Results from online surveys – done in fall 2005 as part of UNMC's comprehensive self-study for reaccreditation by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) – provide a glimpse into the perceptions faculty, staff and students have of UNMC's strengths and opportunities.
Each of the faculty, staff and student surveys focused on the five Higher Learning Commission criteria and their "core components," which are critical to meeting the accreditation standards:
- Mission and integrity in carrying out its mission.
- Preparing for the future.
- Student learning and effective teaching.
- Research and a life of learning.
- Community engagement and service.
Each survey asked faculty, staff and students to provide their impressions of UNMC's strengths and unmet needs. Participants were asked to respond to each statement using one of five responses ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree.
Overall, responses from all three groups were very positive with many similarities among faculty and staff responses. In addition, with support from the chancellor, six statements have been selected by the executive and steering committees for further examination and comment by UNMC deans and directors.
With a 77.4 percent response rate, 602 UNMC faculty members indicated a general agreement with the 23 statements. The great majority of faculty agreed that:
- UNMC's mission is clear (90.4 percent);
- UNMC realistically prepares for a future shaped by multiple trends (81.1 percent).
- UNMC promotes faculty, staff and student learning across the institution (80.6 percent).
- UNMC demonstrates that it values research (91.1 percent).
- UNMC has a commitment to engage with constituencies and communities (78.4 percent).
Although agreement was lowest for the statement that evaluation and assessment guide institutional strategies for improvement in their unit, the overall response was still largely positive (58.1 percent). The following three statements also showed lower agreement levels with about six out of 10 faculty members agreeing:
- UNMC administrative structures promote effective leadership (61 percent);
- UNMC internal decision-making processes promote participation and support collaboration (62.5 percent); and
- UNMC learns from its constituencies to determine their needs (65.8 percent).
Responses by UNMC staff members were quite similar to those of UNMC faculty. Of the 1,755 completed surveys – which account for a 70 percent response rate - the majority agreed that UNMC demonstrates it values research. Almost nine out of 10 responding staff agreed that UNMC's mission is clear (89.9 percent).
There also was strong agreement with such statements as:
- UNMC upholds and protects its integrity as an institution dedicated to social good (89.4 percent).
- UNMC mission statement recognizes the diversity of its learners, constituencies and society (87.8 percent).
- UNMC promotes faculty, staff and student learning across the institution (82 percent).
As with faculty, responding staff agreement was lowest for the statement that evaluation and assessment processes guide strategies for improvement in their units (54.6 percent).
The vast majority of the 1,146 student respondents (a 60.8 percent response rate) agreed with the 23 survey statements. In fact, 14 of the 23 items had agreement levels of 90 percent or higher, and one statement - UNMC demonstrates that it values research - had almost universal agreement (96.7 percent).
Student agreement was lowest (still 71.9 percent) for the statement: Results from course evaluations and assessments guide strategies for improvement in my educational program and teaching.
"Overall, however, student responses validated that UNMC is doing a good job with learning and effective teaching," Dr. Benson said.