PAVING THE WAY TO EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE: AN EXAMINATION INTO STUDENT SATISFACTION IN TERTIARY EDUCATION
The present paper discusses findings from an exploratory study concerning the degree of satisfaction of University students with their faculty, programs of study and academic advising.
To improve quality in education numerous educational institutions around the world are continuously assessing quality not only from the internal marketing point of view (faculty) but also from the external marketing aspect (students). The study’s objective was to assess student satisfaction levels at a Private University whose strength is its people orientation; the institution under study has recently signed an agreement for implementing the mechanisms and procedures for gaining an ‘investors in people’ recognition award.
A random sample was used with a response rate of 90%, 403 responded. Of the sample 46% were females, their age ranged from 18 to 27+, of them 44% were at 21-25 age range, 62% were attending undergraduate degree programs. Of the participants 25% were international students, and 78% were full-time. Qualitative and quantitative research methodologies were used. Semi structured interviews were conducted and a survey instrument was administered.
The results of the study provided a good indication of the high satisfaction levels of the majority of the participants, 75% of them agreed or strongly agreed that “they are accomplishing their educational goals” at the University under study; also 70% of them agreed or strongly agreed that they “ would recommend the University to others” and over half of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they “would choose to attend the University again”.
The vast majority expressed high satisfaction levels with lecturers; responses such as lecturers are friendly and approachable (mean value 3.82); lecturers are punctual and reliable (mean value 3.86); lecturers are supportive to the students (mean value 3.93). Furthermore, high satisfaction levels were also expressed with the programs of study; responses such as when programs of study are developed the needs of the students are taken into consideration (mean value 3.82); when programs of study are developed the needs of the industry are taken into consideration (mean value 3.73); As far as academic advising is concerned the students expressed satisfaction levels with mean values slightly lower than the other two areas, responses related to academic advising (mean value 3.56); career advising (mean value 3.35); student complaints/grievance process (mean value 3.36); academic support labs available (3.63). Thus there is an indication that more emphasis needs to be given to the academic advising aspect.
The paper contributed to the research on tertiary education as it relates to quality assessment of the main stakeholders whose axiom is to “excellence in education”