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Aug. 7, 2003

"Students can get some satisfaction" News-Star Editorial

A survey by the Board of Regents shows a higher level of student satisfaction across the state in universities. The report also reveals strong satisfaction numbers in northeastern Louisiana among the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Grambling State University and Louisiana Delta Community College.

The survey, involving about 19,000 students over two years, showed the University of Louisiana System above the national average. Louisiana Tech had the highest satisfaction rating among the three area four-year schools and ULM showed improvement in many categories.

The overall satisfaction and improvements shown are important to the success of the universities. Just like a business, it's vital that the consumers are happy with what they receive for their money.

The results are important and encouraging for ULM, which is working its way back from problems with finances, enrollment and image. ULM rated 3.60 on a five-point scale and scored significant improvement in areas like food services and security.

"This is proof of what we have been saying since day one: 'Students first,'' ULM President James Cofer said. "It is encouraging for us to be able to see the fruits of our labor in these results.'

Those results underscore a change in attitude and focus since Cofer came to campus in April 2002. The motto is to put students first. That's the way it should be.

Whether it's a volunteer day to spruce up a dorm, an upgrade in food services or taking critical issues like strategic planning to the community, the final objective should always be to make a positive impact on students.

"The administration is happy that the students have recognized the hard work of everyone involved with ULM over the past year,' ULM Vice President for Academic Affairs Nick Bruno said. "The survey shows us that ULM student satisfaction has substantially increased from 2002-2003 and we are very proud of that. The results of the survey also give us a starting point. We made a lot of progress, but there are areas where we need to make improvements.'

The universities are important hubs of our communities and the region. We succeed as they succeed, and their prosperity is directly tied to student experiences.

The survey shows students think our universities are doing a solid job or are at least on the right track.

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