HLC Self Study
Chapter 8 Graphic

Core Component 5D

Evaluation of Services

Estrella Mountain solicits feedback from its constituencies through various instruments including community surveys, the Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Survey and graduate surveys. The College’s dedication and commitment, as evidenced through the continuous assessment and evaluation of services to its community, allows Estrella Mountain to be strategic, intentional and inclusive in meeting its mission. The following surveys have provided guidance about how the College can best meet the needs of its community and provide services that are of value.

Community Needs Survey

Community leaders value the services of Estrella Mountain Community College. Fifty-three community leaders from 15 West Valley organizations participated in the fall 2010 Community Needs Survey.  According to the report, “the overall respondent satisfaction with ‘how the college is currently serving the community’” was positive. Nearly 86 percent indicated either “very good” (48 percent) or “good” (37 percent). A large number of respondents (94 percent) indicated they would “recommend the college to a friend.”

In fact, respondents also acknowledged the importance of college education affordability as “very important” (75 percent) or “important” (20 percent). Survey feedback showed overall satisfaction (86 percent) with the College providing an affordable education. The importance and satisfaction with the quality of education provided by Estrella Mountain also proved positive, with over 80 percent of respondents being “very satisfied” or “satisfied.” College strengths include the following:

  • Estrella Mountain provides an affordable education
  • Estrella Mountain provides quality education
  • Estrella Mountain provides life-long learning opportunities
  • Estrella Mountain enhances the quality of life in the local community
  • Estrella Mountain meets the needs of diverse constituents

When asked what they liked most about Estrella Mountain, frequently reported responses include the following:

  • Location (17)
  • Community Friendly (16)
  • Services and Programs (10)
  • Accessibility (6)
  • Affordability (5)
  • Environment (5)

Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Survey

Noel-Levitz is a national survey instrument that measures student satisfaction and priorities. Estrella Mountain administers the Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Survey every three years. Findings from the 2010 study found that in a national comparison of students at other two-year institutions, Estrella Mountain students were more likely to have their expectations met, have higher satisfaction levels with their college experience and be more likely to re-enroll if they had it all to do over again. Although a strength, it should be noted that the scores for all three questions have decreased slightly since spring 2007. Survey results also indicated that overall, Estrella Mountain is doing well in meeting student expectations.

All Noel-Levitz satisfaction composite scale scores received gaps less than 1.0 (Mean Importance minus Mean Satisfaction). Two areas with scale score gaps greater than 1.0 were:

  • Academic Advising and Counseling (1.17)
  • Safety and Security (1.15)

It should be noted that the Safety and Security score was primarily influenced by parking lot issues. Several individual question results also exceeded the national satisfaction mean scores. Listed below is a sample of items that exceeded the national average:

  • On the whole, the College is well-maintained
  • The campus is safe and secure for all students
  • It is an enjoyable experience to be a student at the College 
  • Library staff are helpful and approachable 
  • Computer labs are adequate and accessible 
  • People at the College respect and are supportive of each other 
  • The equipment in the lab facilities is kept up to date
  • Security staff members are helpful

Individual questions with high importance ratings (mean of 6.0 or higher) and small performance gaps (gap = 0.50 or less) indicate Estrella Mountain is meeting student expectations. Items with an * also exceed the national satisfaction mean. Individual items that meet these criteria include:

  • Students are made to feel welcome at the College 
  • Computer labs are adequate and accessible*
  • Bookstore staff are helpful 
  • As a result of my studies at the College, I have gained an understanding of my role as a citizen in a global society 
  • Instructors respect the cultural diversity of students
  • On the whole, the College is well-maintained*

There are opportunities for improvement in relation to this survey. For example, several of the individual question results fell below the national average. Most of the questions related to Academic Advising and Counseling. It is important to note that while linked in the survey, these are two separate departments at Estrella Mountain, with different functions and responsibilities. Individual items that received less than positive responses are:

  • The amount of student parking space at the College is adequate 
  • Child care facilities are available at the College 
  • Internships or practical experiences are provided in my degree/certificate program 
  • My academic advisor is approachable
  • The quality of instruction in the vocational/technical programs is excellent
  • The career services office provides students with the help they need to get a job     
  • My academic advisor is concerned about my success as an individual 
  • The College provides effective support services for displaced homemakers            
  • My academic advisor is knowledgeable about my program requirements
  • Students are notified early in the term if they are doing poorly in a class 

Challenge areas resulting from this survey include items that students rated with high importance (greater than 6.0 out of 7.0) and lower satisfaction (performance gap greater than 1.00). Items with an * indicate that students also reported a lower satisfaction score than the national mean.

  • The amount of student parking space at the College is adequate
  • Students are notified early in the term if they are doing poorly in a class
  • My academic advisor is concerned about my success as an individual
  • Parking lots are well-lighted and secure
  • Financial aid awards are announced to students in time to be helpful in college planning* 
  • My academic advisor helps me set goals to work toward* 
  • My academic advisor is knowledgeable about the transfer requirements of other schools 
  • My academic advisor is knowledgeable about my program requirements*
  • My academic advisor is approachable*
  • I am able to register for classes I need with few conflicts* 
  • This school does whatever it can to help me reach my educational goals 
  • Classes are scheduled at times that are convenient for me*
  • Faculty provide timely feedback about student progress in a course* 
  • Financial aid counselors are helpful
  • Channels for expressing student complaints are readily available*
  • The personnel involved in registration are helpful*
Figure 60

Estrella Mountain has made significant improvements to its services based upon the Noel-Levitz Survey. For example, it has added 330 parking spaces, and more are currently under construction. While the College does not have a child care facility, Estrella Mountain does offer assistance to qualifying students to help with their child care costs. During spring 2011, Estrella Mountain’s opened a Career and University Transfer Center and hired an Internship Manager to coordinate an internship program.  Communication to students about their financial aid status has improved through the communication center in the students’ my.maricopa.edu accounts. Another improvement includes recent progress in the area of class scheduling that will maximize facility usage and decrease schedule conflicts. In addition, the processes for student complaints, which have always existed in the college Catalog and Faculty and Student Handbook, have recently been added to the college website. 

Commencement Survey 

Students participating in commencement are asked to complete a Commencement Survey that asks their satisfaction regarding a range of student and learning support services. For the 2009-2010 academic year, 241 graduates completed the survey. 

The results of the survey indicate that graduates were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of advising, availability of advisors and the overall quality of advising services. This survey allows the College to determine how it can make valuable improvements for students. According to a three-year comparison, satisfaction with Advising has increased.

Figure 61

Figure 62

Figure 63

The 2010 Commencement Survey results of overall satisfaction with various services and support areas are highlighted in Figure 64.

Figure 64