|February 18, 2000||Volume 7, Number 11|
Surveyed Ag. grads positive, but suggest improvements
The U of S College of Agriculture is a large operation a $24-million-per-year enterprise with 350 employees, more than 1,100 on-site students, and teaching, research and extension links to dozens of corporations and agencies around the world.
So, how can such a complex College take stock of how well its doing its job?
Well, it can carry out a comprehensive self-analysis and, in fact, its now in the midst of doing exactly that, as the first U of S college to conduct a systematic program review of its instructional programs, curriculum, faculty qualifications, and learning outcomes.
The results of that intensive review wont be known for months but the College has just made one very revealing part of that review process public.
Lyle Elmgren, the Colleges Co-ordinator of Academic Programs and Communication, says the just-released results of a fall 1999 survey of 323 BSA (Bachelor of Science in Agriculture) graduates from the five years 1995-99 show that recent students give the College a high rating.
Overall, Elmgren says, 51.4 per cent of the surveyed grads said they were "very satisfied" with the BSA program, and 47.4 per cent were "satisfied" for a 98.8 per cent approval rating.
The grads ratings for some aspects of their programs rated nearly as high, while certain facets of the program received lukewarm praise and prompted some suggestions for improvement.
"Theres a high degree of satisfaction with the program they went through," Elmgren says.
"That, and their willingness to help the College in future endeavors, shows that they have a good feeling towards it."
Dean of Agriculture Ernie Barber says the survey results, both positive and negative, will be taken into consideration as part of the thorough systematic program review which the College is currently undertaking as part of the University-level review of all academic programs.
Elmgren provides the following detailed results of the survey, conducted by Calibre Strategic Services, of Saskatoon, by telephone last Oct. 22-27 with 323 1995-99 grads, representing 51.5 per cent of the Colleges graduates in that time.
He says the surveys aim was "to determine the level of satisfaction of BSA graduates with their educational experience, to identify gaps between student expectations and what the BSA program offered, and to determine the value of the BSA program to graduates pursuing professional careers in agriculture."
Barber said this last response shows that Agriculture students developed a strong affinity to their College.
He said the students advice and suggestions will be seriously considered as the College plans for the future.
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