Nichols College News

Faculty Comes Out First in Student Survey

Student approval of the faculty topped the results in a just released Nichols survey of student satisfaction with academic and non-academic life at the college. The 51-question study, called the 2013 Campus Life Annual Satisfaction Survey (CLASS), was devised three years ago to better measure student perceptions of Nichols programs, departments, and personnel.

In the 2013 edition, the undergraduates who responded gave the highest grades to the quality of teaching in their majors, followed closely by faculty availability and responsiveness. Students also rated Nichols’ advising, tutoring, and admissions programs highly.

The students graded each of the 51 survey items—from dining hall services and athletic facilities to the admissions process and academic support—on a scale of 1 to 4. The top-ranked item dealing with the quality of teaching earned an average score of 3.47.

“That’s a very good number,” explains Mathematics Professor Mark Naigles, who devised CLASS with input from Nichols faculty and administrators and analyzed its results.

“Of all the things that go on at a college, it’s the aspects of the faculty here with which students are most satisfied. It speaks to the Nichols touch, with its one-to-one student-faculty relationship.” Naigles observes.

“We’re right on target. One of the things that we talk about to parents is the close relationship between faculty and students,” adds Associate Dean of Faculty Joanne Newcombe.

The high score for the quality of teaching in students’ majors, Newcombe says, “goes back to the real world experience that our professors have in their areas of expertise. Students appreciate that.”

The breadth with which CLASS examines student experiences exceeds information gathering at many other colleges, Naigles notes, adding that over the past three years, more than two thirds of the items covered in the questionnaire have received steadily increasing scores from students.

“It’s a great place to start digging for the ways in which we can continue to improve the college,” Naigles says.