Student surveys lead to big improvements

As if students didn’t have enough to do already, right? Every semester you’ll see e-mail invitations, posters around campus, and requests from your instructors: “Please fill out this survey for us. It’ll just take 15 minutes. I promise….”

So what’s the big idea behind all these surveys? Are they really worth your time?

First, let me bring you tidings of great joy. YES, your faculty and deans and directors and administrators really read all the student inputs from all these surveys. No kidding. And we really make decisions and improvements based on your inputs. Here are two quick examples.

For all you “senior” citizen-students, remember how long the end-of-course surveys used to be? You remember, the ones with 20-or-so fill-in-the-bubble (and we used to do them on paper) plus all sorts of short-essay questions. Those surveys were pretty tiresome for those of you with six or seven different instructors. Well, you can thank your faculty for listening to your feedback, and taking time to redesign the survey to the much shorter version we use now.

In another great example, we often survey graduating students to get their impressions of their UIW experiences. Thanks to that Graduation Exit Survey, many of UIW’s business processes are now available online. Most of you would agree that represents a great improvement with benefits for every UIW student.

With all these surveys that we’d like to administer, we realize it’s easy for students to get “survey fatigue.” If we pass out too many surveys, we risk irritating the very people whose opinions and ideas we value, and we realize you have a lot of other demands on your time. So, I want to encourage you we take some careful steps to minimize that fatigue and to maximize the impact of your inputs on all these surveys. Who is this “we”? The UIW Assessment Committee – about a dozen representatives from offices all over campus – looks pretty far ahead (up to three years in advance), and spreads out the schedules of our big surveys so we don’t ask for too many in a single term.

So there’s the big picture. We sincerely value your input. YOUR opinions make a difference in how we improve UIW. We try our best to not intrude on your busy studies. Knowing all that, I want to give you a sneak peek at the major campus-wide surveys you’re likely to see between now and June. You’ll notice not everyone gets invited to play in every survey. That depends on the goal of the survey itself.

  • Campus Interest in a Shared Bicycle Program – (Now through February) This survey of the entire UIW community will gauge our interest in taking part in San Antonio’s growing network of shared bicycles. We’ll use the results to guide our recommendation on whether to build a shared-bike site somewhere among our UIW campuses.
  • QEP INPUTS – (February through March) My personal favorite this year! This survey is also open to all students and employees. We’re looking for ANY good ideas for ways to help improve student learning. Think outside the box and submit your thoughts! Please see the great QEP article (Page 1) in this Logos, and visit for all the details.
  • National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) — (February through May) NSSE is one of our regular surveys (about every other year) where we ask a sample of students their impressions about how they’re engaged in their learning and in campus life.
  • ECAR – (March and April) This is a new survey coming this spring, to a random sample of students, to get an idea of student impressions of UIW’s technology capabilities.
  • Graduation Exit Survey – (April and May) This important survey will be available to all graduating students at all levels, bachelor’s to Ph.D., and professional degrees. This is a great place to leave a legacy of continually improving UIW as a whole.
  • End of Course – (April and May) Like usual, students will have the chance to give feedback on most of their courses toward the end of the term. Faculty and deans use those inputs to make improvements on courses and programs. Please continue to take time to reply for all courses you’re invited to critique.

Finally, thank you for taking precious time to respond to these surveys.

THANK YOU – you make a difference at UIW.


Dr. Glenn James

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