Results of the 2014-2015 Needs Assessment
Campus Life fielded a needs assessment through Campus Labs with a Campus Labs-administered e-mail invitation and four follow-up e-mail reminders. We included an incentive to increase participation and completion rates. Due to very low initial participation, we reopened the study for an additional two weeks in the spring semester.
- In Field: November 11–December 13, 2014 and again February 1-15, 2015
- Population Size: 7,000
- Sample Size: 611
- Response Rate: 8.72% (a decrease of 20.66% from 2013-14)
- Completion Rate: 66.12% (a decrease of 18.38% from 2013-14)
Students identified (in order of highest percentage selected) digital advertisements in the myLSU portal, word of mouth, e-mails from specific interest groups, posters in academic halls, and social media as their most influential and most frequently sought sources of information.
- Students who are already involved on campus: 67% (up 2 percentage points)
- Students who are not involved but intend to get involved: 19.76%
- Students who are not involved and do not plan to get involved: 24% (down 5 percentage points)
- Reasons not to get involved most cited: lack of time or interest, prior academic commitments, prior commitments off-campus
- Students who have attended at least one Campus Life event or program this year: 64%
- Students who attended at least one Campus Life event or program last year: 57%
- Students who attended 1-9 programs this year increased 6.4 percentage points while students who have not attended any programs this year or in past years decreased by 6.67 percentage points.
- Students who have been involved in one of Campus Life’s six organizations this year: 30%
- Students who have been involved in one of Campus Life’s six organizations last year: 24% (Kitchens on the Geaux, Geaux BIG Baton Rouge, Volunteer LSU, Student Activities Board (SAB), Homecoming)
The number of students who participate or plan to participate in spiritual organizations is increasing among both undergraduate and first-year populations. This may reinforce LSU’s hesitance to adopt an All-Comers Policy that may have discouraged spiritual organizations not to seek registered organization status based on unintended consequences of the policy.
Results investigating level of interest in a variety of types of leadership programs remained unchanged between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 needs assessments. As a result of this feedback, and information gained at the ACPA Leadership Educators Institute, we omitted leadership questions from this year’s assessment in order to do a separate, in-depth assessment about this topic.
Students who participate in or are interested in LSU-sponsored service: 83% (up 3)
First-year students who participate in or are interested in LSU-sponsored service: 88% (down 1)
Students who participate in non-LSU-sponsored service: 19%
First-year students who participate in non-LSU-sponsored service: 7%
We should continue to market and develop programs based on the following most frequently reported reasons for participating in service programs: contribution to society, welfare of others, learn something new, meet new people, career preparation or advancement.
Student Success Outcomes (SSO)
Students were asked to identify things learned as a result of involvement and were given descriptive sentences that defined or gave an example of each student success outcome. The following findings were observed (each is a total response percentage for the SSO):
|Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Competence2||17.44%||17.50%||31.75%|
|Persistence and Academic Achievement||16.69%||14.30%||2.87%|
|Citizenship and Social Responsibility1||17.56%||9.21%||15.64%|
Perceptions of Satisfaction with and Trust in Campus Life
Grunig Relationship Inventory
We employed the Grunig Relationship Inventory to understand two of six relationship indices to help us continually cultivate relationships as well as to better investigate indirect attitudes toward a potential fee increase. The Grunig Relationship Inventory is a statistically valid instrument developed by faculty scholars, and industry leaders, at the University of Maryland and the University of Florida. This instrument focuses on long-term relationships versus short-term outputs or outcomes.
We measured students’ perceptions of satisfaction with their relationship with LSU Campus Life. Grunig et al define satisfaction as each party feeling favorably toward the other because positive expectations are reinforced through actions. Benefits are perceived to outweigh costs.
|Sentence||Net Agreement||Net Disagreement|
|“I feel people like myself are important to LSU Campus Life.”||75%||25%|
|“Both LSU Campus Life and people like myself benefit from our relationship.”||76%||24%|
|“Most people like myself are happy in their interactions with LSU Campus Life.”||78%||22%|
|“I’m pleased with the relationship LSU Campus Life has established with people like myself.”||71%||29%|
We also measured students’ perceptions of trust in LSU Campus Life. Grunig et al define trust as one party’s confidence and willingness to open oneself to the other party. We measured all three dimensions of trust Grunig et al identify: integrity, dependability, and competence.
|Sentence||Net Agreement||Net Disagreement|
|“LSU Campus Life treats people justly and fairly.”||87%||13%|
|“Sound principles seem to guide LSU Campus Life’s behavior.”||89%||11%|
|“I’m willing to let LSU Campus Life make decisions for people like myself, particularly where my $20 Campus Life fee is concerned.”||65%||35%|
|“LSU Campus Life can be relied on to keep its promises.”||84%||16%|
|“LSU Campus Life has the ability to accomplish what it says it will do.”||84%||16%|
|“I’m very confident about LSU Campus Life’s skills.”||80%||20%|
Areas of Opportunity
- A majority of students would like to see their involvement tied to topics or skills in their academic major or intended career. We should investigate ways to better bridge their classroom and involvement experiences so they feed one another, even if this is merely helping students identify transferable skills for the workplace.
- As a department, we do not place enough emphasis on graduate students, non-traditional students, and online/distance learners. These populations indicate an interest in our programs, but also report feeling that they do not know their place in the involvement dynamic. Accommodate graduate students’ unique needs and schedule availabilities, which are often very different from undergraduates’.
- In an age of constant connectedness, find innovative ways to provide involvement information, event listings, registration, and resources.
- Explore alternate assessment plans to differentiate Campus Life from the rest of LSU; Campus Life website from TigerLink and other LSU sites; and Campus Life orgs from other campus organizations.
- Only 11.11% of students use Reveille advertising and 7.65% use Reveille news coverage as a way to learn about what is happening on campus. Strategically trim back dollars and time expended with LSU Student Media. Consider reallocating to other places that return more for the time and money invested.
- Engage administrators, faculty, and staff and Academic Affairs in program delivery. Undergraduates report connection to degree program (88.84% very or moderately important), opportunity to meet faculty related to studies (81.55% very or moderately important), and opportunity to network with LSU staff and administrators (73.39% very or moderately important) as strong influences on whether a program is appealing. These percentages are even larger when looking at first-year respondents exclusively; making these positive changes now could strongly position Campus Life if this trend continues in future classes.
- While numbers of Campus Life student leaders who attended meetings, but did not join remained relatively flat, the number of students who were officers as opposed to members decreased. Conduct additional qualitative research to understand students’ reticence to increase their leadership profile. Employ inbound marketing tactics to identify and recruit strong student members into leadership roles. Target first-year students in particular as they were more likely to join versus merely attend meetings.
- Reinforce that all Campus Life programs are free (except CHANGE Break).
- Continue to build awareness of TigerLink as the one-stop-shop for all student organizations.
- Leverage early interest in involvement expressed by first-year students in their first semester. This interest and availability dramatically decreases even in the first-year student’s second semester.
- Maximize student leaders’ capacity to be ambassadors for involvement on campus. Help them have knowledge and skills to encourage peers, answer questions, and navigate TigerLink.
- Draw students into service right away to fulfill their interest in on-campus service opportunities while they have not yet become involved in off-campus service opportunities and programs.
- Focus on ways to increase word of mouth momentum among past participants and student leaders. Word of mouth continues to be the leading source of information among students, and is reinforced in industry data about the effectiveness of third-party validation and testimonials.