PULSE Survey Response Brainstorming

8 months ago by
Share ideas about how the Department could respond to student dissatisfaction detailed in the 2017 PULSE Survey results.
Community: WUSTL Math Faculty

1 Answer

8 months ago by
If we want to bring student satisfaction in line with our peer institutions, it's probably worth looking at where we differ substantially from them. I'd be surprised if we differed substantially from other departments when it comes to things like quality of instruction, writing exams of appropriate difficulty, etc. -- so while it's obviously worth thinking about how we can do these things better, they might not be the real difference makers.

Two areas in which I think we clearly differ from our peer institutions are:
  1. Use of AIs and discussion sections. My impression is that most of our peer institutions have relatively small (say 20-40 students) AI-led discussion sections for at least Calculus I-III, differential equations, and matrix algebra. Our students have far less support and fewer contact hours as a result.
  2. Testing. In my experience, it is typical for a lower-division course to have two 1-hour midterms and a 2-hour final exam. I've never seen anything like what we do, which is three 2-hour midterms and a 2-hour final exam. I think this is an excessive amount of testing, and it imposes a burden on instructors, students, proctors, and graders. This sheer volume of testing is one of the reasons we have to offer multiple-choice exams, which also separates us from our peer institutions.
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