Services by StudentPerceptions of Students in MSA Courses

Perceptions of Administrative and Academic Support Services by Students Taking Courses in the Master of Science in Administration Program

Abstract
This paper focuses on the analysis of empirical data relating to the perceptions of students currently enrolled in courses offered in the Masters of Science in Administration (MSA) program at Saint Michaels College (SMC) in Winooski, Vermont. A survey was designed and administered to 95 students in an effort to capture their perception of the quality of academic and administrative support services available to graduate students. Specific attention was given to the areas of enrollment services, financial services, library services and advising. The subjects generally rated these services somewhere between average and excellent. Comments written-in by subjects provide information that can be used to improve the students experience with various MSA Program services.
Perceptions of Administrative and Academic Support Services by Students Taking Courses in the Master of Science in Administration Program at Saint Michaels College
Customer perception surveys are a means of measuring how customers rate their experience with products or services. The result is a quantitative measure of their levels of satisfaction. By repeating the survey at regular intervals, it can be determined whether customers’ perceptions are improving or deteriorating. Based on this information, changes can be made in services and marketing strategies. By later repeating the study, it can be determined how effective the changes have been in improving how a customer rates their experience.

In an interview with Paul Olsen, Associate Director, Master of Science in Administration Program, we learned that the MSA program has not conducted a survey of students enrolled in the program to identify levels of satisfaction with services and programs offered. There has been one formal survey of alumni, completed in the spring of 1996 by SMC undergraduates in a Research Methods class (See Appendix D). This survey was conducted to gather information pertaining to overall satisfaction with the graduate program, whether the alumnis goals and objectives had been met, and demographic data on program alumni.
Our team believes that a survey of students currently taking MSA program course could provide information that would be tremendously helpful in assisting the college to assess the efficiency and quality of its services. Our operating premise is that an individuals
first experience with an organization has a direct impact on their long-term impressions and overall senses of connectedness. Therefore, as part of our survey we chose to investigate the experience graduate students have during their first interactions with Saint Michaels College, specifically logistics such as enrolling, scheduling, paying tuition, and obtaining parking permits and student ID cards. Further, we wished to investigate the accessibility, relevance, and usefulness of services such as the library, information technology, and academic advising that are likely to be encountered by the student over the length of their time as a student in the MSA Program.
Method
Participants
Participants were 95 students enrolled in 10 of the 18 GSA (Graduate Studies in Administration) courses in session during the last week of March and first week of April 2002.
Materials
The tool used was a three-page survey consisting of 7 sections and containing 25 questions (see Appendix C). Sections contained the following categorical headings, Demographic Information, Course/Program Choice Information, Enrollment Services, Financial Issues, Library Services, Advisory Issues, and Feedback.
Design and Procedure
In designing the survey, the first step was to identify the type of information we were seeking, from whom would it be obtained, how would it be gathered, and finally, how would it be most easily analyzed. Our next step was to decide on specific questions. Members of our team interviewed fellow graduate students, recent alumni, and faculty/advisors, in person and via email to assist us in identifying the program as services most likely to be experienced by the majority of students taking even a single MSA course.
A survey was designed which incorporates a variety of formats, including open-ended questions; close ended questions, and a five-point scale.
A schedule of class schedules for the current semester (Spring 2002) was reviewed, and assignments to administer the surveys to students in these classes were divided among the team. Each member of our team conveyed the

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