Student Focus Groups
were held on Tuesday, February 25 and Wednesday, March 5, 2014. Each group was held from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m.
with lunch being provided.
A total of 18 students
participated in the two groups (11 on 2/25 and 7 on 3/5.) Gender was equally represented with a total
of nine women and nine men participating when the two group numbers are
- When asked how they decided to come to
Glen Oaks, most students did cite location and costs as playing a role in the
decision. (“Cheaper than a University.”) One student stated that she did it for
her four children; she wants to better herself and increase her income. However, some (one third of the total) came
because they had been recruited to participate on an athletic team. Others sited positive reputation-such as the
medical programs at Glen Oaks.
- On the question “if you had it to do
again would you still come?” over 70% of students said “Yes,” and mentioned
issues such as convenience. On the
downside, one student said, he would still come, but “I would want to be more
prepared for non-academic stuff such as driving to the country on bad winter
- The majority of students stated that
they did know what they
wanted to study when they arrived at Glen Oaks. (Over 60% of the first group.)
- When asked how advisors helped, students
reported primarily positive interactions.
Some felt that some staff in one division of Student Services did not
display a high level of customer service, while other staff received high
marks. One commented that Student
Services was a “small, friendly environment” and another stated that staff were
“nice and polite.”
- Students were asked what they would
change in Student Services. Many stated
they would change nothing, however, some staff were cited for not being
friendly and for making students feel uncomfortable. Specific issues with specific personnel were
noted for follow-up. However, all
students in the March group (100%) stated that they “did not have a single
problem in the [Student Services] Office.
- Most students agreed that Advising
should be a requirement for all students (90%).
They felt that this would keep students on track and help student
identify any issues that might be complicating their educational plans. One student suggested that not all advisors
were up to date with requirements, and at least one student stated that
students should create their own class schedules.
- There were mixed results on the
question, “Were you able to get the classes you want?” Nearly 40% of the
students in Focus Group I reported trouble with obtaining needed classes. The athletes stated that it is a struggle to
schedule classes with the restrictions placed on them for practices and travel. One other student stated that she did not want
to be forced to take on-line classes.
Students in the March 5th group all agreed that there should
be more classes, majors and minors available.
On their “wish list” of classes they would like to take as a release
from the pressure of required coursework was glass blowing, culinary arts,
ceramics and painting.
- We asked the Group why students
drop-out. They said: Life; kids and
family; Partying and drugs; Financial (4) and time management; [They] don’t
like class or teacher; Come to get the financial aid-get the check then leave.
- Responses to the question, “What can
Glen Oaks do to help students stay and complete their programs?”
- Reach out more-find out what their
issues are and try to help,
- Use Student Ambassadors to reach out,
- Child care on campus,
- More support for students,
- Set up a peer mentoring program,
- Create more of a support network,
- Help students know where to go if they
- Support from both advisors and teachers,
- Can’t control what happens, just “man
up” to the situation/ self-responsibilite
- We asked how we might best contact
students with the news about Pending Aid.
They said: Send text messages;
send emails; put up posters; advertise in the class scheduler; create brochures
for students; talk to students.
- Other areas of concern for students
- Student Activities: Not enough activities are offered for students
who are here in the evenings; too many events are provided between 11 a.m. and
1 p.m. Glen Oaks needs more intermural
- Faculty: Some faculty let students out early and don’t
teach materials, telling them they can Google the information; Faculty adjust grades for some and are too
involved in student’s lives; one
instructor puts athletes in a different room for testing and does not monitor
them; For certain teachers you have to be a girl or get along with them to get
a good grade in the class; Some teachers share their personal lives in class
instead of teaching, show up extremely late, or carelessly let their students
leave and do what they want; Some teachers do not follow curriculum and allow
some students to slide by or make up assignments/tests that are supposed to be
zero if missed without an emergency excuse; Why are teachers requiring books
when students learn that books are no longer used for the class – and the
Bookstore won’t take them back; Some faculty don’t seem prepared to teach; Some
faculty are docking students if late for class, but clocks in the building all
show different times.
- Bookstore: Bookstore staff not always user friendly;
Policies about returning book on same day is unfair; Books are too expensive in
the Bookstore; Should not charge students a restocking fee, especially if
faculty are requiring a book that is no longer necessary.
- Food Service: Need to have a different menu; Time for lunch
needs to be longer; there is always a huge, long line for the Café and not a
lot of time to eat; Need a salad bar, more variety; Offer a salad bar and feed
between 4 – 6 p.m. What about Yoder’s?
- Academics: Add more programs to be competitive with area
colleges. Maybe add biology/other
sciences that can help lead to medical careers.
Add more programs, like vet tech/assistant. More programs, specific office jobs,
ultra-sound technician, more specialized, career tech
We look forward to the
next round of Groups.
Appreciation to Leanne
Barnell, Hannah Fries, Tracy Labadie, Tom Dobberteen, Annie Webster, and Sandra
Bellaire for their assistance.