Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career, and Higher Education

Major Professor

Donald A. Dellow, Ed.D.

Keywords

Customer service, Measurement, Service quality, Student opinions, Institutional effectiveness

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine undergraduate student satisfaction with college services and environment at a large southeastern doctoral/research extensive university (target university), with the long-term intent of minimizing detractors to providing exceptional service quality, positively influencing customer satisfaction, and building loyalty intentions among students. The ACT Student Opinion Survey (ACT, Inc.) was used to find the level of student satisfaction with the college services and environment. A stratified random sample of 468 undergraduate students responded to the survey. Three research questions guided the investigation. The study examined the general level of satisfaction with the support services, compared satisfaction levels to those of similar institutions of higher education, and examined whether satisfaction varied based on a student's age, gender, or ethnicity.

Two-tailed t-tests showed significant differences in the mean satisfaction scores of the target university and ACT national norms, and one-way ANOVAs indicated significant differences based on a student's age, gender, and ethnicity. The results indicated that students were satisfied with the library, and dissatisfied with parking and course availability at the target university. Students were significantly less satisfied with one-fifth of all support services and all the environmental categories, but significantly more satisfied with their library than those in the ACT national norm. A relatively small number of significant differences existed in student satisfaction with the college services and environment based on a student's age, gender, or ethnicity. Of the nearly 200 ANOVA analysis conducted to explore this research question, only 11 showed significant differences, and in almost every case, the differences were small.

Specific student comments regarding campus parking, advising, class availability, facilities, and staff deportment are provided. The results of the study create an awareness of student needs and offer useful feedback to college administrators and institutional planners in their efforts to improve service quality in higher education.

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