University officials were happy with the results of the 2008 ACT Student Opinion Survey, despite low ratings in areas such as the Michel Student Center and academic advising, Alan Galsky said.
The survey, administered every three years, measures student opinion and student utilization of university services. The survey was taken by 601 students.
“Whenever we see utilization increase and satisfaction increase, that’s a good thing,” Galsky, the vice president for Student Affairs, said. “I would be disappointed if students weren’t satisfied.”
He also said the survey influences university officials’ approaches on campus issues.
“We ask ourselves ‘is there a reason [for the rating], does the reason make sense? If not, what do we do [to improve the rating]?’, ” he said. “[The survey] gives us an objective measure of if what we’re doing works, or doesn’t work.”
Bradley students’ ratings of the availability of courses, student center, athletic facilities, study areas and advisor information were lower than ratings at other private universities.
Galsky said the low rating of the student center was not surprising, and that while a new student center isn’t included in the current 15-year plan, he said he thinks one will be included in the next campaign.
“We understand the student center [ratings], and believe a new student center is necessary,” he said.
As for athletic facilities, Galsky said he expects that rating to increase dramatically with the addition of the Markin Family Student Recreation Center and the new athletic facilities.
He also said he has had meetings with administrators about academic advising and the availability of courses, and it is something the university is looking into.
“It is interesting that the variety of courses offered is highly ranked, but availability is not.” Galsky said.
Bradley students rated residence hall rules, availability of student housing, student media on campus, variety of courses offered and opportunities for involvement in campus activities higher than students at similar private universities.
Galsky said a few years ago students wouldn’t have rated availability of student housing highly, because the St. James Apartment Complex hadn’t been built yet, and that is one example of how university officials respond to opinion surveys such as this one.
In another section of the survey, students rated the top 10 university services they utilize. The survey saw student use of computing services decrease about 19 percentage points, to 56.1 percent, while residence hall services and college-sponsored social activities both saw increases of more than 15 percentage points.
Galsky said the decrease in student use of computing services was not a surprise.
“Back in the ’90s, students used our computers because we had them in the dorms,” he said. “If that computer wasn’t working, they would call our technology help desk. Today, most students have their own computers, and if something doesn’t work, they can fix it themselves.”
Associate Provost for Information Resources and Technology Chuck Ruch said he thinks it’s hard to believe only 56.1 percent of students use computing services.
“The servers, e-mail, computer labs, the network, Blackboard and Sakai are all part of computing services,” he said. “If that question [on the survey] was more directed towards use of the help desk, I would think that number’s accurate.”
Ruch also said if students answered the question with the help desk or computer labs in mind, he’s happy only 56.1 percent of students require those services, because it means IRT has made services accessible and easy to use.
He said more than 90 percent of incoming freshmen have their own computer and that also lowers utilization of university computer labs.
Ruch also said problems in the early 2000s with viruses and bandwidth, which measures the speed of data transfer, resulted in low approval ratings for computing services, but the ratings are going up and that’s what matters most.
Galsky said the increase in the number of students who use residence hall services is because of some renovations to Heitz Hall.
“We added aerobic equipment to Heitz Hall,” he said. “Another reason is the repairs in the basement of Heitz.”