The University and the Division of Student Affairs strive to promote a climate at UNCG where everyone feels supported and welcomed. UNCG’s iBelong Project, launched last spring, will help us better understand student experiences here.
A survey, developed by the National Institute for Transformation and Equity, has measured UNCG students’ perceptions of our campus environment.
Some key findings indicate the following:
- 85% of students surveyed were very satisfied or satisfied with their college experience at UNCG. Just under 5% were dissatisfied, and 9% were neither satisfied or dissatisfied.
- Students were also asked to describe why they selected their response about their level of satisfaction. The top three response categories were: people they encountered (152 responses), professors (129 responses), and faculty/staff (82 responses).
- Students were also asked in a likert scale question about perception of faculty commitment to success. 79% of students agreed/strongly agreed that educators care about students at UNCG.
- 64% of students agreed or strongly agreed that “I feel like I am part of a community at UNCG.”
- 71% of students agreed or strongly agreed that “I feel like I belong at UNCG”. The three demographic groups that were significantly more likely to agree with this response were students who lived on campus, students who identified as female, and traditional college-aged students.
- Online students reported not participating in campus activities, and transfer students also reported needing support, suggesting the need for additional or new efforts with online and transfer students to ensure a sense of belonging.
- Overall, most students (81%) agreed or strongly agreed that diversity is a major priority at UNCG.
- 81% of students reported rarely/never experiencing any form of prejudice while at UNCG, compared to 66% reporting never/rarely seeing someone else experience prejudice.
“Our student survey has given us rich data to inform current and future efforts at UNCG, in order to build a greater sense of belonging and connection for all our students,” said Dr. Julia Mendez Smith, co-chair of the iBelong project and Chancellor’s Fellow for Campus Climate. “We know that when our students have the resources they need and receive holistic support, they thrive. I’m excited about the upcoming conversations and working with many groups on our campus on these important issues.”
Dr. Cathy Akens, co-chair of the iBelong project and Vice Chancellor for Students Affairs, said, “This project is one more example that highlights UNCG’s culture of care. We care about the experience of our students and we want to understand how we can best help all students succeed here. The conversations that we have with our students and other groups on our campus will help us plan for the future.”
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
A full report is at UNCG’s iBelong website, sa.uncg.edu/ibelong. A feedback form on the website allows you to share your reaction and input.
As the University continues to learn from the results of the survey, next steps will proceed throughout the 2019-2020 academic year. Undergraduate students will be able to learn more about the survey and share their input at two Town Hall-style meetings this month.
Additionally, a similar survey will be administered to graduate students in the upcoming Spring 2020 semester. To measure change over time, UNCG plans to readminister a campus climate survey every three years. Increasing sense of belonging for students will assist with their persistence to degree and student success. Therefore, intentional conversations about belonging and helping students build connections throughout their college experience will be critical to continue to improve this indicator.
Please visit sa.uncg.edu/ibelong to learn more.