In the modern society, learning has shifted from being teacher-cantered to being student-cantered. It has become apparent that the only way of making learners to understand concepts taught in classroom settings is to hand them the power to determine their academic life. They have to be the drivers in their academic lives. The empowerment of students has created a scenario where learners are very choosy when it comes to joining institutions of higher learning. They know what they want in an institution of higher learning and are not willing to settle for less (Alpern 2010). Student satisfaction has, therefore, become a critical issue that many learners are keen on as they try to identify the most appropriate institution for their academic needs. Universities are now under great pressure to ensure that their institutions offer all that the learners need to be satisfied. In this paper, the focus will be to understand the factors influencing students’ satisfaction in the University of Reading.
According to Luo, Niamtullah, Xu and Shafi (2015), the relationship between student satisfaction and teacher-student relationship is important. Teacher’s commitment, campus facilities and staff’s response impacts on student’s motivation and satisfaction. Therefore, some students are satisfied by improvement of quality of lecture and performance, some are motivated by helping others and others by fulfilment. Some students get satisfied by personality improvement. Anwowie, Amonako, and Abrefa (2015) stated that higher education’s found that student’s expectation is priority, in terms of improving university’s facilities and services. ‘Students perceptions of service quality exceeded their expectations on four service dimensions namely tangibility, responsiveness, assurance and empathy’ (Anwowie, 2015).
Dicle University, ZiyaGokalp Education faculty and Educational Sciences department (2015) Student’s attitude in terms of alienation impacts on their general satisfaction. Alienation is an element effecting organisations and human relations, it negatively influences on educational institutions in terms of students behaviour towards teaching profession (Kacire, 2015). University of Maryland college students: multicultural students are positive with their overall satisfaction, whilst, the relationship was not considerable for Asian Americans or Whites. For all groups, overall satisfaction was positively related to fair treatment by students and teachers. Negatively found between satisfaction and perception of racial tension and lack of support.
The study examines the effects of lecturers’ competences on students’ satisfaction in a private college. The attainment of student’s satisfaction is one of the most important objectives in all higher institutions. Students’ satisfaction has an impact on the representation of the institution and future intake of students. It is important for students to be satisfied as it also affects their academic performances. Student satisfaction according to M. Sembiring is associated with persistence, academic performance, retention, and its relations to career advancement were examined. The following factors were said to influence the student’s satisfaction.
Responsiveness, assurance, tangible, reliability and empathy are known to be in harmony with satisfaction. Career advancement, retention, academic performance, and persistence were influenced by satisfaction. The factors of persistence, academic performance, and retention as a result of satisfaction were consistent with maintaining the size and growth of the student body. It is believed that student satisfaction of higher education benefits from being treated like customers. It is important that the institution ensure students’ satisfaction and for the institution to fulfil short term demands of the students. Thus paper argues that the students are only satisfied when they get what they paid for; which according to Eddie Mark is ‘quality education is a field of their choice with an accompany credential that is valued in the labour market’.
When conducting a research, it is often important to come up with clear method of data collection, analysis, and presentation (Healey & Sharp 2010). The method chosen must be able to help in achieving the primary objectives of the research. In this study, time was the biggest constraint hence a large sample size could not be used. The researcher considered it necessary to use only three participants from different countries. The participants were chosen through simple random sampling strategy, but they had to meet the criteria of being from different countries (Buschman 2001). The students who were finally selected were from the United States, United Kingdom, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. One student was picked from each of the three countries. All of them were undergraduate students in the University of Reading.
After selecting the three participants, they were informed about the aim of the study. They were given the consent form to ensure that indeed they were willingly participating in this research. The researcher conducted a face-to-face interview as a way of determining their level of satisfaction as students of the University of Reading. The researcher used questionnaires to guide the interview process (Hsiung 2008). The analysis of the findings from these participants was analysed quantitatively. Quantitative research design was considered appropriate in determining the degree to which these learners feel satisfied with various facilities and services which are offered at the university.
The research specifically focused on the level of satisfaction of learners in the University of Reading with the facilities and services offered to them by the university. The responses obtained from these participants were analysed quantitatively using excel spreadsheet. In the section below are the findings made from this study.
What is the level of your satisfaction with the service and facilities at the University of Reading?
When asked about their level of satisfaction with the facilities and services offered to them at the university, one student noted that he was very satisfied. Two students noted that they were satisfied, while none of them registered any negative comment about the services and facilities at this university.
What is your level of satisfaction with the social integration at the University of Reading?
When asked about the level of social integration at this institution, it was clear that the three respondents had varying opinions. One of the students stated that he was very satisfied. Another student stated that he was satisfied. It was noted that there was a student who registered dissatisfaction in terms of social integration at the university.
What is your level of satisfaction with student centeredness/responsiveness at the University of Reading?
It was apparent that most of the students were very satisfied with the student centeredness approach used in this institution. Two of the respondents stated that they were very satisfied and one stated that he was satisfied. No negative feedback was registered by the respondents.
What was the level of your satisfaction with the pre-enrolment factors at the University of Reading?
The findings revealed that the students were generally satisfied with the pre-enrolment factors that made them join this university. One student stated that he was very satisfied with these factors while two students stated that they were satisfied. None of the students registered any negative comment about the pre-qualification factors.
It is clear from the above analysis that student satisfaction is very important for institutions of higher learning in the modern society. Service and facilities are some of the most important factors that influence students’ satisfaction. The University of Reading has been keen on ensuring that it has state-of-the-art facilities that students need to ensure that in their academic and social lives. The institution also offers superior academic services to its students as a way of enhancing their level of satisfaction. Social integration is another important factor that influences students’ satisfaction. When students are able to integrate with their peers, they tend to be more comfortable than in instances when they struggle to make friends. Issues such as racism and segregation based on social class are the main factors that may hinder integration at institutions of higher learning. It is unfortunate that one of the respondents stated that he was not very much satisfied with the level of integration at this institution. This is an indication that the firm has a lot to do as a way of enhancing integration at this institution.
Centeredness and responsiveness are issues critical to students’ satisfaction. Students currently prefer learning in an environment where they are empowered to drive the learning process other than being in systems where learning is driven by their teachers. At this university, it was apparent that all the participants stated that they were satisfied with the level of student-centeredness approach promoted by the administration. Pre-enrolment factors also influence students’ level of satisfaction. It means that institutions of higher learning need to invest in advertisement to ensure that they are viewed favourably by the public, especially the parents and potential students who may want to study in this institution in the future.
Understanding factors that influence student satisfaction is very critical for any university that seeks to attract local and international students. These institutions must understand the forces that influence the learners when they are making a decision on which university to join. In this paper, the researcher has conducted an interview with a small sample of students at the University of Reading. Based on their responses to the questions posed to them, it was noted that the services and facilities that a university offers, social integration, students’ centeredness approaches, and pre-enrolment factors are some of the most important factors that influence the students’ level of satisfaction.
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