Are Montana University System graduate students satisfied?
Gorman, Renee Lynn
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This study explores graduate student satisfaction issues facing two leading Montana institutions of higher education. The study summarizes findings for a Graduate Student Satisfaction Survey administered to Montana State University and the University of Montana during the Fall 2003 semester. The distribution of this survey was done in collaboration with the Offices of Graduate Studies at Montana State University and the University of Montana. The purpose of this study was to elicit opinions and feedback from graduate students relative to their educational satisfaction while enrolled in their graduate program. The research addressed the following questions: 1) Does a model based upon Tinto's Theory of Departure (academic integration, social integration, and goal commitment) predict satisfaction in MUS graduate students; 2) Does academic integration make a significant unique contribution to the prediction of satisfaction after other variables have been statistically controlled; 3) Does social integration make a significant unique contribution to the prediction of satisfaction after other variables have been statistically controlled;4) Does goal commitment make a significant unique contribution to the prediction of satisfaction after other variables have been statistically controlled; 5) Which variables contribute most to the satisfaction of MUS graduate students; and 6) What are the relative contributions of the different variables in the model to the satisfaction of MUS graduate students? The tabulation of results incorporated responses from three hundred and eighty three students (30.49% response rate) to achieve an overall satisfaction rate of 3.70 on a 1 (extremely dissatisfied) to 5 (extremely satisfied) Likert Scale survey. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all pertinent variables. Two regression models were created. The independent variable model predicted that academic integration and goal commitment were significant in relation to overall satisfaction and social integration was not significant. Upon further research, the independent variable subscale model predicted faculty, faculty development, academic development, and goal commitment to be significant in relation to overall satisfaction and only peer was not significant. The difference in the models can be explained by the close relationship between academic integration and social integration. It can be inferred that faculty and goal commitment are the lead variables in overall student satisfaction.