Students cite faculty, staff as positive influencers

Students cite faculty, staff as positive influencers

Nearly 53 percent of sophomores acknowledged one or more faculty or staff members who have positively influenced their experience at Northern Arizona University in the recently released results of a survey by the Office of Planning and Institutional Research.

More than 1,235 students participated in the 2011 Sophomore Survey, which assesses student satisfaction with the university. The full report shows that 96 percent of sophomores surveyed rated their overall experience at NAU as either good or excellent.

Conducted last spring, the survey also covered topics such as advising, registration, course availability, campus features, faculty and general academics. Students also were asked about their perceived development in certain skills.

Respondents were positive in their overall ratings of NAU:

  • Ninety-six percent rated their overall experience as either good or excellent.
  • Ninety-four percent plan to complete their bachelor’s degrees at NAU.
  • Eighty-four percent would still choose to attend NAU if they could start over.

In rating their satisfaction with academic areas, students rated three areas the highest: the challenge of their coursework, faculty availability and quality of instruction.

Other dimensions of NAU also rated high, including campus safety, opportunities for students to get involved and the university’s physical facilities.

Seven people were acknowledged eight or more times by students who called them positive influencers in their experiences at NAU: Michael Rader, a psychology faculty member for Extended Campuses; biology lecturer Sylvester AllredMaureen Fray,academic adviser for the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences; anthropology lecturer Scott Antes; biology professor David PierottiMary Solomon, academic adviser for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; and chemistry professor Jessica Vanden Plas.

Among the comments, one student said Allred “was so enthusiastic about the class, [he] made me eager to go to class.” Another student credited Solomon for having “impacted my experience positively in numerous ways, from academic advising to helping me plan my future for grad school and a career, and giving me great perspective.” And several students called Rader motivating, engaging, excellent and helpful.

In all, 650 students acknowledged one or more faculty or staff members. Read a compilation of all the student comments acknowledging their positive influencers.

A complete report of the survey results is available online.