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Strengthening Student Satisfaction at Faulkner University

Meeting Students Where They Are and Charting the Path to a Better Experience

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Picture a series of paths.

You see a person and walk toward them. You ask: “How’s your walk going?” “Are you enjoying it?” “Will it take you where you want to go?” “Can I help you get there in a better way?”

This is a short story about that process, partnerships, and paths

Our story opens in the recent past when Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson was an administrator at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama. Among other things, Dr. Thompson worked on issues of student satisfaction and retention and—for three years—implemented the RNL Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI).

Dr. Thompson used the RNL SSI tool to facilitate what he called a “campuswide stop and listen.” In addition to being confident in the validity and reliability of the tool because of its more than 25-year history, his confidence in the results was enhanced by the student participation rate of around 60 percent each year.

“We're here to serve students, to get them ready for the next phase of their lives. Understanding what they desire, how they learn, and what they feel is important to them is absolutely critical. To meet them where they are and then move on from there.”

Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson, Faulkner University

Data that drive results

  • After collecting and digesting the results of the RNL findings report, Dr. Thompson presented them at an all-employee meeting.
  • He also used the data to reconnect with students, sharing the results and inviting them for deeper conversations about some of the “red flags” the inventory had identified.
  • In one instance, an open-ended question highlighted how unhappy students were with a recent change in attendance policy. Dr. Thompson set up follow-up meetings with students to identify the crux of their discontent and took their feedback to the faculty task force which revised the policy to better balance both sides’ priorities.

Students felt seen, heard, and accompanied on their path. Recently, Dr. Thompson’s own path changed but his partnership with RNL endured. Or as he described it: “not just a partnership; a friendship.”

Now, as the executive vice president at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, Dr. Thompson is implementing both the SSI, and the RNL Adult Student Priorities Survey (ASPS) with his graduate students. With his first administration at Harding, the student participation rate was 68 percent. They are using the SSI and ASPS data as major tools in their strategic planning processes.

Connect with students and learn how you can use satisfaction assessment to strengthen their experience

Learn more about the RNL Satisfaction-Priorities Surveys, or reach out for a complimentary consultation with our student assessment experts.