Since 1994, the Office of Planning and Institutional Research (OPIR) has led the University wide effort to gather information about stakeholders' perceptions of Villanova University. OPIR has administered a series of successively sophisticated surveys that provide data for assessing outcomes and understanding satisfaction. The surveys' value is enhanced by the nature and extent of groups being surveyed and by the regular cyclic timing of the surveys.
The surveys of undergraduate students are now administered routinely. For those that are administered annually, the content of the survey differs over a two to three year cycle to gather comprehensive information while minimizing the number of questions for survey respondents in a given year. Using the same instrument over a period of time enables analysis of trends. At least once every three years a standardized survey is used to obtain comparative data from other universities.
- The New Student Survey provides a profile of incoming students including: characteristics; self-assessment of skills; activities and community service prior to college; reasons for selecting Villanova; and aspirations. These data also form a baseline from which to conduct longitudinal studies of a cohort during the first year and as graduating seniors.
- Your First College Year is a standardized survey that provides a comprehensive assessment of the students' first year experiences in virtually all facets of college life.
- The National Survey of Student Engagement is another standardized survey which examines the extent to which first year students and seniors are engaged in learning and campus life.
- The Survey of Graduating Seniors has been a major source to capture students' assessments of the extent to which skills have been enhanced as a result of their Villanova experiences. The survey also captures student involvement in academics and campus life; students' satisfaction with the Villanova experience and future employment and educational plans.
- The Survey of Baccalaureate Alumni asks alumni to assess how their Villanova experience contributed to their preparation for employment and/or graduate work; their satisfaction with Villanova; and, if they would choose Villanova again.
- Parent Satisfaction Survey is sent to all parents of undergraduate students under the age of 25 years. The survey provides an avenue for parents to assess their own experiences and interactions with Villanova University and to assess their level of satisfaction with their son's/daughter's development of skills, abilities or values as it relates to their Villanova experience.
Surveys with high response rates (such as New Student Survey and Senior Survey) enable analysis and reporting of the data not just at the University level but also by College and by academic department, thus increasing the utility of the data for planning and assessment. The special longitudinal studies, matching data for students in their first year with survey responses in their senior year, adds breadth to the data about the student Villanova experience.