Students Give NDNU an “A” for Academics and Advising

Belmont, CA, May 26, 2009 — Notre Dame de Namur University students gave their school high marks for academics and advising in a student satisfaction survey conducted during the spring semester. The Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) measures what aspects of the college experience are important to our students, how well we are living up to their expectations, and how their opinions compare to that of students at other national and private four-year colleges and universities. A total of 389 students, 27.2% percent of the student body, completed the survey; the average national response rate for the SSI is 20-30%.

The SSI asks students to rate the importance of college choice factors, such as academic advising, instructional effectiveness, campus safety and security, and student centeredness, as well as their satisfaction with these factors, on a scale of one to seven. NDNU students expressed a great satisfaction with academic advising, answering with higher numbers compared to other nation four-year private schools on topics including advisor availability, knowledge, and assistance with goal-setting. Students also noted that they found course content within their majors to be very valuable, and the quality of the classroom instruction to be excellent. Other strengths reflected in the survey results include the safety of the campus, the freedom to express their ideas on campus, and the welcoming, non-discriminatory atmosphere.

“Our students indicated a number of institutional strengths in which academic advising and quality of instruction came out strong, which is similar to how we faired with the national comparison,” said Hernan Bucheli, Vice President for Enrollment Management, in a recent memo to the NDNU community. “In addition, our students described campus staff as ‘caring and helpful’. This speaks to the mission of NDNU and the Sisters of Notre Dame (SND) , hallmarks we strive to achieve while serving our students.”

The survey also highlights areas in which students reported lower satisfaction compared to other national four-year private schools. Some student-identified challenges were financial; high tuition and the amount and timeliness of financial aid.

Bucheli noted that NDNU is already making changes in some of the areas identified by the students including financial aid. “This year our financial aid staff worked diligently to make sure returning students in the fall had received a financial aid package before leaving for the summer.” He also noted that while tuition has continued to increase in recent years, “NDNU is still one of the least costly private four year institutions in the Bay Area.”

NDNU will address the challenges and capitalize on the strengths raised by its students by sharing the survey results with the division/department heads, and create committees/tasks to work on these areas, and capitalize on the university’s strengths. Already, the Advising Task Force has received a detailed report of the SSI, and will make a recommendation to the Provost regarding academic advising.