By Chris Barton, Editor-in-Chief
You might be thinking:
“Wow! The administration seems like they know what we students want in the new building and the new space! How do they know that?! Did they read my mind? Did they read my Diary?”
No, they read the report that the Student Coalition gave them.
This report was created based on the responses from a survey that was sent out to the whole student body at the end of last month. The results of the survey are too long to print here, but can be accessed at this link. The password is TopSecret (ssh, don’t tell anyone…)
The report was initially given to Jay Thorne and Chelsea Olsen, (Executive Director of Marketing and Communications and Executive Director for the Office of the CEO, respectively). It was later passed to Vice Provost Stefanie Lindquist, and has circulated rather extensively among the T-bird and ASU administration. We’ve heard many times that they are taking it seriously as their main source of information about what students want, need, and think.
This article will lay out the highlights of the report, as presented to the administration.
Section 1: Academic Environment
In our new space, we really value having access to electrical outlets, study spaces, and printing. All of these have been explicitly addressed in the interim space.
A bit over half of us spend more than 6 hours a week using campus study rooms, in groups of 2-4 people. We suggested 24-hour access to these study spaces.
Apparently most of us (75%) rent books for the term, rather than buying them, and 27% of us rent them in digital format. We tend not to check books out of the library; though we do use reference materials within the library.
As mentioned at the Community Update this past Monday, the library resources that we use most will be coming with us to the Arizona Center. The ASU downtown library and the main Phoenix library (Burton Barr) are very close to the new location, as well.
In the comments section, respondents also brought up the need for quiet study areas with diverse layouts, pleasant outdoor spaces, quick access to snacks, physical proximity of faculty offices, and access to technology such as screens and smart boards.
Section 2: Student life
We spend most of our time in the study rooms and the IBIC, with classrooms coming in second and the pub in third. Hence, these spaces seem to have been focus of the administration when designing the new space.
Free responses indicate that the CMC, the Fitness Center, and the Writing Center were the most used services. All three of these will be coming with us downtown.
63% of students expect to use parking at the new facility, and price was listed as the top concern for parking.
In the free response section, students suggested that the school supply short term (30-minute) parking spots and electric car charging ports.
Part 3: Housing
Almost half of the student population expects to live in university-supplied housing downtown, which is why the administration is trying to hard to arrange affordable housing.
25% of of the population have leases in Glendale that end after the start of next semester.
The features outlines above are important to students looking for university-supplied housing, with having a private bedroom topping the list. Although university-supplied housing is still a big question mark for next year, the administration is aware of what amenities we consider necessary.
Importantly, having T-birds all living together as a T-bird block was indicated as “essential.”
It was clear from the free responses that the most important issue related to housing is that the costs remain approximately the same as they are in Glendale. Other important issues were proximity to classes and safety. Students brought up concerns about having access to a grocery store, and having options for family housing.
Part 4: Student Life
A full 69% of the student population is in favor of the move, with 21% opposed to it.
When asked to rate the features of Thunderbird in terms of importance, students rated every single feature they were asked about as important (a score of 5 or above) and most features as very important (8 or above).
The most important features were a world class faculty, applied learning opportunities, the ability to study outside of the US, and a diverse student body.
In response to the question, “What is the most important part of being a T-bird?” students identified 4 key themes:
- Differentiation from other business professionals and other social groups (the words ‘misfit’ and ‘black sheep’ were mentioned repeatedly)
- The sense of community among T-birds
- The skills we learn and our capacity to achieve objectives and deliver value
- The prestige of the Thunderbird degree
Thunderbird’s core values were identified as:
- Diversity / Inclusion / Acceptance
- Global Mindset
- Ethics / Sustainability
Students recognized the ways that Thunderbird is unique and the unique challenges it currently faces.
Part 5: Other Ideas and Suggestions
Students took advantage of the ‘Other Ideas and Suggestions’ section to offer suggestions about how the administration can better handle the move, and the impact it is having on the current student body. Since the time of the survey, administration has actively made an effort to address these concerns.
So those are the survey results!
I encourage you to explore the broader data, as it offers an interesting insight into the collective psyche of the current student population.
The administration is making decisions largely based on the results of this survey. If you’re interested as to why a particular decision was made, the answer might lie within these results.