Whatever irritation may have existed in the student mindset as a result of the province-wide college faculty strike in the fall of 2017 has apparently disappeared now. St. Clair’s assorted Key Performance Indicator (KPI) “Student Satisfaction” survey scores have jumped by a couple percent between that year and 2018-19.
The 2018-19 KPI results were released on September 25.
KPIs have been mandated by the provincial Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) for the past 20 years as a means of evaluating colleges' academic performance. Several of the assorted surveys also play a role in the formula that provides provincial grant-funding to the two dozen public colleges.
Annually, three groups are surveyed during the comprehensive process: current students, recent graduates, and the employers of those recent graduates.
In 2017-18, the “grades” given to the province’s 24 colleges by current students were all a bit lower than normal. That dip was caused, no doubt, by the bitter reaction of students to the five-weeks-long faculty strike which severely disrupted that academic year.
This year’s results – covering 2018-19, from Student Satisfaction surveying which occurred in February of this year – showed those numbers rebounding.
In St. Clair’s case, almost every Student Satisfaction-related survey number – individually and overall – jumped by about two percent in 2018-19 over 2017-18.
Thus, these scores, in answer to these survey topics:
• “The college is giving you knowledge and skills that will be used in your future career”: 89.1 percent of student gave a “thumb’s up”, sixth in the province. Last year, 87.7 percent agreed to that statement;
• “(Evaluate) the overall quality of the learning experience in your program …”: 84.0 percent of students were satisfied/very satisfied, fifth in the province. Last year, 81.2 percent;
• “(Evaluate) the overall quality of services at the college”: 68.4 percent are happy, seventh in the province. Last year, 67.5 percent were satisfied; and
• “(Evaluate) the overall quality of the facilities/resources in the college”: 77.7 percent of St. Clairians were happy with those, eighth in the province. Last year, it was 75.5 percent.
Those individual questions (and others) are also melded into the comprehensive Student Satisfaction Rate. In 2018-19, 79.8 percent of St. Clairians were satisfied/very satisfied with their total college experience. That is eighth among the 24 colleges. In 2017-18, that number was 78.0 percent.
As for graduates, 87.5 percent of 2017-18 St. Clair graduates were employed within six months of being awarded their diplomas. The provincial average was 86.2 percent. In 2016-17, 87.2 percent of St. Clair grads found employment within six months of leaving school.
A significant number of those 2017-18 grads – 82.8 percent – were satisfied with how the school had prepared them for their jobs (previous year was 81.0 percent). The province-wide Grad Satisfaction Rate among the 24 colleges was 79.9 percent.
Eighty-four percent of the employers of St. Clair’s 2017-18 grads were satisfied/very satisfied by their new hires. The provincial average number was 89.6 percent. [Editor’s Note: For an explanation of why this particular KPI is virtually meaningless because of the data-collection method and sample size, see http://stclair-src.org/news/need-know-news/dissatisfaction-satisfaction-surveying]
"I view our province-wide, top-eight results in the surveys dealing with academic satisfaction as a well-deserved recognition of our exceptional faculty and staff," said St. Clair President Patti France. "I do want to draw attention, also, to our very high scores for the quality of our services, facilities and resources. Out-of-classroom support of our students is increasingly essential, because fostering their quality-of-life also contributes to their academic success.
"As for the positive opinion of employers about our grads, that demonstrates that Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent can continue to rely upon St. Clair for capable and talented new workers in all employment sectors for years to come.”
The KPIs feature one other number, the “Graduation Rate”: how many students finish their programs, from first-year enrolment to receiving their diploma. The average number among the 24 colleges, for the 2017-18 graduating-year class, was 67.2 percent. For St. Clair, it was 66.6 percent. Still, for St. Clair, that is a better number than it was just five years ago, when the grad rate was hovering in the low-60s. The college’s significant efforts in student retention programs (tutoring, counselling, etc.) has dramatically reduced what had been a drop-out dilemma.
Contributed by Colleges Ontario
College graduates continue to succeed in the new economy, as over 86 percent of Ontario’s most recent graduates found employment within six months of graduation.
“College education remains pivotal to Ontario’s long-term success,” said Colleges Ontario President Linda Franklin. “Our programs ensure graduates have acquired the professional and technical expertise that leads to rewarding careers.”
The graduate employment rate is among the data released by Colleges Ontario in the Key Performance Indicators for colleges that are independently gathered for colleges and the provincial government.
The results also show:
• 90 percent of employers are satisfied with the quality of college graduates hired;
• 80 percent of graduates were satisfied with the quality of their college education.
More than 260,000 full-time students are enrolled in Ontario’s colleges in programs that range from business administration, civil engineering, marketing and health care to animation, aviation, tourism, digital design and more.
College programs continue to be at the forefront of new innovations, with updated programs in everything from 3D manufacturing and biotechnology to energy management and robotics.
Ontario’s 24 colleges offer 900 programs to a diverse range of students in over 200 communities in all regions of the province, in both the major urban centres and in smaller communities. These programs include the in-class training for the majority of the province’s apprentices, four-year honours degree programs for specialized careers and post-graduate programs for college and university graduates.
“Our graduates achieve phenomenal success in every sector,” Franklin said. “This will be essential in the years ahead as the demand continues to grow for a more highly qualified workforce.”