Many students may have checked their Donsmail recently and found an email about the University of San Francisco Student Survey. Student surveys have been ignored or relocated into the trash or junk folder of many student mailboxes in the past. However that does not seem to be the case with this particular survey. This is due to the potentially positive effect and attractive incentives that students have to take the survey. Some of these incentives include the possibility of winning a flat screen TV, three iPod shuffles and a dorm refrigerator stocked with Red Bull.
The student survey is a national survey entitled the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership. The survey was first conducted three years ago and over 80 universities participated. USF was invited in 2008 to participate and accepted the invitation. The Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership was formulated by well-known experts in the field of leadership and is based on the Social Change Model of Leadership according to the Higher Education Research Institute. Several universities such as USF, UC Berkeley, and Loyola Marymount incorporate the social change model into University activities. Many USF leadership programs or communities, such as the Magis Leadership Program or the Esther Madriz Diversity Scholars, focus on the Social Change Model of Leadership. Junior Candice Caldera, who was co-president of the Esther Madriz Diversity Scholars in spring of 2008, said, “The Social Change Model teaches that leadership is a process and not a position and promotes the value of personal empowerment, collaboration, citizenship, and service.”
When asked her opinion of the survey, Caldera said, “I believe that the survey will monitor what types of students get involved and why other students choose not to be involved with campus life. Does the race of the student play a factor? How about the workload from major to major? These are important questions that the survey will be able to answer. I really hope that a lot of students participate because it will allow the administration to design programs based on the needs of the students.”
The survey was initiated by Student Leadership and Engagement and supported by the Division of University Life and the USF Assessment Committee. Greg Wolcott, Director of Student Leadership and Engagement, said, “We hope the results of the survey will help voice students’ opinions about what they want to see on campus in terms of leadership, programming, and involvement opportunities. Furthermore, there are questions on the survey that will help us gauge other factors such as what is the best day and time to offer programs, students’ work load, how students rate social climate, and more.” The survey takes about 20 minutes to complete. Wolcott said “It is our hope that every student who is invited to take the survey will take it. A strong response rate will speak loudly about what students want to see on our campus.”
The survey is broken down into six sections: perceptions before enrolling in college, experiences in college, assessing your growth, thinking about yourself, your college climate, and background information. Junior Ramsey Hanna said, “I liked the survey because it made me look back at how I was before college and how I am now. The survey made me ponder how much I have changed since being in college.” When asked why he decided to participate in the survey, Hanna answered, “Well I wanted to help the school get an understanding of what the students think about the University. Plus, the prizes being offered are awesome.”
Every student that completes the survey is entered into a campus raffle to win one of the many prizes. The prizes include a dorm room refrigerator stocked full of Red Bull, a flat screen TV, a CD/Stereo System, three iPod shuffles, one iPod, a $50 gift card to Best Buy, 5 paintball passes, and 30 USF gear packages from the bookstore.
USF is also offering sports tickets to survey participants. A few students will win two tickets to the April 9 NHL game between the San Jose Sharks and Phoenix Coyotes, four tickets to see the April 13 NBA game between the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, and two tickets to the April 27 MLB game between the San Francisco Giants and National League West Champions the Los Angeles Dodgers. Students will also be eligible for $5,000 in national prizes. This includes drawings for gift cards, specifically two $500 cards, 10 cards at $250, and 15 cards at $100.
The plethora of prizes being offered indicates how important the University views this survey. Wolcott said, “Based on the results, the university will shape programs and services to better meet the needs of our students. In addition, the results will provide us comparative data with other institutions, including Jesuit institutions, and therefore help us determine best practices in the field of leadership.” Some results from the survey will be made public in regards to the improvement of existing campus programs and services. Nonetheless, all responses will be kept confidential.
This is the first year that the university has been selected to participate in the nationwide survey. Student participation in this survey will likely determine whether USF will be able to utilize the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership survey in the future. The survey will be available in the Donsmail account of the 4,000 students selected to participate. The deadline to submit the survey is Friday, Mar. 20.