Student Survey tells University what is working and what needs improving

For the second year in a row, more than three-quarters of OUM students gave the faculty and administration their input into how the University is running and their suggestions for improvement, in the ninth OUM Annual Student Survey. Results of the survey for 2019 are largely positive and consistent with previous years.

The student survey is administered to the entire student body annually in November/December. While participation is not mandatory, it is highly encouraged. Participation rates in early years were 45-50 percent, but they have been above 70 percent for the past two years.

“We are very pleased that we had this great turnout for the second year in a row. So many students took the time to share with us what’s working, what needs improving, and their suggestions for getting there,” says Chris Dudley, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Administration & Student Affairs. “I think the reason we have such a good response is because students see that we take their suggestions seriously and put them to work.”

With exactly the same number of responses as last year, 171, the student body was well-represented in terms of geography and where students are in the program. Thirty-seven percent of respondents were in the system-based modules. Nearly three-quarters of respondents entered OUM within the last three years.

High ratings

Every student survey, since the first one in 2011, has asked students to rate different aspects of their University experience on a scale of one (poor) to ten (excellent):

  • Instructors
  • Academic advising
  • Confidence in meeting goals
  • OUM’s responsiveness
  • OUM’s administrators
  • Overall experience

With a nine-year range for overall satisfaction between 6.7 and 7.6, the 2019 overall satisfaction score was 7.4. Nearly three-quarters of OUM students rated their overall experience as “good” or “excellent,” which would be ratings of 8 to 10 on the scale of satisfaction.

Likes and dislikes

A key feature of the student survey is the section where students are asked what they “like most” and “like least” about OUM.

Similar to previous surveys, there was a great deal of similarity among the likes, with “flexible” and “flexibility” accounting for 43 percent of the responses. Online learning, lectures, and student support also came up as favorable attributes. OUM’s mission received favorable comments, as well, with 90 percent of students indicating strong or moderate awareness of the University’s mission statement with an effort to fulfill it.

Dislikes, on the other hand, were as diverse as OUM’s student body. Some of the most common responses were “none, no comment, all good,” indicating no dislikes. The most-commonly mentioned dislikes concerned a variety of issues ranging from course structure, lecture time, and onsite clinical assessments, to having more recorded clinical lectures and using additional teaching technologies and outside resources, such as Lecturio.

OUM’s academic and administrative leaders read all survey comments and take action to make the necessary corrections,” says Dudley. “We’re going to investigate the situations that were mentioned and will take a close look at our administrative policies and procedures, as well as the work of our staff members themselves, to be sure that we’re sensitive and responsive to student needs.”

OUMSA enjoys strong support

The OUM Student Association (OUMSA) is enjoying good visibility among the students, with more than 90 percent of respondents saying they are aware of the group and 43 percent identifying as members. The survey provided OUMSA leadership with insight into what students expect from their membership and general awareness of group programming.

“It’s great that so many of our students take the time to tell us how they feel about their experience,” says Dudley. “These surveys are an important part of our efforts to continuously improve OUM.”

The University’s Steering Committee, as well as several faculty and administrative committees, have copies of the 59-page report and are incorporating student input and ideas into their future departmental policy plans and into University-wide strategic planning. Detailed results of each annual survey also are shared with OUM’s accrediting agency.