John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

Enhancing Student Success and Retention Throughout Undergraduate Education: A National Study

October 20, 2010adminEducation0

Survey Development

This survey was developed to gather information on student success initiatives that span the entire undergraduate continuum. Although there are numerous sources for best practices in the first year, no comprehensive data currently exist about the prevalence of success initiatives for sophomores, juniors, seniors, or transfer students and how those efforts are connected with first-year initiatives.

This survey is being sent to all chief academic officers at regionally accredited four-year colleges and universities in the United States. The chief academic officer is generally the individual best positioned to answer broad questions about undergraduate education. However, this survey link can be forwarded to other individuals as appropriate. A similar two-year version of this survey will be developed and administered in the spring of 2011.

The survey was developed by staff members at the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. The survey was then piloted with approximately 20 college and university educators around the United States.

Survey Content

The survey covers seven specific areas:

  • summer bridge programs
  • pre-term orientation
  • success seminars (first year through senior year)
  • learning communities (first year through senior year)
  • early warning systems
  • service learning
  • undergraduate research

The survey does not address other potential areas of interest, such as academic advising or developmental education, because other national associations focus specifically on those areas and provide in-depth resources for higher education researchers and practitioners.

The survey instrument is linked as a PDF document. Please note that most respondents taking the survey online will not see the entire survey. The survey logic presents questions about the specifics of a program/initiative only if a response indicates the institution has that program/initiative.

Survey Results

The results will be shared (on a complimentary basis) in both electronic and print formats. Results will be presented in aggregate and also disaggregated by institutional control (public/private), size, and selectivity. Results will be available in electronic format in early 2011 and in print format later in the year.

How will these data be valuable?

Institutions that are considering expanding their student success initiatives within and beyond the first year will be able to determine how many other peer institutions are offering such programs, specific program characteristics, program outcomes, and whether respondents judge those programs to be cost effective.

Questions about this survey may be directed to Betsy Barefoot, Vice President & Senior Scholar either by e-mail,, or by phone, 828-475-6018.