student success

Improving student satisfaction by communicating with students

Julie Bryant

Associate Vice President of Retention Solutions

October 15, 2010

When it comes to assessing student satisfaction, campuses naturally pay a great deal of attention to the assessments themselves: getting students to complete them, analyzing the results, and so on. But communicating those results to students, faculty, and staff is one key step that is sometimes overlooked.

After receiving your annual or biennial satisfaction assessment results, it is important to have a communication plan to share the data with campus personnel and students.  Colleges should communicate around areas that are performing well (areas of high priority that demonstrate high student satisfaction) so that everyone can join in the celebration.  Colleges will also want to identify the priority areas for improvement and share planned next steps to improve upon the situation. 

Communication can also be used to actually improve satisfaction by adjusting students’ perceptions of issues.  Sometimes students don’t understand the logic behind campus policies or organization, or they don’t know the broader context.  By sharing additional information with students, you can improve satisfaction without investing large amounts of money.  

I encourage colleges to have a plan to close the feedback loop with students and with the campus community regarding the actions that have been taken in response to the issues identified in satisfaction assessments.  Don’t assume that everyone will know that a change has been made or why it was made.  Tell students you care about their experience on your campus and that you have responded to their priority concerns.

About the Author

Julie Bryant of RNL

Julie L. Bryant, associate vice president of retention solutions at Ruffalo Noel Levitz, works directly with colleges and universities throughout North America in the area of satisfaction assessment. Ms Bryant is responsible for client service...

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