Unlocking Student Satisfaction: Insights from Chabot College’s Learning Communities

Chabot College recently completed its Student Satisfaction Survey for the Spring 2023 semester. The results raise concerns about students’ access to academic resources and support.

Of 1084 students surveyed, 45% felt neutral or dissatisfied with the convenience of getting academic counseling appointments and 42% stated they were neutral or dissatisfied with preparation for transfer to a four-year college or university.  

Another concerning result from the Student Satisfaction Survey was that only 19% of the 1000 students surveyed utilized the learning communities at Chabot. Of that 19% of students, 91% were satisfied with the services provided by those programs. 

I decided to survey a smaller sample of 100 students. Of these students, 50 were in a learning community (LC) and 50 were not in a learning community (NLC). The purpose of this survey was to gain insight into the link between student satisfaction and being in a learning community. Students also had the opportunity to provide feedback on how they think the college can raise awareness about learning communities and improve access to academic support.

At Chabot, there are seven learning communities. These communities are Umoja, Puente, MOVEMENT, Change It Now (CIN), RISE Program, First Year Experience (FYE), and Accessibility Center for Education (ACE). Each program offers a community for students of similar backgrounds to come together and reach their academic goals. A few of these communities offer specialized courses and counselors for their students.

One Umoja student shared appreciation for their program saying, “I really love Umoja because it helps me know that I am not alone in my space around other students. I feel more welcomed and appreciated in the Black Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) and other spaces with black people.”

The purpose of having these communities at Chabot is to make it easier for students to connect with peers of similar interests and provide extra support for students of more diverse backgrounds. The satisfaction from these programs stems from the fact that students have direct access to academic resources. 

The first thing asked in both the LC and NLC surveys was how satisfied students were with access to academic counseling at Chabot. Out of the 50 LC students, 88% were satisfied with their access to academic counseling. Of the 50 NLC students, 42% were satisfied with their access to academic counseling. 

Next, they were asked to rate how satisfied they were with their access to college transfer support. The NLC students were 38% satisfied, whereas the LC students were 70% satisfied. The majority of NLC students were neutral or dissatisfied with academic support at the college. 

One of the general themes of the NLC survey was that students felt that lack of availability and counselors led to their rating. 

An NLC student wrote that it’s “hard to get an appointment and when I do I never get the same counselor. I have to explain my issue multiple times since it’s harder to get an appointment with a specific counselor.”

In the LC student survey, students were asked how they felt their specific program improved their access to Chabot’s academic resources. 

A Puente student shared a different opinion saying that they had, “lots of academic opportunities” and “plenty of resources for academic and personal care.”

Another student of FYE shared similar thoughts saying, “They are there to always answer my questions.”

This is why the Student Satisfaction Survey stats were concerning. If students in learning communities are sharing an overall higher satisfaction rate, it raises the question as to why only 19% of students are using these programs.

In both the LC and NLC surveys, students shared how they felt Chabot could do a better job of informing students about learning communities. They also shared how they felt Chabot could improve student’s access to academic support. 

One NLC student said they would like to be informed by “professors so they can tell the students what services Chabot provides as well as organize events where students get invited to get all information needed.”

An FYE student who experienced being informed about their community in person shared, “My physio Professor this term spent the first syllabus day going over these programs,” they continued to say that, “it was helpful.”

Many students in both surveys voiced how they would like to learn more about learning communities online. Some stated that they would appreciate receiving more information via email or social media. While many of the learning communities have social media platforms, students shared that they would like the college to help promote them. Others suggested that learning communities should be featured more prominently on Chabot’s website. Online visibility was a recurring theme in the students’ feedback. 

It remains to be seen how Chabot will implement student feedback to improve student satisfaction. By the next survey, students are hoping that these stats will improve. In the meantime, students who would like to learn more about joining a learning community can visit chabotcollege.edu/academics/learning-communities. 

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