The 2013 SERU Survey
(Student Experience in the Research University)
IAS can provide direct support (question writing, web programming, administration and analysis) for a limited number of surveys from University offices and departments. Please contact IAS for more information or to request survey support.
The 2014 SERU (Student Experience in the Research University) Survey results are here.
SERU 2015 is now open!
The University of Virginia seeks information on student life in a variety of areas, including academic engagement, students’ majors, global skills and awareness, community and civic engagement, and student development. By regularly monitoring such information, University administrators and faculty can identify strengths and weaknesses in the academic and student support programs and, with that knowledge, can work to improve programs and services. One particularly good way to gather such information is through voluntary, confidential surveys of current students. For this reason, the University participates in the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey. Approximately 4,000 undergraduate students completed the SERU survey last spring. This spring, all undergraduates—all 14,641—will be invited to participate in the survey by email; they can access the survey through a link in that email. Follow up reminders will be sent in the following weeks to those who haven’t responded.
By taking the SERU survey, students can help to identify areas where UVa is doing well and the areas it can still improve. The main purpose of this survey project is to gain a fuller understanding of the undergraduate experience at major research universities—year by year—so that we can provide the best programs and services possible. SERU gives students an opportunity to comment on the education they are receiving, the curricular and extra-curricular opportunities available to them, the support from student services, and other aspects of their undergraduate experience. Results from last year’s survey were shared with academic departments and other programs so that faculty and administrators would have the benefit of feedback from their students. One of the survey questions asks students to describe the one thing that the University could reasonably change to make their undergraduate experience better. Analyzing all of those responses is a big job, but we are getting the results out to programs where it can be used.
The SERU survey is also administered at a select set of research universities. Together, the Universities have created a comprehensive longitudinal database on the undergraduate research experience for use by administrators, policymakers, and scholars. As a member of this cooperative consortium, UVa is able to compare survey results with those from our peer institutions. While these comparisons are valuable, perhaps more so will be the mutual commitment to share ideas and practices to improve the student experience.
Administrators and professors are being asked to encourage students to participate in this survey and to assure students that their individual responses will be kept confidential. We learned from past surveys that students listen and respond when their professors encourage them to take a survey. The more students who respond, the more useful the survey results will be for program improvement.