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Student Focus Group Results


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 combined.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 roads."
  3. 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.)
  4.  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.” 
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 are struggling,
    • Support from both advisors and teachers,
    • Can’t control what happens, just “man up” to the situation/ self-responsibilite
  10. 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.
  11. Other areas of concern for students were:
    1. 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 sports.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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?
    5. 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.