Jan. 19, 1995
Vol. 14, No. 10

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    Students to be surveyed on quality of life in College

    During the next few days, more than 1,200 students in the College will receive a letter requesting their participation in the most extensive study of undergraduate life ever conducted at the University.

    The Quality of Life Study, initiated at the request of John Boyer, Dean of the College, will study both academic and social life at Chicago through face-to-face interviews with a stratified random sample of students currently enrolled in the College. Findings of the survey will be presented next fall.

    "This is the first time in my 26 years at the University that anybody in the faculty or administration is asking students in a systematic way what they think about their experiences here and what can be done to make them richer and more valuable," said Richard Taub, the Paul Klapper Professor in the College and director of the study. "Student reponses will only be effective if a substantial proportion of those chosen for interviews actually participate. Otherwise views can be dismissed as those of an unrepresentative minority."

    After students in the sample group receive their letters of notification, each student will be contacted by one of 50 people hired to conduct interviews with the participants. An interview will be arranged at the student's convenience. The interview will be based on a 169-item questionnaire and is expected to take approximately one hour. Interviews will be conducted over a three-month period, from Jan. 30 through the end of April.

    Boyer's decision to conduct the survey coincides with the establishment of the Provost's Task Force on the Quality of Student Experience, which is working with, but independently of, the College project.

    "Our study aims to provide us with a reliable baseline of information about academic and extracurricular life in the College," Boyer said. "The data we gather will help the College identify policies, procedures and aspects of student life that work well and those that could be improved."

    The Quality of Life Study continues a history of student surveys at the University. The first student survey was issued during the Better Yet initiative in 1924, which, among other things, led to the establishment of Orientation Week -- the first college-orientation program in the country.