Public Affairs


About 3/4 also Rate Faculty Preparedness and Enthusiasm as Excellent or Good

Nearly 80 percent of California State University students rate the quality of their instruction as excellent or good, and about three-fourths reported the same about CSU faculty teaching skills and enthusiasm, according to preliminary findings of the system's Student Needs and Priorities Assessment Survey (SNAPS). The survey, conducted by the CSU about every five years, included 54 questions on campus functions, activities and services and was completed by a representative sample of more than 18,000 students throughout the state. The information will be presented at the CSU Board of Trustees meeting on May 10.

"The results of this survey reaffirm three things. One, we put students first and value their input. Two, the quality of the education provided by CSU's outstanding faculty is very high. Three, we need to continue to do more to ensure that students have convenient access to the courses they need," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "It also is helpful to know that there is student support for increased technology, year-round operations, and flexible scheduling. That shows CSU planning is in line with student needs." While CSU students are pleased with the quality of the education they receive, they are concerned about access issues. Less than 40 percent ranked as good or excellent the availability of classes. However, that's an increase from 25 percent in 1994, the last time SNAPS was completed. Also, 61 percent of CSU students ranked as excellent or good the variety of courses offered, an increase from 44 percent in 1994. In fact, almost all of the 19 key questions on access and quality are rated higher than they were in 1994.

The survey not only asks students to rank services in terms or quality but also in terms of importance. Every one of the top ten most important issues to students centered on either quality of instruction and faculty or access to classes. At the bottom of the list of important services were fraternities and sororities, child care, housing, athletics and student activities. Other interesting results include:

Quality Issues

More than two-thirds of CSU students were pleased with their overall college experience and would recommend their campus to others.

Courses that stimulate intellectual growth was not only among the top ten most important issues to students, but three-fourths rated that issue as excellent or good at the CSU.

More than half of CSU students (54 percent) would enroll in summer courses.

61 percent favor expanding on-line access to information about major program requirements and course scheduling information.

About a quarter of student favor flexible scheduling like more courses at night, on weekends, or one-month in duration.

About two-thirds rated as excellent or good their class sizes, an increase from about half in 1994.

62 percent of students rated CSU financial aid services as excellent or good, an increase of 17 percentage points since 1994.

Other Findings

Eighty percent of CSU students are attending their campus of first choice.

The number of students reporting financial concerns dropped to 27 percent, a 10 percentage point decrease from 1994.

About one in five students are in the first generation in their family to attend college.

40 percent of CSU students come from households where English is not the main language spoken.

More than one-third consider themselves to be multiracial.

Community Service

About 135,000 students throughout the state perform a total of about 33.6 million hours of community service annually.

39 percent of CSU students had either taken or are interested in participating in service learning, which links academic courses to community service activities.

65 percent of CSU students who had taken service learning courses indicated it helped them master the subject more than an traditional course.

70 percent said it developed civic awareness and responsibility better than a traditional course.

69 percent said it provided more opportunities to explore career options than a traditional course.

The full SNAPS report, currently being completed by the CSU Analytical Studies Division, will be ready by July. It is the only student opinion survey regularly administered to an entire segment of California's public colleges or universities and one of a very few systematic assessments of student satisfaction in the nation.

8 May 2000