TWIN FALLS — Nine in 10 College of Southern Idaho students surveyed in the spring said their entire college experience has been “good’ or “excellent.”

CSI’s board of trustees heard a report Sept. 18 about results from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement. It’s given at community colleges nationwide to gauge how plugged in students feel on campus and whether they feel supported as they pursue their education.

CSI uses the results to help shape revisions to its yearly strategic plan – what the college needs to focus on and areas for improvement.

“We’re looking at how engaged our students are,” said Chris Bragg, CSI’s associate dean of institutional effectiveness.

CSI has given the survey — developed by the University of Texas at Austin — to students for at least 15 years. It received this year’s results about a month ago.

Across the CSI campus, students are asked to spend one class period each spring filling out a survey.

Trustee Jan Mittleider said the results are “good, hearty data” on where the college needs to be going and how to improve. “I think this is very exciting.”

Board chairman Karl Kleinkopf said he hasn’t seen this kind of data often at the college and it’s very good.

Each fall, a committee at CSI looks at annual strategic plan revisions and sets benchmarks for the next fiscal year.

The plan will go to the CSI board in February and will be submitted to the Idaho State Board of Education in March, for approval over the summer.

Bragg shared with CSI trustees a few results from the student engagement survey.

One of them: About 80 percent of students start their college education at CSI — much higher than most U.S. community colleges, but CSI is also more geographically isolated, he said.

Survey results are above and below the U.S. average for other community colleges from 2013-17 for a question about how often students worked harder to meet their instructor’s expectations.

Results also bounced around over the years for whether students feel they’re acquiring the knowledge and skills they’ll need for the workplace.

Over the years, between 73 and 80 percent of CSI students surveyed said the college emphasizes helping them get the support they need to succeed in college.

Between 96 and 97 percent surveyed would recommend the college to a friend or family member.

During their meeting, trustees also:

Approved a Head Start/Early Head Start report.

The program is putting in a request for about $6.6 million in federal government funding for the upcoming budget year, director Mancole Fedder said.

The bulk of it will go toward providing Head Start services for 457 preschool-age children. About $1.1 million is to provide Early Head Start services to 92 younger children.

CSI’s Head Start/Early Head Start program has 147 employees.

Heard a campus technology update.

CSI is continuing to work on a project to upgrade its website, but has missed some status dates, said chief technology officer Kevin Mark.

That was affected largely by having to make many decisions about the website’s design and content, he said.

Another factor: some severe issues with Jenzabar, a student information software system CSI uses, Mark said.

Heard a presentation given to state legislators earlier this month in Mini-Cassia.

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