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Case Study - Fort Hays State University (Kansas)

Read about all the ways this university is using the Priorities Survey for Online Learners™ (PSOL)


From a conversation with Dennis King, Director of the Virtual College and Learning Technologies at Fort Hays State University:

The PSOL has helped us in a variety of areas.

The data have helped us to design our informational materials. As an example, we provide information about our support services, such as tutoring, to our incoming students, so they know what is available. In the past, these areas have gotten lower satisfaction scores, so we are working to make the support services more visible in our ‘Tiger Guide to the Virtual College’ documentation.

We are using the PSOL data as key performance indicators with the advisors in our Student Engagement and Advising Center. The university actually established this center, in part, because our satisfaction scores had been below the national averages in the area of advising.

The data are regularly shared with our Provost Council, Virtual College Advisory Committee, and our deans. The President uses the data regularly as well. The data helped support our Higher Learning Commission application for an out-of-state location and is helping to position us appropriately going into the future.

When we request that our students complete the PSOL, we say, ‘If you want to help change the Virtual College, we would like you to respond to this survey.’ The survey has had a consistently strong response rate. The university promotes the survey on Facebook and Twitter and encourages students to check their email for the chance to respond.

Over the past several years of our having administered the PSOL, we have increased our communication efforts and have created more effective avenues for faculty and students to connect with one another. The data have helped us with a lot of decision-making efforts.

The PSOL data also help guide a SWOT analysis [strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats] for the long-term and short-term planning we do as part of the distance education task force. We will use the data for additional key performance indicators in the future.

We had also been getting low satisfaction scores for the bookstore service, and we were able to track and use the information to assist the manager to decide to add a full-time position as a result. The bookstore has made an effort to improve customer service overall.

The university definitely refers to the PSOL data to make decisions in a lot of areas. Fort Hays State is an AQIP school [Academic Quality Improvement Program of the Higher Learning Commission] and continuous improvement is something we practice. Without data, our leaders would have no grounds to make decisions. So we would just be guessing without the data from the PSOL. Our data goes back to 2004, and the historical perspective is helpful. The university has been especially consistent over the past five years with assessing students twice a year. Conducting the PSOL has just become something we do, and our leadership has come to expect current data from our students. The PSOL has been institutionalized at Fort Hays State.

The PSOL is a valuable tool for us, to see our students’ perceptions historically and to compare externally. The data allow us to strategically plan how we are going to improve our services. 

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“Everyone we’ve worked with at [Ruffalo Noel Levitz] has been very helpful, very quick to respond, and very easy to work with.”
Kathleen Dougherty
Online Student Communication Strategist
(Coordinator for PSOL survey administrations)
Fort Hays State University

 

Published with the permission of Fort Hays State University

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