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18 November 2008

Putting Students First:
Recommendations for Summer 2009


By Dr. Alicia Simmons, Director
JSU Office of Institutional Research and Assessment

My Voice, My JSU is the new slogan for assessment at Jacksonville State University. In particular, surveys give students an opportunity to influence university policy by providing their collective voice to issues on campus. This helps JSU put students first.

This fall an ad hoc committee studying the summer terms asked students how JSU could best meet their summer course needs. An online survey was posted with 1,161 students responding. About half (n=576) of the respondents attended summer classes in 2008. Those students suggested that the most important reasons to attend classes in the summer were to graduate (84.2%) and complete their degree faster (72.4%). When asked about the most important ways summer could be improved at JSU, students said offer more classes that are required for my major (67.8%), offer more online courses (54.1%), and offer more courses that were full in spring and fall terms (51.7%).

The responses to the survey also suggested that overall JSU is meeting the needs of students during the summer. Almost all students (92.5%) said they were able to register for the classes they wanted. More than 80% said they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, my overall summer experience at JSU has been good.

The results also found that of those who attended classes in summer 2008 most reported that they paid for classes out of their pockets or the pockets of family members. In addition, 64% said they would be able to take more classes in the summer if the university had a payment plan.

As a result of the outcomes from this survey and recommendations from academic and administrative committees, President Meehan asks that:

1. JSU maintain the number of summer terms provided in summer 2008. Although no other universities in Alabama provide the number of summer terms JSU provides, JSU meets the differing needs of students and gives them many high quality choices for completing their degrees and graduating faster.

2. Academic departments identify spring 2008 and fall 2008 courses that were full and courses needed to graduate and schedule more of them during the summer. Of course, it will then be up to students to register for these courses for them to “make” and actually be offered.

3. The Office of Distance Education will continue to work with academic departments to develop high quality online courses and provide support to faculty creating these courses for the first time.

4. JSU business and administrative offices will work on providing a payment plan for students that would begin in summer 2009.

Thanks to all the students participating in the summer survey! Your voice was heard and JSU is working to put students first.

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