OFFICE OF INSTITUTIONAL RESEARCH & STUDENT OUTCOME ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE SENIOR EXIT SURVEY 2008 NUMBER OF RESPONSES 157 RESPONSE RATE 86% PART 1 TEAMWORK What role do you normally take when you are assigned to a group or team? I tend to permit others to direct and 14 manage the w ork 20 I simply do my part of the w ork 53 I try to help others do their part 44 94 I like to do as much as possible because I don’t rely on others 76 I try to understand the distribution of w ork before I begin I like to be the coordinator/leader of every team Which activities at AUBG have helped you the most to develop and enhance your teamwork skills? Membership in the Student Ambassadors’ club Membership in a university committee Membership in the RA team Participation in the Student Government 10 9 11 Theatre courses/ plays 14 23 Work for the student media (e.g. AURA, 30 Flashnew s, DeFacto) 20 Voluntary w ork for projects organized 35 by AUBG clubs (e.g. BCC, PTPI.) 141 Sports clubs membership and sports activities The projects/ simulations/ debates assigned for courses The overall AUBG experience has helped me to develop teamwork skills to: 0 1 does not apply not at all 6 a low level a medium level 68 a high level 82 Describe one experience that has been most important in developing your teamwork skills. • In class group projects, presentations, group studies, simulations, marketing research, tutoring etc. 55.4% • Co-curricular activities, student government, student clubs, RA team, student media, plays and musicals, sports etc. 31.8% • none or n/a 7.0% • Other 5.7% Describe one experience that has been most important in developing your teamwork skills. (continued) Examples: • Basically all university projects helped me develop my team skills. Every time I had to deal with different issues which helped me become more prepared of what I can expect when working in a team. • Being the president of More-honors for 2 years, Program Director of AURA for a year, Music Director of AURA for half a year. • For the presentation of one of my projects one of the team members has not come (without giving any notice in advance).I believe this case helped us be better prepared for future unexpected situations that arise constantly in the real business world. • I signed-up for the Renault-Nissan competition and I had to form a team. Therefore, I tried to find the appropriate persons for that and also to manage the whole process. By working with fellow students for an outside the university project made me understand the values of a team. • The RA team taught me how to take responsibility of my actions as well as others actions. It also taught me that I could rely on the person next to me for help and advice in a difficult situation • Well, this is mostly available for all group presentations or group project, where you have been assigned to work with people you have never worked with before - in this case, everybody is supposed to take his/her role seriously and manifest his/her true team work skills. • I had to work in a group where we had a problem with one of the members and we had to find a way to get the job done. • Mostly course team projects, especially in the COS courses, due to the very practical nature of the deliverables. • Presentations and group projects are very helpful because they build team responsibility, give experience, and develop skills for presentations PART 2 LEADERSHIP What is your definition of leadership? Organizing others, getting resources, and being responsible for the result Taking a risk and saying or doing w hat others are reluctant to do Show ing initiative and bringing new ideas to others 77 42 Seeing w hat needs to be done and influencing others to see it as w ell 81 73 Taking responsibility for creating meaningful experiences for myself and 71 others 65 Providing encouragement and support to others as they pursue their goals 60 29 Using my interpersonal skills to understand w hat is important to the group Having the opportunity to promote my ow n ideas Which activities/opportunities did AUBG provide you with that helped you the most to develop your leadership skills? Participating in an internship Serving as a research assistant/ course tutor/ peer advisor 45 Attending conferences/ study abroad 32 programs/ international competitions aw ay from campus 53 Competing in debates/case 68 competitions/ simulations on campus 21 Representing the student body 21 (through Student Government, a 43 committee, etc.) Serving as editor of a student media or captain of a team Forming a club or initiating a new student activity How important was AUBG for developing your leadership skills? 2 3 does not apply not important at all 36 somew hat important relatively important 73 extremely important 43 Give one example of a situation at AUBG when you took an active role as a leader. • In class group projects, presentations, group studies, simulations, marketing research etc. 41.4% • Co-curricular activities, student government, student clubs, conferences, RA team, student media, plays and musicals etc. 38.9% • none or n/a 15.3% • Other 4.5% Give one example of a situation at AUBG when you took an active role as a leader. (continued) Examples: • Always during team work I ended up organizing my group, distributing tasks, multitasking, doing reality checks,assigning deadlines etc. • I gave tutorials in mathematics to more than 200 students in 4 semesters. • I organized a tutoring team of 15 students in Accounting. • The Faculty search committee gave me the opportunity to take an active role in the choosing of new professors • The role as a team leader in all cases and projects in Corporate Finance II, where I had to coordinate all the work our team did. • Being an editor in chief for Verve this academic year was quite the active role as a leader. I initiated the creation of the website and introduced many new ideas that other media don't have. • For the past year I voluntarily created and instructed Pilates classes for the students of the AUBG. I consider that physical well-being is an important factor in learning abilities. In this sense, I wanted to add value to my peers’ learning experience. I initiated the classes, ordered the necessary equipment and hold classes at convenient hours so that the majority of interested parties could join. • I was chosen the team leader for one of my courses' group cases. In this respect, I had to coordinate all the other members of the team, to stimulate them to work hard and to submit the work on time, and also to solve some conflicts between members of the team. • The most common situations were when team members of a project were not performing satisfactory and were reluctant to do their part. This often required me to take more active role for control of the entire team and the way they done their responsibilities. • There were a number of cases throughout the four years in the university when I was the leader in our group projects and simulations. I believe, this was quite useful case and I have substantially improved my interpersonal and organizational skills. PART 3 CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY In what ways do you think individuals should demonstrate their civic responsibility? Treat members of the community respectfully. Get to know individuals in the community and understand their interests and needs. Attend the local theater, opera, and 86 museums. 59 Work to improve the natural environment. 22 Take an active part in supporting 57 Blagoevgrad community activities. 28 Find out w here and how to help better 93 the society. 72 Understand how the immediate social environment is organized and w here I fit in. What activities were you involved in while you were at AUBG? Worked w ith the Red Cross, Rotary, or other international organization. Hosted potential students. 12 Participated in trainings in the local schools w ith the Diversity Team. 18 9 Took part in activities of international 41 significance (e.g. People to People International). 44 Took part in clubs that interact w ith 18 the larger community (e.g., the Better 45 Community Club). Identified needs in the community and 70 contributed money to the cause. 32 Encouraged others to recycle and dispose of rubbish in separate w aste containers. Helped clean up the park or river bed. Assisted at the local orphanage. To what degree does AUBG provide encouragement and opportunities for students to understand and help in the wider community? 12 I lack fluency in Bulgarian so it is difficult to participate locally. 4 This is a non-issue for AUBG. Not very much. 23 Somew hat but you need to take 81 initiative. A great deal starting w ith volunteer activities during student orientation. 49 Name one thing that AUBG can do to further promote an awareness of the wider community/environment issues among AUBG students. Most of the graduates feel that the communication between AUBG and the Blagoevgrad community needs to be improved by joint events or projects. Another significant number of graduates believe that topics like "Environmentalism", "Recycling", "Civic Responsibility" etc. need to be incorporated in the academic program and be required for graduation. There are respondents who advise AUBG and its students to concentrate only on the Scaptopara region, by cleaning, recycling, and declaring it environment friendly. Some students think AUBG does enough to encourage Civic responsibility, others believe it is an "individual" thing and there are several graduates who do not have an opinion on the subject or consider it irrelevant. Name one thing that AUBG can do to further promote an awareness of the wider community/environment issues among AUBG students. (continued) Examples: • Advertise AUBG's carbon footprint and how to reduce it (save energy, stop using plastic bags and recycle) • AUBG needs to be somewhat more dedicated in inspiring students to take action on environmental/community issues. • Emphasize the impact the AUBGers have if involved. take a proactive approach and encourage students to take part and make a difference. • Encourage cooperation with and participation of AUBG students in non-AUBG organizations as well such as regional NGOs and NGOs operating on a national basis; example: AIESEC, "Student Initiatives for European Development", etc. • Get the university involved more in the Blagoevgrad environment. Make more business projects directly related to the local business culture. • I think AUBG does a fairly good job at this. If you would just continue in the same spirit, you'll be fine. However, if you could organize some kind of event, like the Olympics, when the students are obliged to help clean some area of the city, it could help educate civil responsibility in students more than by just creating clubs and letting the joining of the club to the students' discretion. • Include environmental issues in the handbook, set rules about recycling, place separate trash and recycling bins in the rooms, because you cant expect someone to walk to the end of the hallway to dispose of each plastic bottle, for example. They need to be collected somewhere first. • Make community service as part of the curriculum. • Keep at least the area around Skapto clean -it's a step; alert people to turn off the light when they are not in the rooms or not leave the water on if not needed; organize fundraising campaigns • Organize and inspire students to get involved in the community's well being - regular trips to the orphanage, maintaining a clean environment around Scapto to provide an example worth to be followed to the Blagoevgrad community. • Organize appealing volunteer work, through the university and try to balance opportunities for Bulgarians and internationals. Also, make it part of class work. PART 4 INTEGRITY How would you define integrity? Fitting in to the value system of the larger environment. 33 Doing w hat seems best for others 23 even if it is not w hat I w ant to do. 49 Alw ays being fully truthful even if it has negative consequences. 71 Respecting the rights and property 48 of others. 98 Know ing w hat is the right thing to do not just the expedient thing to do. Having a strong set of personal values that guide me. Which of the following behaviors have you engaged in while at AUBG? Accurately represented my achievements on my c.v. Treated others as I would expect to be treated. Took responsibility for my role in group projects even when pressed for time. 104 Avoided gossip or harmful criticism of 115 others. 114 Completed all assignment on my own 58 even if I knew it would affect my grade. 77 Respected copyright regulations for 47 images, music, movies, and TV 109 programs. Provided full citations for all information 15 used in my papers. 66 Kept my exam paper covered so it was not tempting to others. Given help but not the answers on homework assignments. To what degree has the overall AUBG experience refined your personal values and integrity? Not applicable, integrity should not be a University issue but only a 6 personal issue Not at all, AUBG has less impact than the overall environment in this 8 regard Very little, integrity is not 26 consistently valued at AUBG Moderately, there has been only 66 moderate discussion of matters of integrity 59 A great deal, expectations w ere clearly modeled by faculty and administration In what way has your experience at AUBG strengthened or weakened your understanding of personal integrity? Almost 60% of the graduates who filled out the survey state that AUBG had strengthened their understanding of personal integrity in various ways, such as courses in the program, academic policy, plagiarism and personal integrity lectures by professors. Only 15 students said that AUBG had not helped them at all in this matter, another 14 are neutral. 7 graduates have stated, that they had witnessed cheating go unpunished on several occasions during their study at AUBG and see it as a problem. In what way has your experience at AUBG strengthened or weakened your understanding of personal integrity? (continued) Examples: • Academic integrity standards at AUBG, as presented by Dean Sullivan during the orientation week, struck me as harsh in the beginning. But that was the attitude of a student coming from the former USSR. Later, I thought these guidelines are not harsh enough. Interesting... • I believe that AUBG is one the the very few universities in Bulgaria that truthfully promotes integrity. I believe that strict rules for plagiarism have definitely enhanced students integrity. • I have learned to rely only on myself and my personal abilities which helped me consolidate and further develop those abilities and skills so I can have more self-confidence and achieve more. • I have much higher awareness of this issue and my behavior has been modified. • In the way that I understand how important is the work of everyone by giving full credit to all sources I use in defending my point. • My integrity has strengthened seeing how students from disadvantaged economic backgrounds force themselves to get excellent results without resorting to anything unethical. • AUBG has helped me strengthen my understanding of personal integrity by the expectations set by the faculty, by courses such as Business Ethics, and by making us understand that everything should be our own work even if it is not the best one. • AUBG has taught me, most of all, to respect other people’s work. This has proven to be of much help not in AUBG specifically, but in the outside world (after AUBG). • I saw many students cheating in various ways. I did not weaken my understanding of integrity, but made me hope that the university will address the issue. • I would say that spending two years here has neither strengthened nor weakened my personal integrity, but rather given me a certain moral flexibility that I did not possess before. • It helped me understand how important it is to treat everyone with respect and advance on the base of my knowledge and skills,not through cheating and fraud • I've noticed that a lot of people choose saving time over integrity, I've done that myself too, and I'm not proud of it. • The anti-plagiarism policy and the constant interaction with people with different backgrounds made me realize the importance of having a constant set of moral values that would guide me in any situation. PART 5 INTELLECTUAL COMMUNITY What is your definition of a vibrant intellectual community? Feeling that there are many smart and engaging faculty and students to interact with. Being challenged to express my own ideas. 84 Discussing new ideas with faculty members as friends and 96 colleagues. 82 Having guest speakers and presentations from outstanding 103 individuals regularly available. 78 Learning from faculty who are interested in developing in their 95 fields. Participating in classroom 87 discussions and sharing different perspectives. Having an opportunity to study many different disciplines. Which of the following activities have you engaged in while at AUBG? Attended plays, concerts, and other cultural events. Sought out faculty to discuss non-course related issues and ideas. Kept up with international news via the Internet. 106 Read well beyond the 50 requirements for class. 101 Attended lectures and events 49 sponsored by my department. 106 95 Attended lectures and presentations outside my field or 75 major. 113 Regularly discussed world events. Debated with other students topics from class. What credit would you give to AUBG for your own level of intellectual vitality? None, I just w anted to get through my courses as best I could. 4 Very little, I did not find the courses and activities interesting. A moderate amount, I chose to do 87 w hat w as interesting to me. A great deal, I w as often challenged in my thinking. 66 Describe one experience that you found particularly intellectually stimulating. Almost all respondents have given an in-class example for a particularly intellectually stimulating experience. Senior thesis, class projects, in-class debates, presentations, lectures, final papers etc. dominate the responses. Some students have been impressed by outside lecturers and guests. A few graduates have described their student club or other extracurricular activities and even fewer have described conference or workshop participation. Describe one experience that you found particularly intellectually stimulating. (continued) Examples: • All the activities mentioned above such as debates and discussions with classmates and professors as well as attending different cultural events has really contributed to the creation of an environment that stimulates individuals intellectually. • In a group of three we had to improve the current FASB statement No. 52 regarding the treatment of financial translation that our professor found inadequate. The challenging part was not the fulfillment of this objective, but the fact that the members of my group had three different opinions. I handled the situation so these disagreements would be healthy, would not disrupt our communication and would contribute to a better decision making process. • The class projects were mostly related to current topics which made it stimulating and challenging knowing we are dealing with an actual real-time case. • The senior thesis experience was the most valuable one academically, because it shows students that everything they have done up to then is tiny and insignificant compared with the workload of producing an academic research paper which can turn out to be the foundation of your career. • Working with a professor on a research project outside of class. • Interaction with professors was certainly the primary reason for increased interest in subjects that were outside of my major field of study. Certain faculty members can very effectively encourage more involvement from students. However, AUBG did not have a lot of them during the years of my education. • My introduction to the world of literary criticism in Dr. Coleman's class. That was very stimulating. I had never approached literary works with such a wide range of tools for analysis, as well as theoretical perspectives. • Seeing representatives from the real business world. There nothing like first hand experience with them. • The long coffee talk with professors in the cafes of Blagoevgrad. Over there we were stripped off the boundaries student-professor and were talking freely not only about world-issues but even personal ones. PART 6 CROSS CULTURAL COMPETENCE What is the value of going to school with a diverse group of students and faculty? 70 Helps you understand yourself. 74 Makes you aw are of other life and career choices. 84 Gives you a global perspective on issues and ideas. Helps reduce stereotyping and 103 assumptions about others. Prepares you for w orking in a 114 multicultural w ork place. Introduces you to other cultures and w ays of thinking. 129 Which of the following activities have you engaged in while at AUBG? Took an active part in international week activities. Participated in diversity training. Was invited into and visited homes of faculty and friends. 27 Studied abroad and/or participated in 59 work and travel program. 52 91 Visited other countries that I was curious about. 71 50 Traveled in Bulgaria to get a better understanding of the country and its 56 people. 90 Sometimes socialized with friends of a different nationality or ethnic background from myself. Regularly socialized with friends of a different nationality or ethnic background than myself. To what extent do you feel you understand others from different backgrounds? Not at all, I prefer to spend time w ith 1 others w ho are more like me. A little, I am cautious in new and 2 different situations. A moderate amount, I seek out 45 different experiences carefully. A great deal, I am comfortable 109 interacting w ith those w ho are different from me. To what extent has AUBG achieved a culturally sensitive community? A little over a third of the respondents think that AUBG has done a great job in achieving a culturally sensitive and diverse community. These graduates, during their education at AUBG, had interacted a lot in and out of class with colleagues from different nationalities, races, and ethnic backgrounds. Around 27% of the graduates think AUBG has done a moderate job and say there is room for improvement. As described in these responses, students are still divided into groups from different nationalities and interact too seldom with people from other groups. Also, some international students feel there is too much Bulgarian language spoken and feel isolated. Close to 14% of the respondents think that AUBG has achieved nothing in promoting diversity and cultural sensitivity. These students describe different issues for the university regarding the matter, the strongest again being the division of the student body into different "closed groups" or communities. To what extent has AUBG achieved a culturally sensitive community? (continued) Examples: • AUBG is culturally sensitive in some areas, like ethnicities, religions, but not in others. However, AUBG does practically nothing to make LGBQ (gay) students feel comfortable and want to come out. Aside of diversity training, the issue is never mentioned, there are no periodical subscriptions in the library, and the Balkan attitudes of students regarding the subject are allowed to prevail. That is why I have known of maybe 2-3 gay students, which is not normal for a student body of over 1000. • AUBG still has to work on achieving a culturally sensitive community. The different ethnic groups often keep separate from the community and interact more with its members rather than other ethnic groups. The Bulgarian majority is often intimidating for the international students. There is often a feeling of being an outsider. Even with grants and scholarships, the great majority offered are for Bulgarian students specifically, which is a bit discriminating. • AUBG succeeded to attract students with diverse cultural backgrounds. In this sense, it had to ensure a healthy interaction among its students. AUBG managed to create an inclusive culture through its diversity training, promoting working in teams, offering opportunities for socializing etc. These efforts ensured the creation of a healthy community where there is no place for prejudices or disrespect. • Bravo, AUBG taught me that it is the person that matters and not the nationality. I can say that I am a citizen of the world. I would never ever think of fighting for a national cause, only human cause. • I can gladly say that AUBG has achieved this to a great extent, because it is an amazing community where many different cultures are brought together, which really fulfills the purpose. • It's location in the first place. AUBG mostly targets students from the Balkan, who had to face prejudice and discrimination up to an extent many times. Having in mind, that at AUBG, such problems do not manifest themselves to that extent, I think AUBG achieved to make a culturally sensitive community. • To the extent that when I saw one day whom I was having dinner with, I noticed a Serbian, a Moldovan, a German, another Bulgarian, and an Albanian. And it was fun. HOWEVER, not everyone at AUBG would do that. There is still a lot to be done. A huge problem is that nationalities still stick together too much. • There's a lot to be done, especially on behalf of Bulgarian students, faculty and staff, as most of the time they neglect the fact, that they are not just at home, in Bulgaria, but are a part of an INTERNATIONAL university, where there are many non-Bulgarians. PART 7 PREPARATION FOR CAREER What attributes are important for career success? The ability to accept criticism in order to improve performance. A good understanding of w hat is expected of you w hen you start w orking (e.g. the norms of the w orkplace). 92 Self confidence that one can meet the standards. 74 113 Persistence, hard w ork , and ability to handle w orkload. 123 131 Mastery of good communication skills. 94 73 Specific practical skills in a field. A broad education in many fields. Which of the following AUBG activities will help you most in your career? Career Center guidance 23 Netw orking 74 Team projects 120 Multicultural environment 70 Extracurricular activities (e.g. 72 Student Clubs) Work Study 24 46 Internship(s) 99 Demanding courses To what extent do you feel prepared for work when you graduate? 3 Not applicable, I am going to graduate school first 3 Not at all prepared Somew hat prepared 21 Moderately prepared 69 Very w ell prepared 61 What changes should AUBG make in order to improve the career preparation of the students? Many of the graduates feel that their education at AUBG lacked practice and give several types of suggestions to solve this problem - mandatory internships in each major, more practice oriented courses, guest lecturers from companies, more class projects and case studies etc. Another significant number of graduates are not satisfied with the "lack of variety in the courses offered in their majors" on the benefit of "too many Gen Ed courses." Hiring of more and practice oriented faculty is another suggestion that appears often in the responses. As seen in the second question of this section, students need more interaction with the Career Center and many of the respondents have given their suggestions here - better presence and interaction of the center with the students starting in their freshman year, bigger variety of companies at the Job Fair, more frequent Job Fairs, more job opportunities at the Job Fair for graduates with other than BUS and JMC majors, etc. What changes should AUBG make in order to improve the career preparation of the students? (continued) Examples: • Students should start learning about career options from Freshman year on. There should be a whole campaign targeted toward freshmen/sophomores/juniors. • AUBG should do more in clarifying the career prospects of each major. • AUBG should organize courses so that they are more practically oriented. • Every major should have a required internship. • Facilitate job placement and internship placement for international students as well. The majority of companies invited at job fairs and career events are interested to hire locals for Bulgaria. Internationals are left out on their own. • Force courses to be more career-wise and be aware with modern trends and career opportunities • Give students a better understanding from the beginning. From orientation week and keep reminding them of why they're learning. maybe even start before student come to AUBG, so they can have a better preparation of their own. • Improve the job fair event, so that it is not only booths with employers, but also presentations, more employers interested not only in Bulgarian students. • Invite alumni students to share their individual and work experience after graduation. • Pay more attention to and concentrate on the practical exercises in class in order to prepare students for real life after AUBG and not only for theoretical issues. • The relationship between the professor and the student should be closer when it comes to career. The students should feel comfortable to go to their professors for advice regarding their future career. • Update students constantly and help them choose their majors in the first place. Also ask professors to discuss such topics with their students while in class, or outside of class. FINAL QUESTION Taken altogether, what is the main competitive advantage of AUBG? • Multicultural environment and diversity 30.7% • Quality of the education, faculty, students 36.1% • Style of education 28.9% • Other 4.2% Note: Students who left this question without an answer are not included. Some students gave more than one answer. Taken altogether, what is the main competitive advantage of AUBG? (continued) Examples: • A diverse student body, rich in ambitious and intellectually curios students and also a very active extracurricular life. • AUBG gives the opportunity to develop knowledge in more than just one field. Having the option to do a double major is a great advantage. • AUBG is a multicultural institution, which promotes honesty and creates the necessary environment for personal development of its students. • International students, liberal education (you can choose what to study), it's all about choice (life is about choice), student has the responsibility of all his actions, world class professors. • It definitely opens up your mind and way of thinking. You don't just learn new material; you create a framework of analyzing and doing things that goes beyond mere content. • Liberal arts education that provides students with transferable skills and encourages active citizenship. • Multicultural environment Diversity of courses (liberal arts curriculum) Visibility in the region -- attracts prominent guest speakers Great opportunities to network/opportunities for personal development Lively out-of-class environment Nice geographic location (not too far from other countries and other parts of Bulgaria) • The community spirit and the motivation to advance and strive to achieve excellence • The main advantage of AUBG is that it makes you become an open-minded and "out-of-the- box" person, to use a cliché. I believe that what is important for the success of a person is not the ability to do something well, but the confidence that he can do anything he sets his mind on. This attitude comes naturally at AUBG. Taken altogether, what is the main competitive advantage of AUBG? (continued) Examples: • The Credibility that this university has among the people in the region. Good Faculty, multi- ethnic community, wide network of activities that happen in order to promote its graduates as people ready to take responsibility in the work force • Unique for the region education and experience • The career realization of AUBG alumni is its best advantage • AUBG is a multicultural institution, which promotes honesty and creates the necessary environment for personal development of its students. • Great education in a friendly and at the same time competitive environment great lecturers, a wide variety of extracurricular activities, demanding curriculum, multicultural environment having the opportunity to interact with a great number of professors not necessarily in one's field of study. • Its campus orientation and vibrancy of extra-curricular activities, together with the U.S. diploma and the good reputation. The alumni network!! • Its culture sits in between eastern and western, especially American. AUBG provides American style education, with a more relaxed, European atmosphere. • The fact that it provides a unique set of resources, be it people, clubs, classes, all at the same place, all helping an individual find his way.
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