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Office of Institutional Research

 

The SUNY Student Opinion Survey (SOS) 2012  

This Spring, the University at Albany is inviting all our undergraduate students to participate in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey (SOS). The SOS has been given to undergraduate students at all of SUNY's colleges and universities every third year since 1985. This survey helps UAlbany assess various areas of the academic experience, highlighting the areas where we are doing well, but more importantly, identifying the areas where we need to improve. We take the results of the survey very seriously, so participation is important but voluntary.

For more information on assessment surveys at UAlbany, you can go here. For more information about surveys going on in Spring, 2012, you can go here.

SOS FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions about the SUNY Student Opinion Survey

How long does the survey take?

The last time we administered this survey in 2009, most students took between ten and twenty minutes to complete it, but you may find that it takes either a bit less or a bit more time than that.

Will my responses be kept confidential?

Yes! Your responses will be kept in strict confidence and never released in a way that identifies you. We always aggregate (group together) responses when presenting survey results, and only present results in terms of percentages or averages.

How are the data used?

We use the information to improve our university and the quality of our programs and services to our undergraduate students. We need to know where we are succeeding and where we need to improve. The SOS is one of the most comprehensive instruments we have, and the only one administered on every SUNY campus.

Are the other SUNY campuses doing this survey?

Yes. The SOS is being given to undergraduate students at 25 other SUNY 4-year colleges and universities, so we are also able to use it to compare our progress to that of the other campuses.

What if I don't have an opinion about something?

You may not have an opinion about a particular program or service or facility. If so, there is a "Did Not Use" or "Not Applicable" option, or you may just leave the question blank.

How do you get my Student ID number and why do you need it?

Your e-mail invitation includes a link to the survey. This link is unique to you, so clicking on it automatically logs you in to the survey. This ensures the validity of the survey data -- only real UAlbany and other SUNY students can take the survey and no one can take it more than once.

The reason we request permissiong to use your ID number in the survey data set is so that we can compare survey responses by a variety of student characteristics without having to add a great many additional questions to the survey. These may include factors such as admit type (freshman or transfer), class year, full-time or part-time, gender, major, or others. In order to be able to run these analyses, we simply use your UAlbany ID number to match your responses to your student data after you take the survey. Your survey responses will not be added to your official student record. We assure you again, in the strongest terms, that your survey responses will never be personally identified at any time, and your survey responses will be treated with the highest degree of confidentiality. Thus, while the survey is not technically anonymous, it is completely confidential.

If you would like to take the survey, but are not comfortable with allowing us access to your ID number, you may choose that option as well, as described in the next paragraph.

After you click on the link in the e-mail, you will see a screen with information about the survey. After reading it and clicking the "Next" button at the bottom of the screen, you will be at a "signature" screen in which you will have three options:

  • Agree to let us have access to your ID number and continue to the survey;
  • Don't agree to let us use your ID number, and continue to the survey (in this case your ID number will be removed from the data file by the survey administrators at ACT (see below) before it is sent to us at UAlbany);
  • Choose not to take the survey.

Who is administering the survey?

This survey is administered by ACT (American College Testing, the same company that runs the ACT exam) under the supervision of UAlbany's own Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness. ACT uses survey host "Vovici," which uses a secure server encrypted to prevent viewing by third-parties. The survey invitations and reminders really are authored by Dr. Sue Faerman, UAlbany's Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, even though they are sent by Vovici and ACT on her behalf.

SOS Administration and Timing

The SOS will take place in the months of March and April, 2008, with the first survey invitation coming on Wednesday, March 21st. After this, up to two additional reminders will be sent to students who have not yet taken it, through the start of Spring Break in April, although the survey will remain open for some time after that. SOS invitations will be sent to all undergraduate students at UAlbany who are enrolled in a degree program, regardless of how many credits they are taking this term.

SOS at UAlbany

Here at UAlbany, our participation in SOS is supervised by our Office of Institutional Research, Planning & Effectiveness (IRPE). SOS is part of UAlbany's broader survey assessment plan, which also includes the Profile of the American College Student, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) the Student Experience Survey, and a variety of other surveys on more specialized topics, such as the Campus Center, Residential Life, Student Activities, Campus Safety, and others.

We realize that we ask you to participate in a lot of surveys; we know you are busy and we appreciate tremendously all of your time and thoughtful responses! In return, we promise that whenever we ask you to take a survey, the results of that survey will be shared with all appropriate levels of the campus leadership so that both your praise and your concerns will be heard and acted upon. You can find summary reports for some of our most important campus surveys, including the 2006 and 2009 Student Opinion Surveys, on our Assessment Reports page.

If you have any questions or concerns about your participation in SOS, please contact Joel Bloom, IRPE's UAlbany's Director of Assessment and Survey Research.

 

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