HIGH Student Satisfaction
Customer Satisfaction: How Farmington Students Feel About Their College Experience
In the most recent report by the National Survey of Student Engagement (which was profiled in USA Today) University of Maine at Farmington first-year (freshman) students and seniors view the institution in a positive light, overall.
In fact, in many key areas students report a level of engagement that is higher than that found at many Carnegie Peer Institutions.
Their level of satisfaction is high too — 83% of our first-year students describe their "entire educational experience" as "good or excellent" (on par with Carnegie peer institutions). Our seniors express a very high level of satisfaction, too; 88% of Farmington seniors describe their "entire educational experience" as "good or excellent" (slightly higher than the 86% at Carnegie peer institutions).
Level of Academic Challenge
Our first-year students give Farmington high marks on the Level of Academic Challenge. Even as early as their freshman year, Farmington students see their professors as devoted, experienced teachers who offer challenging and meaningful courses.
Academic rigor and a faculty focus on teaching have long been Farmington hallmarks, and our first-year students appreciate that commitment. Indeed, they rise to that challenge; for example, 84% report working "often or very often" on papers that required integrating ideas (significantly higher than the 78% at Carnegie peer institutions).
Our senior students report that our commitment to academic rigor extends throughout their academic career at Farmington. After four years, 89% report working "often or very often" on papers that required integrating ideas (slightly above the 88% at Carnegie peer schools).
Active and Collaborative Learning
Farmington students are actively engaged in their coursework. Indeed, Farmington's Active and Collaborative Learning rating demonstrates that the University is on a par with our Carnegie peer institutions in this area. Because of small class sizes, Farmington students are active and engaged participants in the learning process. Many work closely with faculty on undergraduate research projects and service-learning projects.
When asked how engaged they are in their classes, 72% of our first-year students report they "asked questions in class or contributed to class discussions often or very often" (much higher than the 61% at Carnegie peer schools). As seniors, Farmington students feel they are even more empowered to actively participate in class; 88% report they "asked questions in class or contributed to class discussions often or very often" (significantly higher than the 79% at Carnegie peer schools).
Farmington students take full advantage of their opportunities to meet with professors outside of the classroom. Our enviable 15-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio encourages this close interaction; even outside of the classroom, our faculty encourage students to stay in touch — 81% of our first-year students report "using e-mail to communicate with an instructor" (higher than the 77% at Carnegie peer schools).
What's more, at 90%, Farmington seniors report an even higher level of interaction with their professors (also higher than the 86% seniors report at Carnegie peer institutions).
Enriching Educational Experiences
Our first-year students acknowledge the wide variety of opportunities available to them (61% participate in co-curricular activities their first year on campus, compared to 57% at Carnegie peer institutions). Our seniors continue this tradition by making their presence felt off campus as well (80% are involved in practicums, internships, field experiences or clinical assignments — the same percentage as at our Carnegie peer schools).
One concern does arise, however. Given Farmington's location, the percent of first-year students who report they have opportunities to interact with students from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds is lower than at a number of Carnegie peer institutions (29% vs. 46%). We have responded to this challenge by engaging students in internships, practica, and volunteer activities (service-learning) in highly diverse settings and by sponsoring an array of international travel courses. As a result, the benchmark scores for our seniors are slightly higher than the averages nationally and at Carnegie peer institutions.
In addition, 51% of our first-year students report they had "serious conversations with students who are very different from [them] in terms of their religious beliefs, political opinions, or personal values" (comparable to the 50% of first-year students at Carnegie peer institutions). Farmington seniors also report experiencing this type of social diversity more than do seniors at Carnegie peer schools (57% vs. 53%).
Supportive Campus Environment
Our first-year students believe Farmington provides a Supportive Campus Environment. Farmington has long been known as an institution that offers students a rich academic environment and broad mix of support programs to help them succeed. Our small campus size and accepting atmosphere allow students to forge supportive relationships with their professors and with other students. In fact, 92% of our first-year students report that their professors are "available, helpful, and sympathetic" (compared to 91% at Carnegie peer schools). Almost the same percent (93%) report that Farmington students are "friendly and supportive" (slightly higher than the 90% at Carnegie peer institutions).
The results from Farmington seniors are even higher: 98% of our seniors report that their professors are "available, helpful, and sympathetic" (compared to 93% reported at Carnegie peer schools).