Quality Education: Business Students’ Perspectives on what Determines Quality at a Central United States Private Liberal Arts University

dc.contributor.authorMcElroy, Jeffery W.
dc.description156 leavesen_US
dc.description.abstractAs universities face the ongoing challenge to recruit and retain students, the demand for a quality education has become increasingly important; however, the definition of a quality education remains nebulous. While there is disagreement on who or what the focus for the definition of a quality education should be, many agree on the importance of a quality education at the university level and believe that students should be the key focus when defining what is a quality education. The purpose of this pragmatic study was to focus on students’ perspectives on how campus environmental factors affect the way current students experience and interpret their university’s environment and ultimately determine what is a quality education. Using an exploratory, descriptive approach that incorporated utilization-focused evaluation methodology, this research was guided by the following overarching research question: What is the influence of the university environment as defined by Strange and Banning (2001, 2015) on business students’ perspectives of a quality education at a Central United States Private Liberal Arts University? Participants were students with a declared major within the School of Business at a Central United States Private Liberal Arts University. Data were collected online through an anonymous student open-ended questionnaire. Ten themes emerged from data analysis that led to recommendations for universities to consider: (1) focusing a higher percentage of their overall resources on the physical environment, (2) students’ comfort on campus and in the classroom, (3) students’ ease of accessibility to: classrooms, professors’ offices, study spaces, and technology, (4) diversity and its effects on inclusion, (5) promoting positive professor/student and student/student relationships, (6) learning/teaching styles, (7) effective student support systems, (8) promoting a dynamic environment, (9) effective formal and informal campus organizations, and (10) students’ needs for belonging. Findings from this study imply: all four of Strange and Banning’s (2001, 2015) environments (physical, human aggregate, organizational, & constructed) are important for recruiting students, all four become even more important for retention, and the physical environment is the most important of the four environments. Proposed future research could: explore the primary themes in this study in more detail to develop more narrowly focused actionable results, replicate this study in different content areas (e.g., art, education, math, sciences) and at different types of institutions to determine whether the themes remain consistent, and replicate this study to further explore the implications from this study that universities should spend more of their limited resources on the physical environment.en_US
dc.publisherDrake Universityen_US
dc.relation.ispartofseriesDrake University, School of Education;2018
dc.titleQuality Education: Business Students’ Perspectives on what Determines Quality at a Central United States Private Liberal Arts Universityen_US
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