Poll offers insight

Class of 2012 mostly pleased with overall Queen’s University experience, survey shows

The latest Queen’s Exit Poll shows that most students are satisfied with their Queen’s experience, though some variations in responses exist among faculties.

The Exit Poll surveyed members of the graduating students of the class of 2012 in fall 2011. It was presented to the Queen’s Board of Trustees on May 4.

The survey’s two “anchor statements” asked students whether they agreed that “Overall, my experience as a student at Queen’s was excellent” and “Overall, my Queen’s education was an excellent contributor to my learning and development.”

Students were given the option of responding with strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree and strongly agree.

In terms of overall experience, 80 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their Queen’s experience was excellent, though these percentages varied across faculties, ranging from 67 per cent in Education and Concurrent Education, to 92 per cent in Commerce.

Stephen Elliott, dean of the Faculty of Education, told the Journal via email that he thinks the structure of the Bachelor of Education program could have something to do with the results. Concurrent Education students complete courses in education while they simultaneously work toward an honours degree in Arts and Science, Music or Computing, while prospective Consecutive Education students apply to enter Queen’s Bachelor of Education program following undergraduate study either at Queen’s or at other schools.

“In 2012 the Education academic program was thirty-two weeks long with fourteen of those weeks spent away from the university on school placements in elementary and secondary schools across the Province,” he said. “It can be difficult to become part of the Queen’s community in such a short time on campus.”

He added that since the survey was taken in the fall, Education students — those who didn’t obtain their initial undergraduate degree from Queen’s — only had two months of experience to base their responses on.

The results for the second question were similar — a difference in strong satisfaction rates of at least 20 per cent between those most satisfied, Arts and Science, and those least, Education and Concurrent Education students.

The online survey asks a series of other questions mostly concerned with the student experience at Queen’s.

“We sent all graduating undergraduate students in the degree programs indicated in the Poll results an email in late October explaining what the Poll was and inviting them to participate in the 2012 Poll,” Rebecca Coupland of the Registrar’s office told the Journal via email.

Queen’s attempted to raise poll participation by administering the survey in the fall term of 2011 as opposed to the traditional date during the winter term in 2012. The average participation rate across faculties was 25 per cent, which is similar to participation rates in 2011 and 2010.

Teresa Alm, University Registrar, told the Journal via email that the Exit Poll provides the University with information about trends, allows them to gauge their progress towards goals and helps them devise new projects and plans.

“We are pleased with the student’s satisfaction with experience at Queen’s, and the high level of support students receive from instructors, as well as the level of satisfaction with library services and athletic and recreation facilities,” she said. “There was a decline in satisfaction with some services, however, there have also been investments made in such areas as personal counseling services and in registration services with adjustments and improvements made to SOLUS.”

Exit poll highlights

- Concurrent Education and Education students are most likely to acquire debt, at 81 per cent and 79 per cent respectively. Law students’ debt tends to be the highest, though, with 53 per cent claiming debt in at and in excess of $50,000.

- 61 per cent of students polled across faculties agreed or strongly agreed that marking and exams were fair.

- 58 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they were generally able to enroll in their desired courses. Since 2005 the percentage of students able to enroll in the courses they want has declined from 72 per cent.

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