Columbia’s Institutional Research Department has three areas of responsibility:
- To gather, organize, analyze and report on a broad base of decisions supporting information pertaining to the management of the College’s academic quality and effectiveness as an educational institution. This information base is called the Columbia College Customer Satisfaction System (CSS).
- To develop and implement the College’s Adult Learning Outcomes Assessment (ALOA) and assist in the development of plans for using ALOA findings to improve programs and services to students, employers, and the communities served by Columbia College.
- To provide technical and scientific decision-support to meet the College’s internal and external requirements for information about its services, markets and program development needs.
Columbia College’s Customer Satisfaction System (CSS)
The system for assessing and managing the quality of educational processes as well as providing feedback for the improvement of those processes is known as the Columbia College Customer Satisfaction System (CSS). The CSS consists of a group of instruments and measures designed to monitor the educational systems involving student, faculty, curricular, and administrative services. Information from the CSS is most often used formatively for assessing quality and compliance, performing interim program diagnoses, evaluating faculty adherence to program standards and practices, and making resource decisions.
The CSS is comprised of the following three components:
Enrolled Student Satisfaction Survey
Students in all courses complete program satisfaction surveys which focus on student satisfaction with educational delivery, educational content, administrative, and environmental support. These measures are of significant value in diagnosing how well each component of the College’s teaching/learning model is functioning in the service of student needs.
Student Comment System
Students are asked in each program satisfaction survey to provide specific comments, in their own words, about faculty, curriculum, College services, or any other educational matter of concern. Both theory and practical experiences suggest that these comments are a particularly valuable source of information for evaluating programs and services. The Enrolled Student Program Satisfaction Survey provides valuable short-term indicators of educational impact.
Faculty Grading Practices
The accurate and fair evaluation of student academic performance is an important attribute of an effective educational program. Accordingly, measures of grade variance are reviewed by each program, for individual faculty members, as elements of feedback for self-improvement and compliance with College standards of good practice.
Internal Customer (Staff/Facilitators) Satisfaction Survey
To effectively and efficiently meet the needs of students, College departments must support each other with efficiency and quality. The Internal Customer Satisfaction Survey (ICSS) assesses interdepartmental service quality and reports the results College-wide for the purposes of self-improvement.
Adult Learning Outcomes Assessment Project (ALOA)
Graduate Satisfaction Survey
This alumni survey explores the quality and impact of the students’ educational experiences on current professional performance.
Employer Satisfaction Survey
The unique mission of Columbia College to serve adult students requires that assessment be carried to the workplace. The employer satisfaction survey assesses and explores the organizational and economic impact of education. Employers are surveyed to obtain an impartial, long term view of the educational needs of employees and of the impact the College’s educational programs have on meeting workplace needs.
Faculty Satisfaction Survey
This survey assesses the nature and scope of instructors’ satisfaction as it relates to the College. Through surveys and interviews, faculty critically appraise the institutional structures designed to ensure faculty input in matters that affect them.
Uses of Information Gained Through the ALOA and CSS
The College uses information gained from all components of ALOA and CSS to improve the effectiveness of its curricula and teaching methods. Information learned from institutional research contributes directly to the value of Columbia College programs through improved program design and through its growing reputation for excellence. A further objective of Columbia’s Institutional Research is the communication of knowledge gained from ALOA and other research-based activities to advance general understanding of adult learning needs and programs.
General Research Activities
The department conducts special studies on academic policy, program and organizational effectiveness, and marketing issues as needed to support institutional decision making. The department also provides research support and consultation to other College departments and programs.
Upon successful completion of a government funded program, students will be contacted for up to a year, depending on the program, for employment related information. These calls keep our funders and students informed of the employment success rate of Columbia College students compared with other educational institutions. All information collected is strictly confidential.