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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento

February 24, 2004

Survey shows grad student satisfaction

CSUS graduate students are generally happy with their programs and the academic advising they received from faculty, and say they developed marketable skills, according to the first year of surveys conducted by the graduate studies office.

Overall, 89 percent of respondents said their program had done an "excellent" or "good" job of helping them acquire in-depth knowledge of their field. Fully 86 percent said the same about the availability of academic advising, while 80 percent were happy with the quality of academic advising.

As far as developing marketable skills, 86 percent said their program had been "excellent" or "good."
On the flip side, those surveyed were less happy with the availability of internships, scheduling of classes and opportunities to explore new research methods. While 78 percent said internship opportunities were "excellent" or "good," 9 percent said they were "poor"-the most negative ratings in the nine questions about academics.
The question with the most "excellent" ratings, 56 percent, was about the responsiveness of thesis/project committee members.

"We wanted a better understanding of the perception of grad student experience here," says Miki Vohryzek-Bolden, associate dean of graduate studies. "Anecdotally, we had some good information, but we wanted to start gathering some broader survey data."

The office surveyed students who were in the graduate office to get thesis/project paperwork signed. Because some graduate students opt to take a comprehensive exam or don't have a thesis requirement, the sample isn't complete. But it has given the graduate studies office valuable information about graduate students and its own operations.

"This will give us an idea of areas that we need to take a look at improving, and an acknowledgement of our strengths," Vohryzek-Bolden says.

The survey was taken in the fall of 2002 and the spring and summer of 2003. In addition to questions about their academic programs, it asked about their work lives and prior education.

Of those responding, 41 percent had received their undergraduate degree at CSUS, and 61 percent were attending full time. The largest age group, 31 percent, was 26-30, followed by the 31-35 age group which made up 23 percent of respondents.

Just 18 percent had enrolled as graduate students immediately after completing an undergraduate degree.
Vohryzek-Bolden says the office plans to continue administering the survey, and results will help improve programs to make graduate students feel more welcome on campus.

For instance, this year the office hosted its fourth annual graduate student orientation. The office is also working on new support programs for graduate students, particularly in writing the thesis.

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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu
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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu