Administration goes survey happy on student e-mails

Every student at St. John’s can attest to the constant flow of surveys and University e-mails that seem to clutter up their inboxes on a daily basis. On one hand, the University e-mailing system provides a convenient way for the school to stay in contact with their students. But does the enormous amount of e-mails devalue and turn students off to important messages like course evaluation surveys?

The administration of St. John’s tries very hard to convey a message that they care about the students’ voice and their frequent request for student body feedback through various surveys firmly proves this point.

However, some students may not be happy about the constant invitation to fill out surveys, and who would blame them when they receive countless school related e-mails every week from the school’s administration? Students are being turned off by daily e-mails to the point where they consider all school related e-mails a burden and stop reading them altogether.

Like the boy who cried wolf, the administration is losing student attention by flogging them with these daily messages.
The administration of St. John’s would be wise to consider this, especially now as course evaluation surveys are starting to filter out into student inboxes.

The University recently switched to online evaluations after years of in-class evaluation sheets that students filled out during class time. The change to the online format is meant to be more convenient and private, but some teachers and administrators have complained that overall participation in the course evaluations has plummeted, even if made mandatory by the teacher. This is a problem because these course surveys make up a crucial part of the school’s ability to improve classes and the overall education at St. John’s.

If students weren’t tired of constantly receiving trivial e-mails and meaningless feedback requests, they probably wouldn’t mind filling out these more important course evaluations at the end of each semester, and survey participation
would significantly improve.

Many will agree that the importance of student feedback on course evaluations is an imperative piece of the University’s ability to better serve the student body, so why plague students the rest of the year with less important, menial surveys
and campus solicitations?

The first step is to lessen the frequency of these annoying e-mails and irrelevant surveys. It’s important that the University maintains their keen interest in hearing the student voice, but maybe a substitute method for facilitating this would better suit both the students and the administration.

Expanding a section of St. John’s Central for students to log onto and offer general feedback and comments on events, policies, and other school related issues would create a nice outlet for supplementing the constant flow of electronic surveys. At a university of St. John’s size, perhaps a more personal approach to student feedback
would be sufficient.

Unlike course evaluation surveys, other surveys aren’t always relevant to the entire student body. Maybe the administration should survey students in person, attending specific events and adopting a more personal touch to communicating with students. For example, instead of sending a university-wide survey on the satisfaction of DNY classes, why not take a more direct approach and attend a class to hear freshmen voice their opinions in person?

If the University can succeed in cutting back on some of the e-mail traffic it produces, it would make the more important e-mails and surveys much more valid and widely read. Students can’t be expected to take all the e-mails they receive seriously when they’re receiving 5 or more a day.
If the administration can adopt this strategy, important e-mails such as course evaluation surveys won’t be seen as annoying by a vast majority of the school community.

After all, sometimes less is more.