A comparison of perceptions of campus environments and of student services functions with institutional vitality in private colleges Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/h702q981z

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  • The purpose of the study was to compare perceptions by faculty, students and administrators of the campus environments of eight small, independent liberal arts colleges in Oregon and to determine if similar or like perceptions of the environment lead to greater vitality in each of the colleges studied. In the context of the study, vitality refers to the ability of the institution to function effectively or optimally. A random sample of 50 junior and senior resident students, 20 full-time teaching faculty and 7 administrators were selected for testing on each of the campuses using the Institutional Functioning Inventory to measure perceptions. Following are the eleven scales: 1. Intellectual-Aesthetic Extracurricular 2. Freedom 3. Human Diversity 4. Concern for Improvement of Society 5. Concern for Undergraduate Learning 6. Democratic Governance 7. Meeting Local Needs 8. Self-study and Planning 9. Concern for Advanced Knowledge 10. Concern for Innovation 11. Institutional Esprit The following null hypotheses were tested: 1. There are no significant differences between faculty, students, and administrators at each college in the study in their perception of the campus environment. 2. There are no significant differences in the nine colleges studied in the manner in which their environments are perceived by faculty, students and administrators on all scales totaled. 3. There is no demonstrable relationship between divergent perceptions of the campus environment by faculty, students and administrators and institutional vitality. 4. There is no demonstrable relationship between divergent perceptions in areas of the campus environment that are of concern to student personnel services and institutional vitality. Statistical analysis of the data resulted in the rejection of null hypotheses one and two. Significant differences were found among the three groups, faculty, student, and administrators, in 28 out of 88 comparisons at the colleges studied. The groups differed most often on the scales that measured perceptions in the dimensions of personal and academic freedom, diversity in faculty and student backgrounds, concern for undergraduate education and campus decision-making. The data suggested that students as a group did not share the perceptions of their faculty and administrators at four of the eight colleges studied when responses to all eleven scales of the inventory were totaled for faculty and administrators and on six scales for students. Students tended to perceive the campus environment less positively than either faculty or administrators. The most positive perceptions were noted among administrators. A major conclusion of the study was that in the population samples, the presence of shared or congruent perceptions of the campus environment by faculty, students and administrators did not have a demonstrable relationship with the vitality of the college and its ability to function effectively. Null hypotheses three and four were retained. Further results of the study indicated that, at the colleges studied, significant differences exist between students and administrators in their perceptions of the campus environments in areas of special concern to student services personnel. Differences, statistically significant at the .05 level of confidence (in five instances at the .01 level) were noted at seven of the eight colleges in areas including campus governance, personal freedom (life style, values) and diversity in student backgrounds. Colleges in the study which described themselves as conservative and church-related had lower overall college mean scores, suggesting lower vitality, than did non-sectarian colleges. The church-related colleges, however, had fewer significantly different perceptions between faculty, students and administrators, scale-by-scale, than did the non-sectarian colleges suggesting a greater sense of community and singleness of purpose.
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