Students hope new survey will let them be heard

Administrative building Lee Hall. Photo courtesy

Former interim Vice President Robert Schweigert shared that new surveys for FAMU staff and students “are being established to access operational performance, service excellence and opportunities for improvement,” according to minutes from the December 2019 meeting of the Board of Trustees’ Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee.

To some students, the new surveys provide promise for their voices to be heard by the university’s administration.

“Hopefully, these new surveys are something that will finally give us students a chance to actually have our concerns heard,” says one business student who asked to remain anonymous. “There are definitely things that need to be [improved] when it comes to the customer service.”

Customer service is not only an issue that has been observed by the students. Reports from local news outlets such as WCTV and Capital Outlook newspaper have reported on FAMU’s efforts with improving its customer service from 2004 and 2018, respectively. The issue, however, is still something that FAMU students experience.

“God forbid something’s wrong with your financial aid or [your] student account,” said another student who asked to not be named. “Just get ready to be on hold for at least 45 minutes and when they finally do answer, you can expect either attitude, some weird policy no one knows about or to be transferred to an answering machine.”

Currently, the university administers online climate surveys on instructors at the end of every semester. The surveys – the only university-administered survey known to the sources mentioned in the article – use a Likert scale and allow students to answer and comment regarding their opinions on the instruction that they received throughout the semester.

“One of my teachers made sure that we did the surveys before we left for our last class meeting,” Ashley Smith, a graduate of FAMU’s College of Education, said. “I make sure to do them every semester because I personally don’t know any other way to give my opinion about stuff. I figure if I call someone or fill out a paper survey, it’ll just get lost somewhere. The surveys give me a chance to express my honest opinions.”

Smith is not the only one who feels as though the university does not always cater to student voices. “In … certain schools, advisers are known to give bad advice to students that jeopardize their graduation date. That, and the fact that advisers come and go every semester, [makes it] hard to know who exactly to report to at any given time,” said the business student. “Yeah, we get to do some surveys on teachers but what about everything else?”

“My experience overall has been good, but certain things [have been] trash,” said another student who requested anonymity. “These new surveys sound like a good way to get opinions from students on more than just their teachers. I want to talk about the buildings and facilities and service. I hope those things are asked about [in the new surveys].”

According to the Board of Trustees’ minutes, the new surveys will be posted on the Finance and Administration division website on an unidentified date.