underway, Montero said. On the whole, graduate and medical students reported lower levels of satisfaction than undergraduates.
Several factors appeared to have no statistically significant influence on overall student satisfaction, Montero said. These include gender, semester level, age, sexual orientation, concentration, disability status, religious affiliation and citizenship.
Preliminary information about the undergraduate experience
While the Campus Climate Assessment is a very rich source of information, it is not the only source available to Brown. Montero and her colleagues will also analyze this information in relation to the University’s annual senior survey as well as data reported regularly to national organizations.
A Web-based assessment was an appropriate choice for Brown. “The most recent analyses of Web-based surveys suggest that the level of disclosure is highest, compared with other techniques,” Montero said. “Students are very well versed in Web and e-mail, and being able to complete the questionnaire on their computers and on their own schedule helped increase the ease and level of participation.”
“Certainly, this will be immediately useful and will set an agenda for addressing the most significant elements that lead to greater student satisfaction with their educational experience,” Montero said. “It is the richness of our environment and the degree to which students are intellectually and personally engaged that leads to a satisfying experience.”
A more detailed Campus Climate Assessment will be ready for presentation to the Student Life Committee of the Corporation at its May meeting, Montero said. The Office of Campus Life intends to present results of the study to the campus community soon after classes resume in September.