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Survey shows Ozark students more satisfied than national average

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Students at Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus are significantly more satisfied with their program of study compared to national community college peers, according to a recent survey.

Also, Arkansas Tech-Ozark students are more likely to recommend their program to prospective students.

The Noel-Levitz Adult Learner Inventory (ALI), a nationally recognized survey that measures institutional effectiveness, was administered to Arkansas Tech-Ozark students March 5-10. Likewise, it was given to 18 community colleges across the country, including six in Arkansas.

When asked to rate their overall satisfaction, 84 percent of Arkansas Tech-Ozark students said either “satisfied” (44 percent) or “very satisfied” (40 percent). The national average was 72 percent – 41 percent answering “satisfied” and 31 percent claiming “very satisfied.”

Similarly, 88 percent of Arkansas Tech-Ozark students said they would recommend their program to “other adult learners.” Sixty-two percent said “definitely yes” and 26 percent said “probably yes.”

The national average for this question was 80 percent with 50 percent answering definitely while 30 percent said probably.

Mike Bogue, coordinator of the Arkansas Tech-Ozark Student Success Center said the findings are statistically significant.

“The ALI results are very encouraging,” said Bogue, who administered the survey. “They indicate that, from the students’ perspective, the Ozark Campus is a student-centered institution that’s doing a lot of things right.”

Arkansas Tech-Ozark also scored a significantly higher level of satisfaction in eight other areas affecting students: outreach, life and career planning, financing, assessment of learning outcomes, teaching-learning process, student support systems, technology and transitions.

Since joining the Arkansas Tech University family in 2003, the Ozark Campus’ enrollment has increased nearly 500 percent. It has expanded program offerings with the addition of the Arkansas Tech Career Center in Russellville and Health Information Technology and Viticulture programs, as well as the newly Arkansas Department of Higher Education-approved Registered Nurse program.

Chancellor Jo Alice Blondin said, “A large part of our growth has been due to the ever-increasing industry demands throughout the River Valley area. Students are pleased with the services we provide, and that fact is reflected in the survey.”

However, Bogue said the survey showed a few “challenges” facing the college. Students gave lower satisfaction marks about receiving help to stay on track with classes and adequate information for sources of financial assistance.

A total of 409 participants – 25 percent of the student body – volunteered to take the survey. Noel-Levits predicts a school’s top participation rate as probably being 20 percent, Bogue said.

Statements that received the greatest level of “high importance” and “high satisfaction” include the following:

  • This college assists students who need help with the financial aid process;
  • Administrators and staff are easy to talk to and responsive to my concerns;
  • I feel safe and secure on the Ozark Campus, because security measures are good;
  • The learning experiences within my program of study challenge me to reach beyond what I already know.

“The survey results will be used in the future strategic planning process as we seek to align planning goals with resources,” Blondin said.

“The survey, in fact, shows that students feel safe on campus and receive support services. These two impact areas came directly from our 2008-12 strategic plan.”