57°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

No Survey, No Cap and Gown

If you’re a UMB senior looking forward to commencement, you have one more chore to attend to or you won’t be able to pick up your funny hat and dress. Recently voted a mandatory graduation requirement by the Faculty Council, a completed National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is necessary to pick up your cap and gown.

The (NSSE) asks questions about every aspect of the institution, including academic, social, and recreational life on campus. According to Interim Dean of Student Affairs Angeline Lopes-Ellison, the reason for the survey is to let the university know what needs to be improved.

Student reaction to the surveys is mixed. One senior quipped, “I didn’t care; I just wanted my f*cking cap and gown.” Another outgoing student had more constructive criticism “The survey is basically useless. There should be someplace to type in comments.”

Students are asked to rate things such as their overall experience at UMass Boston, campus events and activities, and parking. Research Analyst Kevin Murphy explained that a pilot study distributed last August showed that campus activities that ranked low on the survey were the ones about which students were not well informed. Parking at the university also ranked low on the survey.

According to Murphy, making it a graduation requirement enables the university to know how all UMB seniors feel. He also says the chancellor has been active in reviewing the data collected.

Murphy explains that public, urban institutions operate differently than private, more rural schools. For example, a good portion of UMass students tend to have many responsibilities, ranging from family to work, that are above and beyond the usual carefree life a college student is expected to lead.

The Senior Survey isn’t the only one distributed by administration. A retention survey, distributed to former UMB students looks at a number of reasons why students are no longer enrolled at UMB. For example, 45% of first year students work twenty or more hours per week at UMass Boston, compared with the 12% of first year students who work twenty or more hours per week at UMass Amherst, and often find the pressure more than they need. By distributing such surveys, Murphy opines, the institution will know how to make college life a bit easier for students in the future.

To make the survey process as easy and painless as possible in the midst of the busiest time of the semester, especially for graduating seniors, there is an easy-to-access online version of the survey at http://www.umb.edu/graduating-senior/. After completing the survey, printing out a receipt and presenting it at Central Stores (UL, Quinn Building) enables seniors to receive a cap and gown quickly, as opposed to filling out the survey and then waiting in the cap and gown line.