A student-survey report was published late last week with recommendations for improving campus life.
Recommendations in the report included improving campus facilities, increasing communication between students and academic advisers and improving the use of technology in classrooms, among other issues.
The second Vision of the Ideal College Environment Report was published by the IU Student Association after nearly 19 months. It is a compilation of recommendations to administrators and student leaders based on data collected from a campus-wide survey of undergraduate students.
Recommendations in the report range from ideas such as increasing communication about co-curricular activities to “empower(ing) academic advisers to be knowledgeable about all student organizations on campus.”
Practical solutions are included in the report for recommendations, such as “increase frequency of buses at the busiest stops and expand late-evening bus schedules on critical routes.”
It builds on the bus proposal by suggesting the Bloomington Transit and Campus Bus systems combine resources to secure funding for additional resources.
Many survey respondents said they felt more academic adviser-student interaction was necessary to improve both their academic career and their collaboration with student groups on campus.
The report contains suggestions such as assigning each student one adviser who is well-versed in academic offerings their university-wide, instead of multiple advisers who specialize in one discipline.
It also suggests that advisers be familiar with student organizations on campus so they can recommend extracurricular activities.
Students are not unanimous on this point, however. Freshman Weng Ngli said her adviser emailed her about student organizations on campus, but she was not interested in joining any clubs.
On the other hand, freshmen Matt Victoria and Stephanie Hnat both said their advising experience would be greatly improved if their advisers could recommend clubs for them to join. Victoria said it is difficult to find organizations that interest him.
“You have to know someone in the group who can give you the spiel, to give you actual information,” he said.
Hnat said her adviser was unable to suggest clubs for her to join when she asked. She said even if she found one on her own, it is difficult to know after one visit whether the group will be a good fit.
“Just going to one meeting isn’t enough,” she said.
Increased use of OnCourse was a major concern for students, who said they felt their professors needed to make better use of the academic portal, especially the “gradebook” feature.
The majority of students said they are satisfied with OnCourse as an academic portal, but the report suggests that mobile availability of OnCourse needs to improve, because 92 percent of smartphone users said they accessed the portal on their phones in the last month.
“I think it’s nice having everything in one location,” Victoria said. “Everything is more accessible.”
IUSA Senior Adviser Jarad Winget predicted the recommendations will be implemented during the next three to five years.
However, Winget and IUSA Chief of Staff Augustin Ruta agreed IUSA would not be in charge of execution. Rather, they have taken charge of distributing the report to those who might execute the changes they have recommended.
IUSA is presenting the entire report to everyone, instead of selecting specific sections they feel are relevant to each group or individual. Winget said they are not selecting individuals to lead the implementation of each recommendation.
“It would be a little presumptuous of us to think that we could form a committee who would be the ones responsible for it,” Winget said.
However, with 75 pages of recommendations to sift through, it may take more time on the part of campus leaders to find information that applies to their work.
For example, the technology section of the report appears second in the five sections represented, but the suggestion to improve the connectivity of IU Secure does not appear until page 30. Since there is only a select group of people who can work on this issue, it is necessary for that select group to be made aware of the paragraph that says 57 percent of respondents rated Wi-Fi connectivity on campus as “average” or below.
“IUSA is not running an implementation committee,” Ruta said. “We’ve taken our best time to make sure that we’ve conveyed the things that students want from their college experience. With that in mind, we understand that these recommendations should be implemented because they’re market-driven, they’re student-driven.”