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York University’s Reputation: Challenges and Opportunities A Presentation to the Planning Forum on the Draft White Paper March 9, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "York University’s Reputation: Challenges and Opportunities A Presentation to the Planning Forum on the Draft White Paper March 9, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 York University’s Reputation: Challenges and Opportunities A Presentation to the Planning Forum on the Draft White Paper March 9, 2010

2 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Introduction  This presentation features the results of two external research initiatives undertaken by Strategic Counsel as input for the White Paper: –Surveys of key student groups; and –A series of in-depth interviews.  On line surveys were undertaken among: –Current York University students; –Students accepted to York University but who declined; and –GTA high school and university students who are not considering/did not consider York, but intend to/did apply to a TO based PS institution.  A total of 4,951 questionnaires were completed by York students, 1,468 by declining students, and 500 by students not intending/not applying to York.  Ten, one-on-one interviews with key York and external influencers.

3 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Objectives  For the student surveys primary objectives were: –Overall perceptions of York; –Perceived strengths/attributes of York; –Primary reasons students chose York; and –Primary barriers to choosing York.  Additional objectives of the one-on-one interviews were: –Overall assessment of York’s reputation; and –Assessment of options for York in moving forward.

4 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Major Findings  York’s reputation in terms of both academic performance and the quality of the student experience is in need of significant improvement.  York is generally perceived to be well below the U of T and McMaster and on a par with Laurier and Guelph, in terms of the quality of the education offered. Among those who did not apply or do not plan to apply, York’s reputation in this area is particularly low.  In terms of reasons for choosing a university, York students are least concerned about reputation as a factor, while among those who declined a York offer or did not apply reputation is considerably more important in making a choice.  York students appear to share many of the feelings about York of other students, they are less likely than students at other institutions to say they would recommend the university and to say they would make the same choice again.  A number of factors appear to act as barriers for students in either accepting a York offer or for considering applying and they are somewhat different for the two groups.

5 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Major Findings  Essentially, those who did not apply or would not consider applying are far more likely to say that program availability issues are major factor. However, for both groups the strike, location and York’s reputation are also key factors.  In n order to enhance the student experience four actions were identified by all three student groups surveyed: –Expand experiential learning opportunities; –Reduce class sizes, –Enhance campus safety; and –Provide more academic advising  One-on-one interviewees generally believe that York has a significant reputation problem that they believe has a basis in reality and arises from: –The extensive use of part-time faculty; –Recent strike; and –Lowering of admission standards.

6 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Major Findings  This has contributed, they believe, to what is seen as a diminished student experience and is a major issue to address;  While the northern part of the GTA is a natural catchement area for York, interviewees believe that this could no longer be relied upon as a reliable source due to changes in the area and that the reputation issue was exacerbating this situation.  Finally, interviewees believe that York must continue to grow, but must diversity its program areas and especially into the “hard sciences”, in order to reach students not now thinking of York and to establish York as a complete university.

7 Quantitative Findings

8 Assessments of Ontario Universities

9 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL A York education is seen as good, but not exceptional % Excellent/Good York Current Students Students who declined York Students who did not/will not apply to York Total* n= %% University of Toronto McMaster University York University University of Guelph Wilfrid Laurier University 5655 Ontario College of Art and Design Ryerson University 5052 University of Ontario Institute of Technology Q. 14. Irrespective of your status as a York student, how would you rate the following colleges and universities in terms of the overall quality of (undergraduate-level/graduate-level or professional-level) education offered by each? (Current Students) Q. 13.How would you rate the following colleges and universities in terms of the overall quality of (undergraduate/graduate-level or professional-level) education offered by each?(Declining Students) Q. 16.To the best of your knowledge, how would you rate the following universities in terms of the overall quality of undergraduate education offered by each? (Did not/Will not apply) Base: Total base * Totals have been repercentaged to exclude the no opinion/don’t know responses Ratings of specific universities in terms of education offered (undergraduates rate undergraduate education and graduate-level students rate graduate-level education

10 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Among current students, York is seen as well below U. of T. and McMaster in the quality of education. Q. 14.Irrespective of your status as a York student, how would you rate the following colleges and universities in terms of the overall quality of (undergraduate-level/graduate-level or professional-level) education offered by each? (Current Students) Base:Total base(* Totals have been repercentaged to exclude the no opinion/don’t know responses) School Ratings – York Current Students Total Excellent/ Good* % Total DK % University of Toronto9017 McMaster University8430 York University661 University of Guelph5839 Ontario College of Art and Design5653 Wilfrid Laurier University5646 Ryerson University5026 University of Ontario Institute of Technology3660

11 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Among declining students, York is seen to be on a par with Guelph, Laurier and Ryerson. Q. 13.How would you rate the following colleges and universities in terms of the overall quality of (undergraduate/graduate-level or professional-level) education offered by each? (Declining Students) Base:Total base(* Totals have been repercentaged to exclude the no opinion/don’t know responses) School Ratings - Students who declined York Total Excellent/ Good* % Total DK % University of Toronto9113 McMaster University8630 York University5815 University of Guelph5639 Wilfrid Laurier University5543 Ontario College of Art and Design5254 Ryerson University5227 University of Ontario Institute of Technology3557

12 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Those who did not apply have the lowest regard for York. Q. 16.To the best of your knowledge, how would you rate the following universities in terms of the overall quality of undergraduate education offered by each? (Did not/Will not apply) Base:Total base(* Totals have been repercentaged to exclude the no opinion/don’t know responses) School Ratings - Students who did not/will not apply to York Total Excellent/ Good* % Total DK % University of Toronto923 McMaster University908 University of Guelph5820 Wilfrid Laurier University5822 Ryerson University528 Ontario College of Art and Design5034 University of Ontario Institute of Technology4735 York University347

13 Assessing York

14 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL York students are notably less likely than others to report that they would still choose their university if they could choose again. Q. 10.If you could choose again, would you still choose to attend York? (Current Students) Q. 11.If you could choose again, would you still choose to attend the college or university you are currently attending? (Declining Students) Q. 14.If you could choose again, would you still choose to attend the college or university you are currently attending? (Did not/Will not apply) Base:Total base York Current Students Students who declined York Students who did not/will not apply to York Total n= %% Yes No 1987 Not sure Percentage who would choose to attend their current university if they could choose again

15 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Just over half of York’s students would recommend the University for undergraduate studies, notably less than those attending other schools. Q. 13.How likely would you be to recommend York University to friends or family… (Current Students) Q. 12.How likely would you be to recommend the college or university that you are currently attending to friends or family? (Declining Students) Q. 15.How likely would you be to recommend (UNIVERSITY SELECTED IN FIRST COLUMN AT Q.2) to friends or family… (Did not/Will not apply) Base:Total base % For undergraduate studies York Current Students Students who declined York Students who did not/will not apply to York Total n= %% NET Likely Very likely Somewhat likely Neither likely nor unlikely 1478 Somewhat unlikely 1255 Very unlikely 1575 NET Unlikely Don’t know/No opinion 56- Likelihood of recommending current university to friends or family

16 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Less than half of York’s students report that the University provides a positive student experience. Q. 12.How would you rate York University in terms of your overall experience as a student? (Current Students) Base:Total base York Current Students TotalUnder-graduate Degree Graduate/ Profess-ional Degree Full-time StudentPart-time Student n= %%% NET Excellent/Good Excellent Good Average Poor Very poor NET Poor Don’t know/No opinion Ratings of York in terms of overall student experience (among York students)

17 Reasons for not Choosing York

18 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Location, the strike and programs are top-of-mind reasons for not applying to York. Q. 17What are the main reasons that you decided not to attend York? Please list up to three reasons, in order of importance. (Declining Students) Q. 20.What are the main reasons that you (UNIVERSITY STUDENTS: did not consider, GRADE 12 STUDENTS: have not considered) applying to York University? Please list up to three reasons, in order of importance. (Did not/Will not apply) Base:Total base Note: Responses of 1% or less not shown. Students who declined York Students who did not/will not apply to York Total n= % NET Location4235 Distance/very far/long commute2317 Bad location / neighbourhood / near Jane and Finch1615 Too close to home34 Looking for school outside of Toronto31 NET Staff/Labour3128 Recent strike / too many strikes2426 Admin problems/Poor treatment of TA’s61 Labour dispute31 NET Access2810 Fees/Expensive tuition83 Not accepted into first choice program/High academic standards86 Lack of financial support7- Received late acceptance4- Not enough scholarships31 NET Programs/Courses2758 My preferred program/course not offered2243 Issues with programs (not specialized, bad reputation)27 No co-op program23 No reputable science program / medical school / engineering110 Reasons for declining/not apply to York.

19 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL York’s reputation is also a top-of-mind reason for not applying to York. Students who declined York Students who did not/will not apply to York Total n= % NET Personal preference2415 Prefer other options174 Not interested/Didn’t know enough about it310 Not as good as University of Toronto21 NET Reputation2227 Poor overall reputation1822 Not as good a reputation as University of Toronto21 NET Environment2217 Issues with campus (boring, ugly)55 Safety/security concerns43 University is too large42 Class size too large32 Issues with environment (bad, unfriendly, depressing)33 Don’t like their residence21 NET Word of mouth710 Friends/parents/others do not recommend York48 Heard bad things/someone had bad experience31 NET Academic issues611 Not challenging academically / bad teaching37 Admission standards too lenient22 Q. 17What are the main reasons that you decided not to attend York? Please list up to three reasons, in order of importance. (Declining Students) Q. 20.What are the main reasons that you (UNIVERSITY STUDENTS: did not consider, GRADE 12 STUDENTS: have not considered) applying to York University? Please list up to three reasons, in order of importance. (Did not/Will not apply) Base:Total base Note: Responses of 1% or less not shown. Reasons for declining/not apply to York.

20 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Reducing labour strikes and improving perceptions of York academically are two critical factors to increasing student interest. Top 2 boxes of 7 point importance scale Students who declined York Students who did not/will not apply to York Total n= % You wanted to attend another college or university more 5974 The labour strike 5464 Geographic location 4232 Academic reputation 4053 Availability of courses that you wanted 3753 Transportation/access to campus 3429 Likelihood of getting a good job following program completion 3137 The look and feel of the campus 2628 Availability of student financial assistance 2219 University culture 2122 Availability of experiential education opportunities such as co-op programs or internships 1928 Size of the university 1816 The desire to move out of your hometown to study 1825 Q. 18How important were the following as reasons why you did not attend York University? (Declining Students) Q. 22.How important were the following as reasons why you did not attend York University / for not applying to York University? (Did not/Will not apply) Base:Total base Importance of the following as reasons for declining/not applying to York University

21 Enhancing York’s Student Experience

22 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Expanding experiential learning, improving campus safety, more academic advising, and improving student support services will increase interest from current and potential students. % Very/Somewhat important York Current Students Students who declined York Students who did not/will not apply to York Total n= %% Expand the study space in the library Invest in campus safety Provide more academic advising Improve student support services Expand experiential education opportunities such as co-op programs and internships Improve food service on campus Reduce class sizes Improve the York website and technology services Increase flexibility by offering more courses during evenings and/or on weekends Create more space for socializing on campus Increase e-learning opportunities and online courses Introduce block scheduling in first year so that the same students are registered in two or more courses Expand the role of the Colleges Q. 17How important would it be to undertake the following initiatives to improve the quality of the student experience at York? (Current Students) Q.If the following changes had been implemented when you applied/were implemented before you applied to University, to what extent, if at all, would they have affected/affect your decision to attend/apply to York University? (Declining Students: Q.20, Did not/Will not apple: Q24) Base:Total base Importance of York doing the following to improve the quality of the student experience

23 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Increasing experiential education opportunities is of significant interest to all York Current Students Students who declined York Students who did not/will not apply to York Total n= %% Expand experiential education opportunities such as co-op programs and internships Expand library study space 2579 Invest in campus safety 2321 Reduce class sizes Provide more academic advising Improve student support services Increase flexibility by offering more evenings / weekend courses Improve food service on campus 1355 Increase e-learning opportunities 1174 Create more space for socializing 898 Improve the York website and technology services 675 Introduce block scheduling in first year 588 Expand the role of the Colleges 466 Improve access (financial and other) 451 Academic improvement 321 Q. If York could only undertake two of these initiatives, which two do you feel are the most important? (Current Students: Q19, Declining Students: Q22, Did not/Will not apply: Q.26) Base:Total base Note: Responses of less than 1% not shown. Most important things that York can do to improve the quality of the student experience

24 One-on-One Findings

25 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Main findings  General sense York has a significant reputation problem arising from: –Extensive use of part time staff; –Recent strike; and –Lowering of admission standards.  These issues have all contributed to what is seen as a diminished student experience and this is seen as a major issue to address;  While there is agreement regarding the importance of the northern GTA for York there is also a sense that it cannot automatically be relied upon as a source of students, and as a result of: –Growing aspirations of the regions students; –York’s more limited program offerings; –Increased competition from Ryerson; and –York’s current reputation.

26 STRICTLY PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL Main Findings  There is broad recognition that York must continue to grow, but also must diversify in terms of its programs;  However, there is no real consensus in terms of the type of program areas to develop, aside from a preference for the “hard sciences”;  Many respondents articulated, in various ways, the need for York to develop a clear vision of how it wants to evolve, and importantly, why and to build a consensus around this vision;  Finally, in moving forward most advised to build on York’s existing strengths.


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