THIBODAUX – Results of the spring 2008 ACT Student Opinion Survey at Nicholls State University indicated enthusiastic approval of the institution’s educational environment.
The top ten elements of the survey’s 42-element “College Environment” section, ranked by students, included such categories as class size relative to course type; attitude of faculty toward students; course content within students’ majors; the university in general; out-of-class availability of instructors; and availability of advisors.
According to survey results, Nicholls students appreciated the university’s class sizes most of all. The student-to-faculty ratio averaged 19-to-1 in recent figures.
Post-survey commentary supported the survey’s findings. “I definitely feel at home in the classroom,” said Jordan Bordelon, a nursing sophomore. “With a small class, it is much easier to make friends and form study groups.”
Sara Taylor, a senior in human resource management, concurred: “The classes are just the right size to be able to form productive relationships between instructors and classmates. Everyone is able to help each other in a very friendly, open environment.”
The attitude of the faculty toward students ranked second on the students’ top-ten list. Taylor said one of her “favorite things about Nicholls is the people who work here. All of them have an open door policy and are more then willing to go out of their way to help any student.”
Gene Songy, a business administration junior, said he has yet “to have a teacher who does not interact with his or her students. The teachers have all tried to help improve the college experience.”
A related category – course content within individual majors – ranked fourth on the students’ top-ten list. Taylor confirmed the ranking, saying her classes have exceeded her expectations, especially in terms of career preparation.
“I participated in an internship and even surprised myself with how much knowledge I had acquired,” she said. “I’ll be able to apply it later on in my career.”
Bordelon echoed Taylor: “I have learned so much already in the nursing program. I can now determine if someone is in need of assistance and take action to help them cope with whatever might be happening to them. I now know the difference between certain cuts and wounds as well as how to treat them.”
The university in general – an all-encompassing category – ranked as the students’ fifth favorite aspect of the college environment.
“The educational experience here is like no other,” Songy said. “Nicholls employs a great faculty and staff, offers several avenues for student involvement, provides an opportunity to be part of the unique South Louisiana culture and furnishes the tools necessary to be successful on whatever road life might take after college.”
Indeed, such educational tools are often presented outside the classroom, and Nicholls students are so appreciative of their instructors’ after-class availability that they ranked this category eighth on their top-ten list.”It is not uncommon for a professor to sit with you in the cafeteria or student union while drinking a cup of coffee and discuss an upcoming assignment,” said Brett Badgerow, a history junior.
“Even after you are out of a professor’s class, don’t be surprised if he or she remembers your name and greets you in the hallway. They treat you as if you are more than just a number. When you approach professors within your major, they will sit down and talk to you about most anything. I once went into a professor’s office to discuss a test and left knowing about an internship that I previously had never heard of.”
Rivaling the popularity of instructors’ availability among Nicholls students is the availability of advisors. Survey participants ranked this category ninth on their top-ten list.
“Of course, Nicholls advisors have been there to help me every step of the way,” Songy said. “Each semester, I set up an appointment with my advisor so we can establish my game plan for the next semester. All it takes is a simple phone call and no more than 30 minutes of my time. My Nicholls advisor and I see eye-to-eye on my school load as well as my main goal of graduating on time.”
Additional categories in the top-ten list included instruction within individual majors; university testing and grading system; student union; and value of information provided by advisors.
“The fact that the majority of the top ten elements, which are part of more than 40 total elements, relate to students’ satisfaction with the Nicholls educational environment is outstanding,” said Larry Howell, associate provost.”It is a tribute to the efforts of our faculty and staff to make this university a great place to get an education.”