Annual Student Survey provides input, recommendations, likes/dislikes

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, during the eighth OUM Annual Student Survey, administered in November-December 2018 to the entire student body.

“We are absolutely thrilled that 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. “Results were largely positive, and many students made great recommendations for how we may improve in the future.”

The 171 responses were representative of the student body in terms of geography and where students are in the program. Forty-seven percent of respondents were in the system-based modules. Nearly half of respondents entered OUM within the last two years. While participation is not mandatory, it is highly encouraged. Participation in early years was 45-50 percent, but it has been above 60 percent the past four years.  In 2018, the participation rate was 76 percent.

Historically high ratings

Every student survey, since the first one in 2011, asked students to rate different aspects across the University on a scale of one (poor) to ten (excellent). With an eight-year range for overall satisfaction between 6.7 and 7.6, the 2018 overall satisfaction score was 7.2, which is not statistically significant from earlier scores. Two-thirds of OUM students rated their overall experience as “good” or “excellent.”

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 half the responses. Dislikes ranged from the scarcity of clinical rotation sites in Australia to comments about the mini-case discussions and course exams.

“The academic and administrative leaders read all these 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 to be sure that we’re sensitive and responsive to student needs.”

Analysis & recommendations

By country, Americans and New Zealanders are generally more satisfied than Australians and Canadians.

“Interestingly, students in each country seemed to think that students in another country were receiving preferential treatment,” says Dudley. “However, nothing could be further from reality. Our efforts to customize our offerings to students of different countries may be misconstrued as playing favorites.”

Recommendations to address areas of need identified in the 2018 student survey include:

  • Continued efforts by University and regional leadership to improve clinical rotation opportunities for Australian students in their country as well as in India and other countries.
  • An examination by academic leadership of the mini-case discussions.
  • Conversations with clinical students for insight into their experiences with Clinical Student Advisors.
  • A review of student course surveys by the Director of Faculty Affairs to identify any issues between faculty and students.
  • Educate students on how to get the most out of mini-case discussions especially in light of the transition to Zoom.
  • Reinforce principles covered in New Student Orientation, such as research project, library, and working while in clinical rotations.

Annual Student Survey results typically are tabulated and analyzed in January. The University’s Steering Committee, as well as several faculty and administrative committees, have copies of the 68-page report and are incorporating student input and ideas into University strategic planning.  Detailed survey results also are shared with PAASCU, OUM’s accrediting agency.