As we prepare to release the findings of the 2011 CIRP Freshman Survey on January 26th, the wheels are already well in motion for each of our 2012 surveys. I thought it might be worth it to preview some upcoming changes and improvements we have made to the each of the surveys for 2012. CIRP revisits and updates our surveys annually, both to stay relevant to the issues and concerns that are important on campuses of all types across the country as well as to continue our contributions to research in higher education. In general, when CIRP revises our surveys we:
- Refine existing questions and Constructs
- Add new items to reflect changing needs
- Improve the clarity of survey language
- Update terminology to reflect current pedagogy, technology, etc.
Perhaps the biggest change in 2012 comes in the CIRP Freshman Survey. After internal committee work, consultation with experts in higher education, and feedback from institutions we are pleased to unveil a newly revised majors list. We have expanded some of the categories, like engineering, biology and business to reflect the growing diversity of those majors. We also updated terminology and added majors to our technical category to broaden the range of possible majors. Because we know many of you will want to consider the implications of these new majors, we have created a crosswalk to help you plan ahead.
With this updated majors list, we have also changed the look of the survey a bit. Starting in 2012, you will notice the CIRP Freshman Survey has moved the majors to a tear-away flap attached to the survey instrument. Employing this flap means that there is more space on the survey itself for items that you, our users, have been asking us to include (yay!) It does, however, come with a bit of additional responsibility on the part of the institution. In order to process the surveys, the flap must be torn away before the surveys arrive at our processing center. This is easily accomplished by the students at the time they take the survey, or as surveys are being packaged up for processing. If our processing center has to remove the flaps, additional charges will apply. We certainly don’t want any of you to be surprised by additional processing charges, so we thought it best to let you know now. Additional information and reminders will of course be included with your CIRP Freshman Survey order, but we know the improvements we have made to the major categories far outweigh the extra step of removing the flap from the surveys.
The College Senior Survey (CSS) did not undergo any major revisions. The social and political values items were rotated in to match the items asked in the 2008 CIRP Freshman Survey.
The Your First College Year (YFCY) survey has additional items to examine validation (e.g. Faculty believe in my potential to succeed academically; Faculty provided me with feedback that helped me assess my progress in class) and navigation (How often have you used the following services: writing center; Used the institutions website to learn about campus resources). These items are designed to help institutions understand the processes that occur in and outside of the academic environment and how they foster academic and personal growth.
Changes to the Diverse Learning Environments (DLE) survey are minimal this year. We made a few language changes to bring the DLE in line with the items as they appear on other CIRP surveys, and we deleted several items. Since this survey is still relatively new, we intend to keep this survey fairly consistent as a practical matter for institution, so you can better make year-to-year comparisons.
Each survey has a “changes” document that can be found on our website. The changes document delineates the specific additions, deletions, and changes made to items. Of course, we would love to hear from you. Although I cannot ensure that every suggestion we hear will be implemented, but I can tell you that each suggestion is cataloged and discussed in our revision meetings. Please email your suggestions to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave them in the comments section below.