FSU to Survey Students As Part of Middle States Evaluation

In October, the “Middle States Update” was released to students through email detailing its purpose and the overall strategic goals, modeled and outlined by the “The Middle States Commission on Higher Education.”  The university strives to achieve these goals within the coming semesters and greatly improve the campus for future generations of students.  In order to try and make the progress of improving the university as a whole successful, the program would need to heavily rely on student support.

Dr. Sydney Duncan, an administrator and promoter of the Middle States Update, has offered a strategy that could ultimately help the university improve and achieve all the strategic goals stated in the update at the beginning of this month.  It’s called the “Middle States Student Survey.”

“The purpose of the Middle States Student Survey is to get the student voice in preparing the self-study for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education,” Dr. Duncan said. “It’s not enough that we just look at student assessment data, or financial reports.  We need to know how the students feel about things.”

In the survey, questions will be asked about residence life, academics, sports, and whether student voices are heard.  “We want to get the student picture,” Dr. Duncan says. “It’s really important that everybody be heard when you do a Middle States self-study, so we want to get as many students as possible to take the survey.”

In order for students to be aware of the survey on a large scale across campus, in the first week of November there will be an email sent out to every student, similar to the one in October detailing the strategic goals of the self-study. It will have a link to take the survey.

Dr. Duncan says there will also be reminder emails sent out so that students are aware of how important the survey is and encourage them to take it.  “It will be open from the first week of November up until Thanksgiving Break, then that survey will be done,” she says “But in the spring we will also be sending out a call for students to be a part of focus groups.”

The focus groups, according to Dr. Duncan will involve students volunteering to participate in group discussions with open-ended questions.  “We may ask things like ‘We have this motto here at Frostburg that says, ‘One University: A World of Experiences.’  Has that been true for you, if so how?’ and then, the students can talk.”  Dr. Duncan says the focus group meetings won’t be that long, maybe 45 minutes.  “Just another way to get the students involved,” Dr. Duncan says.

Ten years ago, Dr. Duncan remarks that the university did a similar study with the students that attended the university then.  She says that some of the questions are the same, and the university as a whole wants to see if there has been any “movement” or if the university has greatly improved since then.  “We want to see if we have in fact improved our listening to the students since then,” she says.  “We want to have some level of comparison from the last student survey.” Dr. Duncan said, “It’s important that the student voice is heard.”

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