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Determinants of university climate and their effect on graduate school satisfaction: A case study of one university

Nancy S Hurley, Johnson & Wales University


An investigation of university climate and its effects on graduate school educational student satisfaction at one private university. This study determines if the university climate provides a learning environment that enhances student satisfaction. University climate is examined in terms of excellence of faculty, excellence of leadership, and excellence of resources. A questionnaire is completed by a cross section of the total graduate student population. A cluster sample is used to ensure that thirty percent of the graduate student population participates in the survey. The questionnaire collects information on satisfaction as it relates to the university climate. The questionnaire also determines the importance of specific factors identified as influencing a student's decision to select a particular graduate school. The importance of this study is to provide information to guide university leaders with the reorganization and improvement of a university climate and its relationship to student satisfaction and achievement. In addition, this research project determines the aspects of university climate that are most important to graduate students and any differences between student satisfaction and the following independent variables; gender, residency, age, bachelor degree holders from within the university and other schools, and number of terms enrolled. The principal findings from this study show that the following factors strongly influence admissions decisions: selection of majors; competitive tuition; no required standardized admissions test; and career opportunities upon graduation. Overall the student population is satisfied with issues concerning education, facilities, and leadership at the school under study. However, at least one third of the student sample is not satisfied with education-related issues such as the ability of education to meet their expectations, the attributes of the faculty, and the availability of high quality career placement programs. Over forty percent of the student sample does not feel that the graduate school buildings look professional, that student resources are conveniently located, or that the library is an excellent resource for their studies. More than forty percent of the sample do not feel they participate in the school's development and they do not agree that the school offers an excellent quality of services. The student sample sees career opportunities upon graduation as their most important issue. In addition, there are significant differences between international and domestic students and also between bachelor degree holders from the institution under study and non-holders on many issues concerning the university climate.

Subject Area

School administration|Educational psychology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Hurley, Nancy S, "Determinants of university climate and their effect on graduate school satisfaction: A case study of one university" (2000). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3004988.