Graduate School Survey, Spring 2021
Graduate School Survey, Spring 2021
Graduate students represent an important population in the UCCS community, with 22 masters and 8 doctoral programs. However, to date, no systematic data have been collected from graduate students about their experiences. Subsequently, the purpose of this survey was to collect data from UCCS graduate students about their experiences related to a variety of areas. The Graduate School collected this information to provide an anonymous mechanism for graduate students to make their voices heard.
Questions were generated following examination of other institutions’ graduate surveys and based on input from graduate faculty. College deans were consulted for feedback prior to distribution. Additionally, Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Institutional Research (IR) approvals were received before survey distribution.
The Spring 2021 Graduate School Survey was open from February 23, 2021 to March 17, 2021. The survey was sent via email to all enrolled graduate students (N = 1772). A total of 392 graduate students opened the survey. Of these 392 students, 391 provided informed consent, and one denied informed consent. Of these 391 students, 322 completed 100% of the survey, and 69 terminated the survey before full completion.
Thirteen broad categories were surveyed: Demographics, Overall Impressions, Faculty Advising, Climate within Graduate Program, Obstacles to Degree Completion, Financial Support, Professional Development Opportunities and Needs, Research Experiences, Teaching Experiences, Practicum Experiences, Communication, Admission Process, and Physical and Mental Health.
Overall, results are positive and encouraging. They largely suggest that UCCS graduate students have positive experiences within their program and report satisfaction in a variety of areas. We encourage a full read of the following report for more information. Additionally, frequency data for individual items are available as an Appendix.
A few areas for improvement have been identified. First, avenues for reporting concerns could be improved, with many graduate students feeling uncomfortable reporting concerns to faculty members and other campus leaders. They also reported experiencing uncertainty about who to report concerns to. Second, experiences with faculty advising varied. Many graduate students reported inconsistent relationships with their advisors that made navigating their program more difficult. Third, graduate students reported significant physical and mental health difficulties that impacted their degree progress, with stress being cited as a frequent experience. Lastly, graduate students identified several areas where they would like additional professional development support, with career planning, job searching/interviewing, and networking as the most cited areas of need.
Survey results for the entire population are posted on the Graduate School webpage. Each college and department with sufficient sample sizes (≥ 15 respondents) has received their own report with descriptive and frequency data. Please contact your college or department if you would like to receive those reports. Qualitative responses were provided to colleges and programs after removing information that might be used to identify students.
The Graduate School will explore the following areas in order to address student concerns.
- Distributing survey to colleges and departments and ask departments for 3-5 action steps.
- Posting full report on website and make announcement to programs and graduate students about availability.
- Creating additional professional development opportunities (e.g., workshops hosted by Graduate School/Career Center, community networking events, funding for additional trainings).
- Providing resources to graduate students for dealing with stress.
- Creating clear reporting structures for graduate students concerns.
- Encouraging departments to promote consistency in advising, with more regular meetings between student and advisor.
- Administering survey on an annual basis to identify ongoing areas of need and improvement.
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