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Word frequency analysis - Part 2

Word frequency analysis - Part 2

(May 8, 2014)

This is the second part of a two-part blog series on our look at word-frequency analysis in our Strategic Planning survey questions.  As we discussed in our previous Part 1 post, word-frequency software uses statistics to identify frequently used key words in large pieces of text.  We've used this software to help us identify some general themes from the answers we received from you in the survey.  Here's what the software suggests as a general interpretation of your answers for questions 6 - 12, based on the amount of times key words and phrases were used:

Question 6: Is there anything about McNeese that is so fundamental that we should protect it against change?  
The answers to Question 6 showed that you consider some of our more unique traits to be important enough to protect against change.  Some of these include our name and logo, our motto, the personal interaction between students and faculty ("Excellence with a Personal Touch"), and our academic programs. 

Question 7: What threats should McNeese be guarding against over the next five years?
The main threats that were mentioned in the answers to Question 7 were identified as losses such as budget money, student enrollment and academic programs.

Question 8: What could McNeese do to improve student learning?
To improve student learning, answers for Question 8 suggested specific training, preparation and accountability for our students, as well as alternative methods of learning such as active learning, service-learning and an increased number of online classes.

Question 9:  What should McNeese be doing to increase enrollment and retention?
The most commonly used word in the answers for Question 9 was "students".  The context varied greatly from "providing greater resources for", to "advising", to "prepare".  The general feeling is that personal programs in place for students throughout their college careers would increase enrollment and retention.  There were also many answers that suggested an increase in advertising and recruitment efforts.

Question 10: If you could identify one aspect of the McNeese experience that "brands" us as distinct from other institutions, what would it be?
The most popular answers for Question 10 center on our small school size and personal touch atmosphere directly leading to the success and opportunities for our students.  Almost every group referred to our motto:  "Excellence with a Personal Touch."  The one-on-one interaction that students can experience at McNeese is a big factor in the eyes of the community as to what sets us apart from other universities.

Question 11: If McNeese could engage in just one activity that would excite you into wanting to contribute more of your time and/or resources, what would that activity be?
There was a wide range of answers for Questions 11.  Many of you expressed a great interest in getting directly involved with things on campus such as community service, helping with recruitment efforts and campus beautification projects - just to name a few.  There were also a number of answers that expressed an interest in supporting faculty, alumni groups and events in various ways. 

Question 12:  What ideas do you have about improving McNeese that have not already been mentioned?
Word frequency analysis is not much use in a catch-all category like this, since there was such a wide variety of suggestions and very little in the way of repetition.  For the responses to this question we will rely more heavily on item-by-item analysis.
Stay tuned to this blog as we begin the process of rolling out our SWOT (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) analysis, our "Hedgehog" analysis based on the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, and related observations.  Later, we will be digesting feedback from campus committees and administrative units in time to prepare a preliminary report for distribution to faculty and staff at our August retreat.  We'll keep you posted!