Survey to examine time required to graduate

By Wendy Arquilla

After a failed attempt to determine why it takes NIU undergraduates longer than four years to graduate, a new survey will be circulating among a cross-section of undergraduates to help determine the problem.

Previously, the Provost’s Assessment Office gave a survey to NIU alumni. The office asked those surveyed if it took them more than four years to graduate, and why it took that amount of time.

The results of the survey reported that those who took more than four years did so by choice.

The survey came under lots of criticism from NIU students and faculty. It was accused as being unscientific, highly selective and designed to reflect the beliefs of the administration.

In response, the Student Association and the Provost’s Office have developed a new survey to better understand the views of undergraduates on the subjects of graduation and advising.

“When the results of the last survey were released, current students did not feel it reflected their concerns,” said Ruth Gold, assessment coordinator in the Provost’s Assessment Office.

Gold said although the main concern of the survey is time of graduation, another large concern of the survey is the current system of student advising.

Students will be asked to evaluate the current system of faculty members advising students to decide whether the system should continue or be replaced.

She said to improve the survey, a cross-section of current NIU undergraduates will be polled. They will include students in off-campus housing and residence halls as well as students in categories of 0-30 hours, 30-60 hours, 60-90 hours, 90-120 hours and undergraduates with more than 120 hours.

The undergraduates also equally will represent all six of the undergraduate colleges.

“We are urging all those polled to participate fully because it’s important for NIU students to express their opinion and help to improve the school as well as their experience here at NIU.