Campus Climate: Focus Group Results


A focus group moderator and notetaker conducted 5 focus groups on campus during Winter 99. Four of the focus groups utilized existing classes. An evening class was included to represent the concerns and needs of evening student population. The remainng classes were chosen because they offered a higher sampling of minority students. One campus Student Senate meeting was made available to our office and conducted as a focus group. The issues and concerns voiced in the focus groups are listed below in order of frequency mentioned within the five focus groups. By and large, CSM was a school that people would recommend to a friend.

Counseling - counseling services on campus were generally perceived to be unsatisfactory and unsupportive. The two most common perceptions voiced in the focus groups were that counselors were not available in a timely way and/or ill-informed about course and articulation requirements.

Several students told of visits to their counselor during office hours only to find locked doors with no note explaining why no one was available or other options for getting answers to their questions. Some students who had made appointments with their counselors also found the office door locked with no explanation.

Some students felt their counselor to be unfamiliar with their program requirements and, too frequently, questions were met with a sometimes lengthy search through the catalog. Some reported that information from their counselor was inaccurate. A few students acknowledged that they had given up using their counselor and searched out their own answers.

Some students wanted the option to choose their own counselor or see another counselor if their counselor is unavailable.

"Burned -out" "not available" "not very helpful" "Don't trust counselors"

Parking - a lack of parking and high cost of parking was a common complaint. It was felt there is too much visitor parking at the cost of parking for students. Related to this, one woman felt unsafe in the parking lots.

Bookstore- the bookstore was commonly felt to be too expensive and too often lacking needed books and materials when they are needed. "Attitude problem"

Part-time faculty - the inability to meet with part-time faculty who do not have office hours on campus was a common complaint. It was also acknowledged though that many of these faculty are highly motivated and dedicated teachers.

Faculty - Faculty failure to keep office hours was a common complaint. Students felt some faculty offered preferential treatment depending on various criteria: dress, gender, ethnicity. "Some are just making a salary." It was suggested that the students produce a guide to aid other students in avoiding bad teachers.

Sense of community - it was felt that the school could do more to foster a sense of community among the students through social events, particularly early in the year. Teachers were also seen as facilitators of student-to-student communication.

EOPS Office- a few students felt that they had encountered discrimination in applying for financial aid. This usually took the form of curt or less than helpful service. Several students felt the staff seemed to be using discriminatory standards in their decisions to give an application or whether or not to assist the student in the completion of needed forms.

Admissions and Records - "bad service"

Cashier's Office- "ignoring or mean attitude"