Snares Top Ratings; Student Satisfaction Highest in UNC System
Pam Kelley, Charlotte Observer
If your know much
about North Carolina’s 16 public universities, you might know that Chapel
Hill often wins a spot in “best college” ranking. N.C. State turns out
the most engineers and scientists. And budding dancers and musicians
aspire to study at the N.C. School of the Arts.
But where are students
most satisfied with their education?
The answer may surprise
you: UNC Pembroke.
Founded as a school
for Lumbee Indians, UNC Pembroke has quietly educated students in the
sandhills of Southeastern North Carolina for more than a century.
With an enrollment
of about 3,000, it’s not the biggest campus. It doesn’t have the highest
SATs. And the off-campus social scene is virtually nonexistent. But
Pembroke students seem happiest with their education, according to the
university system’s first full-fledged survey of student satisfaction.
The university system
quizzed more than 16,000 sophomores and graduating seniors last year,
asking them to rate their college experience in a variety of areas,
including quality of professors, advising, food service.
At Pembroke, 96.3
percent of seniors rated their overall education as “good or excellent”
– the highest percentage of any campus.
Pembroke also had
the highest percentage of seniors rating academic advising “good or
excellent.” And the highest rating for faculty and instruction. Also
for career counseling and employment search assistance.
Why such glowing
reviews? Credit the close-knit atmosphere and small classes, students
and administrators say.
class size is around 25 students, so it’s easy for students to get to
know their professors. “They give you individual attention if
your need it. Being a small campus, they can be that way,” said Orvil
White, an adult student who graduated last month.
White sat in an
aisle seat for graduation, and “probably half the faculty who went by
spike to me by name and said congratulations,” he says.
Of all N.C. campuses,
Pembroke also had the most seniors – 97 percent – who said the school
contributed “somewhat” or “very much” to their ability to work with
people from diverse backgrounds.
That statistic pleases
(former) Chancellor Joe Oxendine, who believes students benefit from
Pembroke’s unique racial mix. Located about 30 miles from Fayetteville,
the school is the state’s most racially diverse university, with an
enrollment that’s 59 percent white, 25 percent Native American and 13
percent African American.
Recently, the university
system posted the student survey results from all campuses on the Web.
Many Pembroke supporters
say the recognition is overdue. “I know it’s a great education. It’s
a great school,” says former student body president Benjamin Gersh,
who graduated in May. “This gives some credibility to what we’ve been
And now, Pembroke
officials hope the survey will help attract students. Under the university
system’s new plan to accommodate an expected flood of students in the
next decade, Pembroke is slated to grow by 40 percent.
But don’t expect
billboards announcing that Pembroke students are more stisfied with
their education that their counterparts at Chapel Hill.
“There’s a real
pride in these survey results,” says Pembroke’s (former) interim vice
chancellor for development and university relations. “But I think there’s
an appropriate reservation about ever getting into competition with
our sister schools.”
In survey, student
are highest on UNC Pembroke campus
Highest percentage saying “good or excellent”: Pembroke (96.3)
Lowest percentage: Elizabeth City State University (80.8)
is strong or very strong:
Highest percentage saying “good or excellent”: UNC Asheville (83.1)
Lowest: Elizabeth City State University (29.2)
of faculty based on eight measures:
Highest percentage saying “good or excellent”: Pembroke (96.7)
Lowest: N.C. A&T University
Quality of instruction
Highest percentage saying “good or excellent”: Pembroke ( 97.1)
Lowest: N.C. School of the Arts
Highest percentage saying “good or excellent”: Pembroke (96.6)
Lowest: N.C. A&T State
of technology (computer) services:
Highest percentage saying “good or excellent”: Chapel Hill (91)
Lowest: N.C. School of the Arts (46.7)
of Library services:
Highest percentage saying “good or excellent”: Chapel Hill (95.9)
Lowest: N.C. Central University
of academic advising:
Highest percentage saying “good or excellent”: UNC Pembroke (89.4)
Lowest: Chapel Hill (51.1)
If your could start
again, would you choose this school?
Highest percentage saying “yes”: Chapel Hill (84.5)
Highest percentage saying “no”: Appalachain State (18.5)
UNC Chapel Hill
students had the most gripes, with 77.7 percent saying they’d taken
at least one class too large. (source: UNC General Administration)
to University Newswire