At CCU, Institutional Research Matters!
At California Coast University, we place a high value on institutional research. For this, we gather information in a variety of ways and use it to improve the quality and delivery of our educational programming. We distribute surveys to our students, graduates, faculty, and advisory council members. We review examination scores and course grades, graduation rates, individual test item scores, etc. We then take this data, analyze it, and apply it as we revise and seek to improve our programs and to enrich the educational experiences of our students. Some of the ways we conduct research includes:
Students complete course surveys at the end of each course - telling us about their experiences with the course. For this, they answer questions about the course content; the value they found in faculty feedback; whether they like the textbook or not; and the usefulness and application of the course information.
For program surveys, graduates answer questions about their overall impressions of their programs; any thoughts they have on ways to improve the program; if the program met their original goals and added value to their careers; and whether they would recommend their studies to a friend, etc.
Student Satisfaction Surveys:
We also have Student Satisfaction Surveys that students may complete at any time throughout their programs. For this, they tell us their thoughts, overall impressions, concerns, or value they have regarding courses, staff, or facult.
Besides students, we survey our faculty about their impressions of individual courses and/or overall programs, the University’s policies, systems, information technology, accreditation, etc. In addition, we ask faculty to complete surveys regarding course and program objectives. Finally, we ask faculty to give us their recommendations for changes to improve courses, programs, and resources.
Advisory Council Surveys:
In addition to faculty, we have active Advisory Councils for each of the schools at California Coast University. The Advisory Councils are comprised of professionals working in their respective fields related to the educational programs we offer – i.e. business, criminal justice, psychology, and education, etc. Throughout the year, each of the Advisory Council members complete various surveys related to their fields. For those, we ask them to review courses, programs, and resources. For example, the Advisory Council members recently reviewed professional development resources we’ve added to the student portal. They provided feedback on the various resources and the overall value they found. Their input is a vital link to many of the fields our students and graduates are working in and help us stay current with industry conditions and future trends.
In addition to the research noted here, we also use internal data systems for quality improvement purposes. These include analysis for individual test items and overall grade distribution to measure student achievement. We look at pre and post-test data to see how well a student improves their knowledge of a particular subject from the start of a course to the finish. We measure a sampling of individual questions called embedded assessments that allow us to measure how students do in terms of correctly answering specific questions and demonstrating they have an understanding of course material and concepts. This data helps us to choose and refine course content, test items, writing assignment selections, and to align examinations and assignments with the course and program objectives.
In closing, we hope this gives you some idea about the many ways we gather information, the research we conduct, and how we apply the findings from our research to improve and evolve our educational programming. So remember, the next time you are asked to complete a survey about your course or program, the feedback you give helps to shape and improve the educational programming for yourself and others