Poll shows overall satisfaction with Yavapai College

PRESCOTT -- Yavapai College released the preliminary results of a recent public survey geared to measure the community's overall satisfaction with the education district.

And, while the results are only preliminary, more than 80 percent of those who took the survey expressed overall satisfaction with the college, said Mike Lange, spokesman for the college.

The survey addressed a number of questions that included participation in college services and satisfaction with those services.

The surveys, conducted over the summer, were designed to seek feedback from the community regarding the goals of the college's governing board. The survey also identified the need for more community feedback, which the Board requested during a retreat in 2013. The board will meet for their 2014 retreat in September where they will review a detailed summary of the survey.

College officials shared the information with the governing board during their regular meeting Tuesday.

Of the 90,000 direct mail survey notifications that were sent to residents in the county, approximately 1,600 of those surveys were returned, Lange said. Print and radio advertisements were also placed in local media asking residents to take part in the survey. The Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Research of Yavapai College designed the survey with help from college administrators and others. The survey was conducted mostly online, according to college officials.

Overall satisfaction was the highest for Yavapai College events and activities. Though they were still satisfied, those surveyed were less satisfied with the college's economic development activities compared to other events and activities that those surveyed have participated in. Those outside of the Verde Valley and Prescott areas also expressed less satisfaction with Yavapai College services and activities than those within the west and east parts of the county. Data collectors also organized the data by a number of factors, including gender, age group and location.

Surveys also indicated an interest in a handful of issues, which include programming choices; such as concern over the future of the nursing program in the Verde Valley; scheduling issues, such as more face to face interaction; concern over east county taxes; concern over art course, as well as a desire to improve marketing and outreach efforts; and a desire for more cultural and entertainment events.

"There was a lot of discussion about (a survey) last year and the analysis from the board was that we really need this feedback and that the county-wide survey would be the best way to do that," Lange said. "We also did social media postings and I think we were all pretty surprised and happy with the number of participants we had in the survey."

The survey, Lange said, focused on the board's three education "ends" or their current goals. Overall, those surveyed expressed agreement with the governing board's goals. Another focus included cultural enrichment and economic development, which those surveyed also expressed support for, according to preliminary figures.

"Part of our job in the marketing and communications department was to get the word out about the survey to ensure that we received enough participants to validate the meaningfulness of the results," Lange said.

Follow reporter Patrick Whitehurst on Twitter @pwdcourier

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