Report: Student satisfaction dips over two years

by Liz Kohman

Derrick Porter has lived in Bailey Hall and attended the University for the past two years. Overall, he said, the University is a good place to be, but there are some things – such as food service and financial aid disbursement – he would improve.

“I like the University to a point,” Porter said.

Porter’s level of satisfaction with University life mirrors the results of a student satisfaction report presented to the Board of Regents on Thursday.

“The survey results measure progress toward meeting goals,” said Peter Zetterberg, Institutional Research & Reporting senior analyst.

The results showed overall satisfaction at the University lies somewhere between four and five – “good” and “very good” – on a six-point scale, where a six equals “excellent.”

The results of the survey administered in spring 2001 showed students were less satisfied than they were in the spring of 1999.

“(The academic year) 1999 through 2000 was not a fun time to be a student at the University of Minnesota,” Zetterberg said. “The only surprising thing is it wasn’t lower.”

Zetterberg attributed the lower levels of student satisfaction to the change from quarters to semesters, increased campus construction, and financial aid delays due to PeopleSoft.

Approximately 56 percent of Twin Cities students prefered quarters to semesters.

“I prefer the quarter system,” said Josh Enwright, a biochemistry major. “It was better. You could get more done in a year.”

Twin Cities students’ opinions concerning the overall physical environment of campus, classroom quality and the availability of study places decreased from 1999 to 2001.

“We know there’s facilities chaos in the Twin Cities,” said Regent Robert Bergland.

Mike Peterson, a junior majoring in psychology, said he liked going to Coffman Union.

“I’m pretty disappointed that Coffman’s dead,” Peterson said. “I enjoyed being there.”

The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid has made progress with many of the financial aid disbursement problems said Carol Carrier, vice president for human resources.

“While students may have had a rough year, most things will be behind us,” Carrier said.

The survey also showed many students access information online and communicate with their professors via e-mail.

Almost half of the survey’s sample – 401 students – responded to the electronically conducted survey.

“It says something about our institutional leadership that we do these things,” said Regent David Metzen. “We’re interested, and we take it seriously.”