Ever suffered through “rude” administration people at UAA? Well, it probably won't come as a surprise to you, but you are not alone. According to a new student satisfaction survey released in December, red tape is one of students' most common complaints. It's also one of UAA's worst deficits, since word of mouth is the university's biggest recruitment tool, according to the survey.
The sample of UAA's Office of Institutional Planning, Research and Assessment 818-student study nearly matched the student population with 58 percent of its sample being female, 76 percent white, 44 percent undeclared, 41 percent full time and 36 percent in bachelor degree programs.
Each year, the study tries to find out why students attend UAA and why they leave to go elsewhere. Along the way, it finds out a little about who the typical UAA students are and what they want from a university.
The survey showed that most students (61 percent) attended UAA after first working for some period of time and 43.6 percent began attending UAA for work related reasons and continued to work at the time of their attendance. Still, UAA has had trouble marketing and accommodating working students in their mid-20s to mid-30s, even though it is UAA's largest group.
An important strategy to the university has been to attract the “directly after high school” crowd, for which UAA has programs in place that attract press, but haven't changed the school's demographics yet.
Why do people leave UAA? The attrition rate has always been high. One-third of the respondents said they did not plan to return to UAA and another 8 percent were unsure. Many of those leaving the university are transferring to another college. Of those, half said the desired courses were not available and 38.6 percent said their preferred degree was not available. Of transfer students, 40.9 percent only wanted a bachelor's degree.
Of those not planning to return, 26.3 percent were disappointed in UAA. While this in itself is not a huge number, it is often mentioned by new freshmen who are not planning to return in the fall and is a bigger problem than unavailability of courses or programs.
Overall, less than 20 percent of the total polled said they were “very satisfied” with UAA, but over 50 percent said they were “satisfied.” Some of the students' main complaint areas were poor academic advising and poor library holdings, although administrative confusion and scheduling conflicts are also drawbacks for university students.
To meet some of the most pressing scheduling demands, such as the 36.6 percent request for evening classes, the study recommends starting to use alternative scheduling, of which the university has done very little. The survey shows support for inter-session courses (69.1 percent) and intensive, one-month courses (77.9 percent).
UAA's lack of a coherent marketing plan is also mentioned in the survey. The university's strategies are described as “haphazard.” So how does UAA get its students? Primarily through the UAA catalog (50.7 percent), word-of-mouth (44.2 percent) and the course schedule (30.6 percent). Use of mass media to advertise is described as “sporadic” and “not well targeted.” The survey said UAA “must realize the critical role of word-of-mouth” and a positive recommendation.
Comments regarding Administration:
“It's a nightmare in the Administration Building.”
About setup: “Registration is very disorganized.” “No communication.” “Don't know what they're doing.” “Wish they would work together.” “Not streamlined.” “A lot of miscommunication and incorrect information.”
About attitude: “Don't like the Accounting Office—very rude.” “Accounting and Advising sucks—not helpful, conflicting views.” “Accounting staff needs to know ABCs of dealing with public; Admissions also needs to know the same.” “Snotty Registration staff.”
“Financial system sucks. Not pleasant. Get sent from office to office –bureaucratic”
“The bureaucracy is annoying.”
“Administration is too redundant, slow, and muddled.”
“Enrollment needs to be reworked entirely. If my sister hadn't helped me, I would have been lost. Enrollment seems dependent on who you know and love, not professionalism and good service.”
Direct problems with Administration:
Name changes: “Please get my name corrected!!!” “It took semesters to get a name change completed in the system.”
Transcript evaluation: “Transcript evaluation has been going on since 1997 and still isn't resolved.” “Six months to get a transcript evaluated causes me great concern.” “Transcripts take way too long to evaluate (over nine months).”
Registration: “Registration process always screwed up. Cancelled classes two times without my knowledge.” “After I scheduled classes, they were dropped.” “Not once have I been able to register successfully any semester. Now I am corresponding via e-mail and saving information for backup. Lots of problems. If there was another program to go to, I would go immediately—but there is none. I am very dissatisfied.”
Transfer credits: “I am disappointed that similar courses were not considered for transfer. I think they are money grubbing #@$^&*&.” “Credits from a prior college didn't transfer.” “They wouldn't accept certain classes because UAA doesn't offer them—so even though they are core classes, they are on my transcript as electives.”
Profile of a UAA student:
- Bachelor's degree seeking
- Working full time or part time
- High school or GED as highest degree currently held
- Raised by both parents, neither of which held bachelor's degrees
- 20-29 years of age
- undeclared major
- Either taking “0-3 credits” or “13 and over”
- Living off campus
The Northern Light/KRUA radio category had the highest usage (60.7 percent) of any of the listed campus activities and full-time students are two times as likely to use the student newspaper and radio station. The lowest participation rate is for student clubs and student government (15.7 percent). Other activities in this category were Concerts and Other Events, Athletic Events and Recreation Center.