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Statewide Survey Finds Strong Perceptions of UW, Education Quality

December 14, 2020
man sitting in a simulation control chair
Nicholas Shields, a mechanical engineering student from Littleton, Colo., works in the state-of-the-art Drilling and Completions Simulation Laboratory in UW’s new Engineering Education and Research Building with instruction from Senior Lecturer Tawfik Elshehabi. UW receives high marks from the people of Wyoming for the quality of education it provides, including preparing students to participate in the state’s workforce. (UW Photo)

A large majority of Wyoming residents believe the University of Wyoming provides strong undergraduate education, prepares students to participate in the state’s workforce, and is an appealing place for Wyoming students to attend college, new survey results show.

Additionally, 64 percent of Wyomingites believe UW is spending its budget wisely, and 60 percent say the university does an excellent or good job responding to the needs of the state, according to the biennial election-year survey conducted by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center at UW.

Asked to rate the university the same way students are graded, 31 percent of respondents gave UW an “A,” and 37 percent offered a “B” rating, with the average of all responses equating to 3.10 on a 4.0 scale.

This year’s statewide telephone survey of 614 Wyoming residents was conducted in October, with cellular and landline phone numbers randomly generated to ensure equal probability of selection for all Wyoming residents. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

“We’re delighted that the people of Wyoming regard their state’s university highly,” UW President Ed Seidel says. “We intend to do everything we can to build on that foundation and increase our educational and research excellence, as well as our level of service to the state, during a time when the state needs us perhaps more than ever.”

UW received particularly high marks for the quality of education students receive.

Twenty-three percent rated UW’s performance as excellent in “providing an excellent undergraduate education,” with 45 percent rating it good (68 percent combined, up from 64 percent two years ago).

Asked to rate UW’s performance in “educating young people to participate in Wyoming’s workforce,” 19 percent said excellent and 42 percent good (61 percent combined, 1 point higher than two years ago).

Asked “How well do you think UW appeals to Wyoming students and their families as a desirable place to attend college?,” 26 percent responded excellent and 61 percent good (87 percent combined, up 2 points from two years ago). Just 7 percent said “fair” and 1 percent “poor.”

Asked if UW has steadily improved during the past several years, 60 percent expressed agreement (down 2 points from two years ago). The percentage of those who believe UW is spending its budget wisely is 63 percent (up 6 points from two years ago). And 69 percent agree that UW and the state’s community colleges are working together to provide high-quality education for Wyoming students (down 2 points from two years ago).

Respondents were asked to rate UW’s performance -- excellent, good, fair, poor or “don’t know/not sure” -- on several other issues.

-- Regarding the university’s efforts to maintain a safe campus for students, employees and visitors, 23 percent rated the performance as excellent and 45 percent as good (68 percent combined, up 5 points from two years ago).

-- On the issue of “being responsive to the needs of the state and its citizens,” 14 percent rated UW’s performance as excellent and 46 percent as good (60 percent combined, up 4 points from two years ago).

-- On whether UW has “a strong level of engagement with your community,” 19 percent said excellent and 37 percent good (56 percent combined, up 1 point from two years ago).

-- In rating UW’s performance on the topic of “keeping tuition as low as possible,” 18 percent responded excellent, 35 percent good, 24 percent fair and 6 percent poor.

-- Regarding UW’s performance in having athletic teams that are competitive nationally, 15 percent said excellent and 44 percent good (59 percent combined, up 10 points from two years ago).

Eighty-six percent of survey respondents did not have a degree from UW. Of those who did, 49 percent rated the quality of their UW educational experience as excellent and 43 percent as good (92 percent combined). Asked about the relevance of their educational experience, 43 percent rated it excellent and 44 percent good (87 percent combined).

Complete survey results may be found here.

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