Note: The following is based on a pre-COVID-19 survey, and although the University has since established fully-online teaching, learning, and administrative support, the survey’s findings are still very relevant and important to understanding our students’ perception of UNCG campus culture and support.
What do students think about the support systems available on campus?
In order to address that question, the iBelong Project was launched in Spring 2019 to better understand student experiences at UNCG. The project utilized the Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) survey developed by the National Institute for Transformation and Equity.
This is the second of a three-part series that highlights the results of the survey, and how that information can be useful for faculty and staff in their interaction with students. You can read part one of the series here.
UNCG serves numbers of students from traditionally at-risk populations, including one-third who are first-generation, which increases the importance for support services to help them be successful. The CECE survey provided data about student perception of the level of support provided on campus.
When students were asked if they had someone on campus (whether peer, faculty, or staff) they trusted for support, 70% of respondents agreed they found that support at UNCG. When asked about commitment about their success, 76% agreed/strongly agreed that educators at UNCG were committed to their success. Further, 79% of students agreed/strongly agreed that educators cared about them at UNCG.
One notable difference was when students were asked about regular check-ins by faculty/staff at UNCG. 39% of students reported they received regular check-ins by someone at UNCG. While many students might not need this level of support, what we know about our student demographics and the data on student success shows that proactive support is important for student success, particularly in the first 5 weeks of the semester.
The question for both faculty and staff, then, is how to provide proactive support at the scale needed for a 20,000+ student campus. Various groups across campus are having conversations about how to best meet the needs of students. This issue is especially critical, considering the University’s shift to online learning.
How was this Culturally Engaging Campus Environments survey conducted? 7,000 undergraduate students were randomly sampled from the UNCG roster to provide a representative sample of our student population. Selected students were then invited by email to complete the survey, and students needed to complete at least the first major section – 53 questions (21%) – of the survey in order to be included in the final sample. The final sample used to compile the results included 1,127 undergraduates, including online and transfer students, and their demographic data mirrored the general demographics of the UNCG student body.
The survey is based on a conceptual framework that identifies external and internal factors that impact student success, some of which include family, finances, employment, demographics, initial academic dispositions, and academic preparation. It seeks to showcase student voices and create conversations about inclusive excellence, learning, and sense of belonging. The specific goal of the iBelong Project is to understand how students experience our campus now, and how to help the University better meet the learning, professional, and personal needs of all of our current and future students.
A full report can be found at UNCG’s iBelong website sa.uncg.edu/ibelong. A feedback form on the website allows you to share your reaction and input.