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Graduating Student Survey Results (2008-2009)

Executive Summary

Since the end of the Fall 2008 semester, all applicants to the University Registrar for undergraduate or graduate degrees or certificates receive an invitation to take an extensive (130-question) survey about their experiences at Fitchburg State. Entitled the Graduating Student Survey, or GSS, the survey is based on an instrument used by the Registrar at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. It includes questions about major and non-major coursework, faculty interactions, the library media center, self-assessed progress in general education (undergraduate only), student services, and future plans. Participation in the GSS is presently voluntary.

422 surveys were collected during the 2008-2009 academic year. There were 262 usable records for students who reported that they would receive degrees during 2008-2009 (133 undergraduate and 129 graduate) and a return rate of about 20%, based on numbers of actual graduates. Most respondents reported positive (>3.00, the midpoint in most scales) satisfaction and success resulting from various aspects of their Fitchburg State careers. Though different sections of the survey reflected different overall satisfaction with such aspects of students’ experience as major coursework or student services, the mean score on a specific item about overall satisfaction was 3.85 for undergraduates and 4.06 for graduate students, on a five-point scale. The mean stated likelihood that new alums will recommend Fitchburg State to others was 3.87 for undergraduates and 4.11 for graduate students.

Major Coursework

In the major coursework section of the survey, undergraduates reported the highest satisfaction with class size (3.86), availability of faculty outside of class (3.75), and quality of instruction (3.70). They were least satisfied with the availability (i.e., scheduled times and/or open seats) and frequency (i.e., rotational offering schedule) of major courses, which were rated 3.21 and 2.97, respectively. Further investigation showed that these less positive results mainly reflected assessments from two large majors and do not represent all Fitchburg State undergraduates. These results have been reported to department chairs and will be tracked for future improvement. Graduate students’ responses to coursework questions were almost uniformly positive, ranging from 3.56 (quality of laboratories and other learning facilities) to 4.01 (class size).

Faculty Interaction

Both undergraduate and graduate respondents rated their interactions with faculty very favorably. Agreement with the statement, “Faculty demonstrated commitment to my learning, personal well-being, and success” was 4.11 for undergraduates and 4.27 for graduate students. Ratings on the same question for fieldwork supervisors, internship supervisors, and cooperating teachers were 3.87 and 4.19, respectively.

Library Media Center

Library media center questions reflect the general categories of the LibQual™ survey concerning facilities, schedule, resources, staff, and instruction. Respondents gave the Fitchburg State library high marks (overall means of 3.90 and 4.28 for undergraduates and graduate students, respectively) in every area (UG range 3.66-4.03, GR range 4.00-4.44).

Self-reported Learning

Self-reported learning in general education outcomes for undergraduates (written and oral communication, quantitative reasoning, research and information collection skills, computer technology, comfort with diversity, leadership, and teamwork) was high in every category, with self-assessed growth ranging from 0.46 in quantitative reasoning to 0.72 in oral communication.

Student Services

Student services ranging from the Academic Advising Center to the Tutoring and Placement Center were generally well-regarded by respondents who had used them. The number of respondents was generally not high, especially among graduate students. The Recreation Center, Admissions, the Registrar, and online services related to registration received especially high marks (4.03, 3.96, 3.89, and 3.90, respectively) from undergraduates.

Future Plans

Most respondents (76% of undergraduates and 90% of graduate students) report future plans that include full-time paid employment. At the time they took the survey, 36% of undergraduates and 90% of graduate students report full- or part-time jobs or job offers in their fields. Almost a third (32%) of undergraduates anticipate graduate or professional school within a year of graduation, though only 18% expect graduate study to be their principal focus. Fewer than 10% of graduate students report that they expect to go on for more schooling.

Each section and item of the survey is tabulated and discussed in more detail below.

Survey Details

Methodology

Since the end of the Fall 2008 semester, all applicants who file requests with the University Registrar to receive undergraduate or graduate degrees or certificates receive a Banner workflow message that an opportunity will be afforded them to take an extensive survey about their experiences at Fitchburg State. The Office of Assessment is automatically copied on each workflow, and, within a few days, forwards prospective graduates the survey link in a separate email. During the Fall, Winter, and Spring semesters of 2008-2009, 422 students followed the link and completed all or parts of the survey. Slightly more than 130 undergraduate students (about 20% of 630 baccalaureate graduates for the academic year) who self-reported graduation in Summer 2008, Fall 2008, Winter 2009 or Spring 2009 (summarized as “Academic Year 2008-2009”) are included in the tables below. About 130 (N = 129) graduate students contributed responses, though the number who answered each particular question was always lower than the total number of responses. The Registrar lists 577 graduate students as having received degrees during the Winter and Spring Commencements of 2009, which would make the return rate for graduate students 129/577 = just over 24%.

It should be noted that the process of implementing the survey at Fitchburg State during this period was often untidy. Initially, the University hoped to utilize the Tk20 assessment management system, which would have made it possible to follow up non-respondents and thus, hopefully, increase the response rate. Tk20 proved, however, to be unsuitable in a number of ways. First, it was cumbersome to establish a new “user group” for each batch of applicants, especially if the applicants were not currently registered for classes and thus unverifiable from the Tk20 user rolls. It was also discovered, after more than 500 requests to students had been sent out via Tk20, that the automatically generated message to students was poorly worded, contained no formatting, and had a sending address (helpdesk@fitchburgstate.edu) that caused many messages to be routed to “junk mail” folders. Finally, Tk20’s single-page, scrollable interface was apparently quite daunting. Many students who overcame other impediments and started the survey abandoned it before finishing.

Before the end of the Fall semester, the survey was re-created in SelectSurvey™. This afforded a friendlier environment for respondents. The survey instrument is broken into smaller, screen-sized chunks and requires no scrolling to move from item to item. Notifications are no longer sent via Tk20. Rather, students are “batched” into the “BCC” block of an email message from the Director of Assessment, which makes it much less likely that the message will be blocked or perceived as spam. Still, there are limitations in this process, and misfires have occurred. First and foremost, the email addresses of record for all students are their “student.fsc.edu” accounts, which are not always routinely utilized. Only when messages to those addresses bounce back are personal or business email accounts looked up in Banner. Thus, there is no guarantee that students even read notices about the survey. In addition, during the current academic year, the link to the survey was inadvertently changed several times, each time locking out those with earlier versions of the link. Additionally, a series of messages went to students with a punctuation mark in the link that kept it from working properly. Fortunately, a few students complained that their links did not work, and the problem was corrected. Because SelectSurvey™ has no tracking capability, it is impossible to identify non-respondents in order to correct miscues or for further contact. However, it is expected that there will be far fewer of them going forward.

All the above notwithstanding, the first run of information is interesting in many respects. It is summarized below.

Perceptions of Major and Non-Major Classes/Coursework in Graduate Field of Study

The first section of the survey asked respondents to rate 12 (or, in the case of non-major classes, 11) aspects of their course experiences. The rating scale was “Excellent” = 5; “Very Good” = 4; “Good” = 3; “Fair” = 2; “Poor” = 1. The section mean and standard deviation for non-major (e.g., general education and co-requisite) courses was 3.36/0.89. The section mean and SD for major courses was 3.51/1.03. There was no significant deviation from the section mean for non-major courses. For major courses, students expressed dissatisfaction (i.e., mean is significantly below the overall mean for the section) with “Availability of classes” and “Frequency of course offerings,” while “Size of classes” was significantly more satisfying than other aspects of major course work. The complete results of this section of the survey are tabulated below.

For graduate student respondents, the section mean and standard deviation for “major” courses (i.e., courses in the graduate field of study) were 3.80 and 0.90, respectively. No item varied significantly from the section mean, though satisfaction with class size came very close.

Since the data summarized in this report was collected, the survey has been changed. The item which asks about “major” now asks for “undergraduate major or graduate course of study.”

Table 1A

Undergraduate Program Completers’ Perceptions of Coursework
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

Undergraduate coursework outside the major

Undergraduate coursework in the major

 

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

Availability of classes.* 123 3.41 0.93 3.24-3.57 135 3.21 1.07 3.03-3.39
Frequency of course offerings.* 123 3.34 0.89 3.18-3.50 135 2.97 1.06 2.79-3.15
Size of classes.* 123 3.52 0.97 3.35-3.69 135 3.86 0.99 3.69-4.03
Overall quality of instruction. 122 3.42 0.85 3.27-3.57 135 3.70 0.92 3.55-3.86
Overall quality of texts and other instructional materials. 122 3.21 0.89 3.05-3.37 134 3.27 0.94 3.11-3.43
Availability of faculty outside of class time. 121 3.48 0.80 3.34-3.62 135 3.75 0.99 3.58-3.92
Timeliness and relevance of course content. 123 3.34 0.78 3.20-3.48 134 3.62 0.88 3.47-3.77
Helpfulness of non-teaching staff in your major department.         126 3.64 1.13 3.44-3.84
Quality of facilities for learning (e.g., classrooms, labs, studios, gyms). 119 3.39 0.74 3.26-3.53 132 3.48 0.99 3.32-3.65

Table 1A - cont'd

Undergraduate coursework outside the major

Undergraduate coursework in the major

 

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

Quality of extra-curricular experiences (e.g., practica, internships) 104 3.26 0.87 3.09-3.43 110 3.52 1.11 3.31-3.72
Match between career goals and course-of-study requirements. 119 3.08 0.98 2.90-3.25 132 3.45 1.00 3.28-3.62
Overall level of challenge. 123 3.35 0.82 3.20-3.49 133 3.62 0.93 3.46-3.77
*p < 0.05 for major coursework.

Table 1B

Graduate Program Completers’ Perceptions of Coursework
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

Coursework in field of graduate study

 

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

Availability of classes. 113 3.96 0.91 3.80-4.13
Frequency of course offerings. 113 3.58 1.04 3.39-3.78
Size of classes. 112 4.01 0.78 3.87-4.15
Overall quality of instruction. 113 3.96 0.78 3.81-4.10
Overall quality of texts and other instructional materials. 111 3.66 0.94 3.48-3.83
Availability of faculty outside of class time. 110 3.78 0.85 3.62-3.94
Timeliness and relevance of course content. 110 3.80 0.79 3.65-3.95
Helpfulness of non-teaching staff in your major department. 93 3.76 1.03 3.55-3.97
Quality of facilities for learning (e.g., classrooms, labs, studios, gyms). 104 3.56 0.97 3.37-3.74
Quality of extra-curricular experiences (e.g., practica, internships) 81 3.80 0.94 3.60-4.01
Match between career goals and course-of-study requirements. 110 3.90 0.86 3.74-4.06
Overall level of challenge. 112 3.83 0.80 3.68-3.98

Perceptions of Faculty, Supervisors, and Administrators

The next section of the survey asked respondents to select the extent of their agreement with statements about faculty, fieldwork supervisors, and University administrators. The rating scale was “Strongly agree” = 5; “Agree” = 4; “Neutral” = 3; “Disagree” = 2; “Strongly disagree” = 1. Perceptions of program completers are tabulated below.

Table 2A

Undergraduate Program Completers’ Perceptions Faculty, Supervisors, and Administrators
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

Faculty demonstrated commitment to my learning, personal well-being, and success. 113 4.11 0.66 3.98-4.23
Fieldwork supervisors (e.g., internship supervisors, cooperating teachers) demonstrated commitment to my learning, personal well-being, and success. 93 3.87 0.86 3.70-4.05
Administrators (e.g., vice presidents and directors) demonstrated commitment to my learning, personal well-being, and success. 111 3.56 0.98 3.38-3.74

Table 2B

Graduate Program Completers’ Perceptions Faculty, Supervisors, and Administrators
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

Faculty demonstrated commitment to my learning, personal well-being, and success. 90 4.27 0.70 4.12-4.41
Fieldwork supervisors (e.g., internship supervisors, cooperating teachers) demonstrated commitment to my learning, personal well-being, and success. 72 4.19 0.68 4.04-4.35
Administrators (e.g., vice presidents and directors) demonstrated commitment to my learning, personal well-being, and success. 77 3.88 0.78 3.71-4.06

Perceptions of Library/Media Center

The next section of the survey asked respondents to select the extent of their agreement with statements about library resources and services. The questions correspond roughly to the major divisions of the LibQual™ survey. The rating scale was “Strongly agree” = 5; “Agree” = 4; “Neutral” = 3; “Disagree” = 2; “Strongly disagree” = 1. For undergraduates (Table 3A), the section mean and standard deviation were 3.88 and 0.62, respectively, and none of the question means were significantly different from it. For graduate students (Table 3B), the section mean and standard deviation were 4.09 and 0.81, respectively. As might be expected of graduate students, agreement with the fourth item, “I learned about research strategies and sources of information from library staff” was significantly below the section mean. Perceptions of program completers are tabulated below.

Table 3A

Undergraduate Program Completers’ Perceptions Library/Media Center Resources and Services
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

Library resources (e.g., books, database subscriptions, web-based resources, inter-library loans) were adequate for my research and learning needs. 58 4.00 0.72 3.87-4.13
Library hours and web resource availability were adequate for my research and learning needs. 59 3.83 0.90 3.67-3.99
Library staff were knowledgeable and demonstrated commitment to my learning and academic success. 64 3.96 0.64 3.84-4.07
I learned about research strategies and sources of information from library staff. 77 3.66 0.92 3.48-3.84
The library was comfortable and a good place to study. 61 4.03 0.74 3.90-4.17

Table 3B

Graduate Program Completers’ Perceptions Library/Media Center Resources and Services
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

Library resources (e.g., books, database subscriptions, web-based resources, inter-library loans) were adequate for my research and learning needs. 52 4.14 0.76 3.97-4.31
Library hours and web resource availability were adequate for my research and learning needs. 56 4.18 0.77 4.00-4.35
Library staff were knowledgeable and demonstrated commitment to my learning and academic success. 59 4.14 0.71 3.98-4.31
I learned about research strategies and sources of information from library staff. 63 3.77 0.96 3.54-4.00
The library was comfortable and a good place to study. 78 4.24 0.76 4.03-4.44
*p < 0.05

Perceptions of Learning

The next section of the survey asked undergraduate respondents to rate their growth over the course of their studies at Fitchburg State in 10 areas of academic and personal functioning. The rating scale was “Very strong” = 5; “Somewhat strong” = 4; “About average” = 3; “Somewhat weak” = 2; “Very weak” = 1. In every area, there was a significant difference between students’ senses of where they started and where they finished. The mean increase across the various areas was 0.56. The greatest perceived learning took place in the areas of conducting research (0.72) and oral communication (0.71). The lowest perception of change was in comfort with diversity (0.35), though students assess themselves as being strong in that area to begin with.

Table 4

Undergraduate Program Completers’ Perceptions of Learning and Growth
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

Written communication.* 126 3.71 0.90 3.55-3.86 125 4.22 0.89 4.06-4.37
Oral communication.* 125 3.48 1.10 3.29-3.67 125 4.19 0.91 4.03-4.35
Quantitative skills.* 126 3.44 0.93 3.28-3.61 125 3.91 0.87 3.76-4.06
Comfort with racial, cultural, and national diversity.* 124 4.09 0.94 3.92-4.25 124 4.44 0.86 4.28-4.59
Conducting research.* 125 3.43 0.96 3.26-3.60 124 4.15 0.89 4.00-4.31
Accessing, evaluating, and using information in printed and electronic media.* 124 3.55 0.99 3.37-3.72 122 4.23 0.85 4.08-4.38
Using computer technology.* 125 3.86 0.90 3.71-4.02 125 4.32 0.87 4.17-4.47
Critical reasoning.* 125 3.70 0.93 3.53-3.86 125 4.17 0.82 4.02-4.31
Leadership.* 124 3.54 1.07 3.35-3.73 125 4.23 0.85 4.08-4.38
Teamwork.* 126 3.80 0.90 3.63-3.97 125 4.33 0.87 4.18-4.48
*p < 0.05 for major coursework.

Perceptions of University Offices and Services

The next section of the survey asked respondents to report their experiences with University offices and services. The rating scale was “Very positive” = 5; “Mostly positive” = 4; “Neutral” = 3; “Mostly negative” = 2; “Very negative” = 1. For undergraduates (Table 5A), the section mean and standard deviation were 3.65 and 0.34, respectively. Admissions, the University website, computer labs, online services, the recreation center, the Registrar, and Student Activities all received high marks, while dining services, electronic services, and parking were rated less positively. On-campus job recruiting and the Student Government Association received low marks, though the number of respondents with opinions on those topics was also low. For graduate students (Table 5B), the section mean and standard deviation were 4.05 and 0.90, respectively. The number of respondents to any particular item was generally low, as might be expected of graduate students. No item different significantly from the section mean. The Office of Graduate and Continuing Education was rated highly by respondent to the Tk20 version of the survey. However, the corresponding item was inadvertently omitted from the initial (though not the current) SelectSurvey version. Perceptions of program completers are tabulated below.

Table 5A

Undergraduate Program Completers’ Ratings of University Offices and Services
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

Academic Advising Center 92 3.60 0.94 3.41-3.79
Admissions* 114 3.96 0.76 3.82-4.10
Bookstore 119 3.63 1.08 3.44-3.82
Campus Police 96 3.58 1.05 3.37-3.79
Career Services 64 3.58 0.87 3.37-3.79
University Catalog 93 3.56 0.80 3.40-3.72
University website* 116 3.84 0.80 3.69-3.98
Computer laboratories* 108 3.96 0.75 3.82-4.10
Counseling 54 3.81 0.95 3.56-4.07
Course schedule 113 3.63 0.88 3.47-3.79
Dining facilities* 85 3.26 1.10 3.02-3.49
Disability Services 34 3.65 0.85 3.36-3.93
Electronic services (e.g., University email, Connect-ED)* 112 3.46 0.91 3.29-3.62
Financial Aid 86 3.77 1.00 3.56-3.98
Help Desk 75 3.72 0.91 3.51-3.93
Multicultural Student Services 32 3.75 0.80 3.47-4.03
On-campus job recruiting* 44 3.39 0.81 3.15-3.63
One Card 101 3.78 0.89 3.61-3.96
Online services (e.g., application, financial aid, registration, add/drop)* 112 3.90 0.83 3.75-4.05
Parking and transportation* 106 2.33 1.18 2.11-2.55
Recreation/athletic center* 96 4.03 0.76 3.88-4.18
Registrar* 114 3.89 1.07 3.70-4.09
Residence halls (Housing and Residential Services) 64 3.56 0.96 3.33-3.80
Student Academic Services 69 3.71 0.86 3.51-3.91
Student Accounts 91 3.75 0.89 3.56-3.93
Student Activities* 75 3.89 0.71 3.73-4.05
Student Government Association* 56 3.38 0.93 3.13-3.62
Student Health Services 74 3.72 0.79 3.54-3.90
Student Support Services 48 3.56 0.85 3.32-3.80
Tutoring and Placement Test Center 71 3.76 0.78 3.58-3.94

Table 5B

Graduate Program Completers’ Ratings of University Offices and Services
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

Academic Advising Center 17 4.00 0.96 3.73-4.27
Admissions 25 4.22 0.65 4.07-4.37
Bookstore 26 4.11 0.94 3.88-4.35
Campus Police 15 4.05 0.96 3.75-4.36
Career Services 10 3.89 0.96 3.54-4.25
University Catalog 16 4.11 0.69 3.93-4.29
University website 23 4.14 0.74 3.97-4.31
Computer laboratories 15 4.10 0.80 3.85-4.34
Counseling 9 3.89 0.96 3.54-4.25
Course schedule 19 4.13 0.72 3.95-4.31
Dining facilities 12 4.14 0.97 3.78-4.50
Disability Services 10 4.28 0.89 3.86-4.69
Electronic services (e.g., University email, Connect-ED) 14 4.02 0.75 3.83-4.20
Financial Aid 10 3.74 1.24 3.31-4.18
Help Desk 15 3.96 0.90 3.70-4.21
Multicultural Student Services 9 3.96 0.87 3.63-4.30
On-campus job recruiting 5 2.91 1.60 2.24-3.58
One Card 15 4.02 0.95 3.74-4.31
Online services (e.g., application, financial aid, registration, add/drop) 17 4.15 0.62 3.99-4.30
Parking and transportation 14 3.56 1.18 3.27-3.86
Recreation/athletic center 12 4.37 0.63 4.13-4.61
Registrar 23 4.19 0.69 4.03-4.35
Residence halls (Housing and Residential Services) 6 3.80 1.26 3.16-4.44
Student Academic Services 13 4.33 0.82 4.01-4.66
Student Accounts 18 4.20 0.82 3.96-4.45
Student Activities  8 4.14 0.77 3.81-4.46
Student Government Association 8 4.11 0.90 3.70-4.53
Student Health Services 12 4.24 0.83 3.91-4.57
Student Support Services 10 4.08 0.88 3.73-4.44
Tutoring and Placement Test Center 10 3.96 1.07 3.52-4.39

Overall Satisfaction with Fitchburg State

The next section of the survey asked respondents to select the extent of their agreement with statements about their overall satisfaction with the University. The rating scale was “Strongly agree” = 5; “Agree” = 4; “Neutral” = 3; “Disagree” = 2; “Strongly disagree” = 1. Perceptions of program completers are tabulated below.

Table 6A

Undergraduate Program Completers’ Overall Satisfaction
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

Academic Advising Center 92 3.60 0.94 3.41-3.79
Admissions* 114 3.96 0.76 3.82-4.10
Bookstore 119 3.63 1.08 3.44-3.82
Campus Police 96 3.58 1.05 3.37-3.79
Career Services 64 3.58 0.87 3.37-3.79
University Catalog 93 3.56 0.80 3.40-3.72
University website* 116 3.84 0.80 3.69-3.98
Computer laboratories* 108 3.96 0.75 3.82-4.10
Counseling 54 3.81 0.95 3.56-4.07
Course schedule 113 3.63 0.88 3.47-3.79
Dining facilities* 85 3.26 1.10 3.02-3.49
Disability Services 34 3.65 0.85 3.36-3.93
Electronic services (e.g., University email, Connect-ED)* 112 3.46 0.91 3.29-3.62
Financial Aid 86 3.77 1.00 3.56-3.98
Help Desk 75 3.72 0.91 3.51-3.93
Multicultural Student Services 32 3.75 0.80 3.47-4.03
On-campus job recruiting* 44 3.39 0.81 3.15-3.63
One Card 101 3.78 0.89 3.61-3.96
Online services (e.g., application, financial aid, registration, add/drop)* 112 3.90 0.83 3.75-4.05
Parking and transportation* 106 2.33 1.18 2.11-2.55
Recreation/athletic center* 96 4.03 0.76 3.88-4.18
Registrar* 114 3.89 1.07 3.70-4.09
Residence halls (Housing and Residential Services) 64 3.56 0.96 3.33-3.80
Student Academic Services 69 3.71 0.86 3.51-3.91
Student Accounts 91 3.75 0.89 3.56-3.93
Student Activities* 75 3.89 0.71 3.73-4.05
Student Government Association* 56 3.38 0.93 3.13-3.62
Student Health Services 74 3.72 0.79 3.54-3.90
Student Support Services 48 3.56 0.85 3.32-3.80
Tutoring and Placement Test Center 71 3.76 0.78 3.58-3.94

Table 5B

Graduate Program Completers’ Ratings of University Offices and Services
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

Overall satisfaction with my experience at Fitchburg State. 117 3.85 0.87 3.69-4.00
Likelihood that I will recommend the University to others. 116 3.87 1.01 3.69-4.05

Table 6B

Graduate Program Completers’ Overall Satisfaction
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

N

Mean

SD

0.95 CI

Overall satisfaction with my experience at Fitchburg State. 29 4.06 0.86 3.88-4.24
Likelihood that I will recommend the University to others. 34 4.11 0.91 3.91-4.30

Future Plans

The next section of the survey posed questions to respondents about future plans. Frequencies of various selected responses are tabulated below. Percentages are calculated for each item. Unfortunately, among undergraduate respondents particularly, there was a great deal of inconsistency in responses. For example, more UG respondents (89) have actual or anticipated salaries for jobs in their field than have full- or part-time jobs or offers in their fields (41), and more respondents (13) expect to attend graduate or professional school full-time upon graduation than report expecting to attend graduate or professional school full-time within the next year (11). Likewise, among graduate students, more respondents (11) have actual or anticipated salaries for jobs outside their fields report planning to work outside their fields (9), and the number of graduates who have job offers or are seeking employment (168) is higher than the total number of respondents (129).

The wording of these items has been changed going forward so that respondents are more likely to respond consistently and in a manner that produces a uniform picture of future plans.

Table 7A

Undergraduate Program Completers’ Future Plans
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

N

Percent

Which is MOST LIKELY to be your PRINCIPAL activity upon graduation?    
Employment, full-time, paid. 86 76.1%
Employment, part-time, paid. 1 0.9%
Graduate or professional school, full-time. 13 11.5%
Graduate or professional school, part-time. 7 6.2%
Additional undergraduate coursework. 1 0.9%
Volunteer activity (e.g., Peace Corps) 2 1.8%
Starting or raising a family. 1 0.9%
Other. 2 1.8%
I am seeking employment in my field(s) of study    
Yes, full-time in the field 91 80.5%
Yes, part-time in the field. 6 5.3%
Not seeking employment in field(s) of study. 16 14.2%
I have a job offer or am already employed in my field(s) of study.    
Yes, full-time in the field. 26 23.0%
Yes, part-time in the field. 15 13.3%
Not employed in field(s) of study. 72 63.7%
Annual or anticipated salary, if employed or soon to be employed in field(s) of study.    
Less than $12,000. 3 3.4%
$12,000 to $21,999. 13 14.6%
$22,000 to $30,999. 22 24.7%
$31,000 to $39,999. 25 28.1%
More than $40,000. 26 29.2%
I am seeking employment OUTSIDE my field(s) of study.    
Yes, full-time in the field. 13 12.4%
Yes, part-time in the field. 11 10.5%
Not seeking employment in field(s) of study. 81 77.1%
I have a job offer or am already employed OUTSIDE my field(s) of study.    
Yes, full-time in the field. 5 8.6%
Yes, part-time in the field. 16 27.6%
Not employed outside field(s) of study. 37 63.8%
Annual or anticipated salary, if employed or soon to be employed OUTSIDE field(s) of study.    
Less than $12,000. 11 24.4%
$12,000 to $21,999. 10 22.2%
$22,000 to $30,999. 8 17.8%
$31,000 to $39,999. 9 20.0%
More than $40,000. 7 15.6%
Which best describes the level at which you are presently working or expect to work within the next year?    
Unemployed. 5 5.1%
Hourly worker. 30 30.3%
Entry-level professional (technician, nurse, teacher, etc.), artist, or entrepreneur. 39 39.4%
Experienced professional, artist, or entrepreneur. 12 12.1%
Advanced professional (clinical specialist, educational coordinator, etc.) 3 3.0%
Manager (supervisor of staff, principal, head nurse, etc.) 2 2.0%
Executive (CEO, COO, CIO, etc.) 0 0.0%
Other 8 8.1%
I am enrolled, or expect to enroll, for additional undergraduate coursework within the next year.    
Yes, full-time. 2 1.8%
Yes, part-time. 14 12.8%
No. 93 85.3%
I expect to attend graduate school in my field of study within the next year.    
Yes, full-time. 11 10.1%
Yes, part-time. 24 22.0%
No. 74 67.9%
I expect to attend graduate school OUTSIDE my field of study within the next year.    
Yes, full-time. 0 0.0%
Yes, part-time 6 5.5%
No. 103 94.5%

Table 7B

Graduate Program Completers’ Future Plans
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

N

Percent

Which is MOST LIKELY to be your PRINCIPAL activity upon graduation?    
Employment, full-time, paid. 82 90.1%
Employment, part-time, paid. 1 1.1%
Graduate or professional school, full-time. 5 5.5%
Graduate or professional school, part-time. 2 2.2%
Additional undergraduate coursework. 0 0.0%
Volunteer activity (e.g., Peace Corps) 0 0.0%
Starting or raising a family. 0 0.0%
Other. 1 1.1%
I am seeking employment in my field(s) of study    
Yes, full-time in the field 59 75.6%
Yes, part-time in the field. 3 3.8%
Not seeking employment in field(s) of study. 16 20.5%
I have a job offer or am already employed in my field(s) of study.    
Yes, full-time in the field. 70 77.8%
Yes, part-time in the field. 11 12.2%
Not employed in field(s) of study. 9 10.0%
Annual or anticipated salary, if employed or soon to be employed in field(s) of study.    
Less than $12,000. 4 28.6%
$12,000 to $21,999. 0 0.0%
$22,000 to $30,999. 1 7.1%
$31,000 to $39,999. 1 7.1%
More than $40,000. 8 57.1%
I am seeking employment OUTSIDE my field(s) of study.    
Yes, full-time in the field. 0 0.0%
Yes, part-time in the field. 2 2.7%
Not seeking employment in field(s) of study. 73 97.3%
I have a job offer or am already employed OUTSIDE my field(s) of study.    
Yes, full-time in the field. 2 7.7%
Yes, part-time in the field. 1 3.8%
Not employed outside field(s) of study. 23 88.5%
Annual or anticipated salary, if employed or soon to be employed OUTSIDE field(s) of study.    
Less than $12,000. 1 9.1%
$12,000 to $21,999. 0 0.0%
$22,000 to $30,999. 1 9.1%
$31,000 to $39,999. 1 9.1%
More than $40,000. 8 72.7%
Which best describes the level at which you are presently working or expect to work within the next year?    
Unemployed. 0 0.0%
Hourly worker. 2 2.3%
Entry-level professional (technician, nurse, teacher, etc.), artist, or entrepreneur. 25 28.7%
Experienced professional, artist, or entrepreneur. 22 25.3%
Advanced professional (clinical specialist, educational coordinator, etc.) 24 27.6%
Manager (supervisor of staff, principal, head nurse, etc.) 4 4.6%
Executive (CEO, COO, CIO, etc.) 0 0.0%
Other 10 11.5%
I am enrolled, or expect to enroll, for additional undergraduate coursework within the next year.    
Yes, full-time. 1 1.2%
Yes, part-time. 3 3.6%
No. 80 95.2%
I expect to attend graduate school in my field of study within the next year.    
Yes, full-time. 1 1.2%
Yes, part-time. 9 10.8%
No. 73 88.0%
I expect to attend graduate school OUTSIDE my field of study within the next year.    
Yes, full-time. 2 2.4%
Yes, part-time 3 3.6%
No. 78 94.0%

Demographics

In the final section of the survey, respondents were asked demographic and lifestyle questions. Results are tabulated below, as reported. No attempt is made to explain anomalies, such as respondents purporting to have received undergraduate degrees even though they claim to have been admitted as graduate students. Percentages are calculated by item. An item about dependents had a large number of non-responses. The item about class standing has been changed in the current version to ask for class standing at the time of admission to current degree program.

Note that while 87% of undergraduate respondents report attending the university full-time, more than half also report working for pay 20 hours per week or more.

Table 8A

Undergraduate Program Completers’ Demographic and Lifestyle Characteristics
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

N

Percent

Your racial heritage.    
Asian 3 2.7%
Bi-racial/multi-racial. 3 2.7%
Black or African American. 2 1.8%
Hispanic or Latino. 2 1.8%
White (not Hispanic or Latino). 103 91.2%
Class standing when you first enrolled at Fitchburg State.    
Freshman (no previous college). 64 52.5%
Freshman with transfer credits 17 13.9%
Sophomore 10 8.2%
Junior 16 13.1%
Senior 11 9.0%
Graduate student 4 3.3%
Total SEMESTERS it took you to earn your degree.    
1-2 1 0.8%
3-5 15 12.2%
6-8 35 28.5%
9-10 56 45.5%
11-12 8 6.5%
Cumulative GPA.    
Less than 2.000 1 0.8%
2.000-2.500 12 9.8%
2.501-3.000 52 42.6%
3.001-3.500 34 27.9%
3.501-4.000 23 18.9%
Did you attend the university continuously while working on your degree?    
Yes. 108 87.8%
No. 15 12.2%
During all or most of your semesters in at the university, did you attend full-time or part-time?    
Full-time. 107 87.0%
Part-time. 16 13.0%
Average hours per week worked while attending the university.    
0 6 5.1%
1-10 12 10.3%
11-20 40 34.2%
21-30 24 20.5%
31-40 22 18.8%
40+ 13 11.1%
Number of dependents (besides yourself).    
0 41 61.2%
1 10 14.9%
2 9 13.4%
3 5 7.5%
4 1 1.5%
5 1 1.5%

Table 8B

Graduate Program Completers’ Demographic and Lifestyle Characteristics
Fitchburg State Graduating Student Survey
Summer 2008-Spring 2009

 

N

Percent

Your age.    
22-25 25 28.1%
26-30 10 11.2%
31-35 11 12.4%
36-40 21 23.6%
41-45. 4 4.5%
46-50 5 5.6%
51+ 13 14.6%
Your gender.    
Female 60 66.7%
Male 30 33.3%
Your racial heritage.    
American Indian/Alaskan Native 1 1.2%
Asian 13 15.1%
Bi-racial/multi-racial. 0 0.0&=%
Black or African American 2 2.3%
Hispanic or Latino 3 3.5%
White (not Hispanic or Latino) 67 77.9%
Class standing when you first enrolled at Fitchburg State.    
Freshman (no previous college). 4 4.5%
Freshman with transfer credits. 7 7.9%
Sophomore 0 0.0%
Junior 3 3.4%
Senior 5 5.6%
“Had baccalaureate degree” or “Graduate student” 70 78.7%
Total SEMESTERS it took you to earn your degree.    
1-2 0 0.0%
3-5 36 40.4%
6-8 31 34.8%
9-10 9 10.1%
11-12 7 7.9%
13+ 6 6.7%
Cumulative GPA.    
Less than 2.000 0 0.0%
2.000-2.500 1 1.1%
2.501-3.000 2 2.2%
3.001-3.500 14 15.4%
3.501-4.000 74 81.3%
Did you attend the university continuously while working on your degree?    
Yes. 70 77.8%
No. 20 22.2%
During all or most of your semesters in the university, did you attend full-time or part-time?    
Full-time. 31 34.4%
Part-time. 59 65.6%
Average hours per week worked while attending the university.    
0 4 4.9%
1-10 6 7.3%
11-20 9 11.0%
21-30 4 4.9%
31-40 22 26.8%
40+ 37 45.1%
Number of dependents (besides yourself).    
0 27 40.9%
1 9 13.6%
2 15 22.7%
3 9 13.6%
4 2 3.0%
5 3 4.5%
6+ 1 1.5%

Comments

Not many respondents chose to compose comments at the end of the survey. Those few that were collected have been forwarded to department chairs, as indicated.