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July 29, 2003

ULM Student Survey Shows Largest Increase in UL System

Results from Louisiana's fourth annual statewide survey of college student satisfaction of Louisiana's public colleges and universities; the ACT Student Opinion Survey (SOS) have just been published.

"The progress made at ULM far exceeds the student satisfaction at the national and state levels during this one-year change," according to a report released by the UL System today.
"This is proof of what we have been saying since day one: 'Students First'," said ULM President James Cofer. "It is encouraging for us to be able to see the fruits of our labor in these results. This is a time for every one associated with this university including administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, business partnerships and others who have contributed to our success, to be proud of the hard work it took to come this far. No single person or group can take credit for these results; instead it has taken a team effort and it truly is another good day for ULM."

Cofer also said, "We have all been working hard on these improvements and we are pleased to see that the students have noticed this improvement, yet we have a long way to go and will not rest until we are done. Clearly there are areas where we need to make more improvements. We want ULM students' intellectual and cultural experiences to be broad and deep. We will continue to work on those places where we did not increase substantially."
The survey results show that ULM is the institution in the UL System to show the greatest improvement in student satisfaction with Services and Programs in 2003 compared to 2002. The average score for ULM in this area increased to 3.72 from 3.56 (0.16 points) a 4.5% increase. The national average score declined during the same time to 3.69 from 3.70.
Survey results also show that ULM ranks above the national average, in the level of satisfaction with Services and Programs in 2003. Services and Programs in the survey include Residence Hall Services and Programs, Food Services, Computer Services, and Parking Facilities.

ULM is also the institution in the UL System to show the greatest improvement in satisfaction from 2002 to 2003 in the College in General category with a score of 3.60 in 2003 up from 3.26 in 2002, a 10.4% increase.

ULM has made great strides in the improvement of several of the areas listed in the College in General category. For example the "Reclaiming our Campus" campaign, saw hundreds of people from ULM and the community teaming up to paint buildings, trim trees, and beautify the campus. According to the survey, ULM's results are 10.6% percent higher this year compared to last year in the category of general condition of buildings and grounds.
Food service survey results at ULM increased by 17% when compared to the past three year's worth of results. ULM completely changed its food service operations at the beginning of the last school year. This allowed for a total renovation of the Wigwam from the food to the d├ęcor. Recently, the Wigwam added a Java City coffee station to its list of improvements. At Java City, students can now get gourmet coffee, lattes, and espressos and enjoy them while seated in comfortable sofas and chairs.

With regard to the student union and campus bookstore, ULM has seen some changes in those areas as well in the since April 2002 when Cofer took the position as president. Last spring students voted in a new Student Life Fee, proposed by the Student Government Association, that will provide more funding for student life activities as well as a renovation to the existing Student Union Building. ULM administration also recently privatized the University's bookstore in an effort to provide better service and savings for students.
Though pleased with several of the results from the ACT survey, there are still numerous improvements to be made at ULM. Cofer says, "We are always looking for ways to improve our services to students. Even now, improvements are ongoing in residence halls, campus appearance, and customer service. We have made progress, more than any other university in the system, but this is just a starting point, we have a lot more work to do and we will continue to put students first," said Cofer.

The Louisiana Student Opinion Survey Project is coordinated by the Board of Regents in cooperation with the state's public two-year and four-year postsecondary institutions and ACT. Information is collected from samples of students at each institution to ascertain their impressions of the college they attend and to gauge their level of satisfaction with their college's programs, services, and environment. The results help the Board of Regents, the state's four management boards, and individual institutions shape informed policies and enhance the college experience for all students.

For campus specific charts and graphs survey results, go to the UL System site at www.ulsystem.net. You can find more campus results at the Board of Regents website, www.regents.state.la.us.

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