December 3, 2020

Students slow to respond to MAP-Works

Three weeks after Webster University sent surveys via email to every freshman student, only 35 percent have been completed. Director of First Year Experience Sarah Tetley said this is not an uncommon turn-around for email surveys at Webster.
“It’s very trended to other surveys sent out, like the Delegate’s Agenda survey, this is a typical response,” Tetley said. “But we really wanted to be at 80 percent in filling out surveys by now.”
The survey is part of a new retention program called MAP-Works, which stands for “Making Achievement Possible.” The program, which replaces the CIRP survey Webster used in the past, creates a profile for each student who fills out the survey.  Faculty, staff and connection leaders can then access certain areas of a student’s profile to help students who are struggling get help. The survey was distributed on Sept. 19 and will close on Oct. 17.
Upperclassmen have their own survey module on MAP-Works, and surveys were sent to sophomores, juniors and seniors via email as well. Originally, Tetley and Retention Initiatives Program Coordinator Justin Barton had decided to exclude upperclassmen from MAP-Works this first year.
“We sent out the freshman module and the system seemed to work, there were no technical glitches,” Tetley said. “So because it’s such a resource and can only be helpful, we sent it to upperclassmen.”
Even with the promise of prizes such as a $400 text book grant, a $100 shopping spree on amazon.com and memberships to local attractions, return on the surveys are still low. As of this week, only 26 percent of sophomores, 18 percent of juniors and 19 percent of seniors had completed the survey.
Along with offering prizes as an incentive to complete the survey, Tetley and Barton have put up signs around campus with the MAP-Works logo, a small blue man with a graduation cap. Tetley said they are also relying on teachers of the freshmen Great Thinkers semseminars to encourage their students to complete the online form.
Tom Hart, director of the athletic department and teacher of the Great Thinkers seminar Springsteen’s America, said 50 percent of his students have filled out the survey. He said that even though the MAP-Works form is filled out on the student’s own time, instead of in a class like the CIRP, he is impressed with the program.
“It provides us with the opportunity to use information gained in the same year they get (the survey),” Hart said. “It helps us identify issues so we can direct students in the right places.”
Freshman video production major Jacob Kelleher said he finished the survey while he was bored one day. Kelleher said the survey was standard.
“The quiz wasn’t really personal at all, it just seemed like some kind of formal thing,” Kelleher said. “I don’t think any of it would be any use to them because it seems so basic.”
Kelleher said he believes the lack of response stems from students deleting the email without reading about the survey. Tetley said students tend to be vocal processors and prefer to talk about issues instead of filling out surveys, which could also contribute to the low response.
Though less than half of the freshman class has finished the initial MAP-Works survey, Tetley said she has heard only positive responses from students who have taken the survey. Hart echoed the sentiment, saying he had not encountered any negative pushback.
“This is our first year doing this system,” Tetley said. “We’ve already been about to connect (students to resources) from alerts (sent to faculty or staff from the MAP-Works profiles), and we hope to do that with more and more people.

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