At Redeemer University College, students are individuals, not numbers: this was the main takeaway from the reflections of 156 second- and third-year Redeemer students. In a survey of 24 Canadian schools, 90 per cent of Redeemer students — and only 60 per cent of students at schools of Redeemer’s size and 72 per cent at Canadian universities — were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” by the concern their school showed for each student as an individual.
The 2017 survey, designed by the Canadian University Consortium, gathered the feedback of 56,034 second- and third-year students. Each year, Redeemer administers a survey designed by the research group, cycling between first-year, middle-year and graduating students.
In teaching, learning and pedagogy, Redeemer scored highest in almost all categories. “The most positive aspects,” wrote one student, “have been the professors and students who make an effort to ensure I am doing my best and have the support needed to do well. I have had many faculty members who truly care about how I am doing and ensure I not only understand their course material, but know how I can apply it outside of class.”
To put it in numbers, 94 per cent of second- and third-year Redeemer students report that their professors take personal interest in the academic progress of their students. A nearly unanimous 99 per cent of students attested to Redeemer professors’ knowledge of their field. “The professors are extremely knowledgeable about their classes and are enthusiastic about what they’re talking about,” another student said. “I love the small class sizes, how personable the professors are and their interest in you as a person. I have also enjoyed the opportunity of being a research assistant for one of my professors.”
“Redeemer has been a positive environment for growing in my faith and asking hard questions, working through them with friends and mentors.”
Students also reflected on the ways Redeemer contributes to their overall growth and development. By leaps and bounds, Redeemer outpaced Canadian universities and similarly sized institutions in its investment in students’ spiritual development — with 79 per cent of Redeemer students reporting that their university is contributing to their spiritual growth. Overall, Redeemer second- and third-year students answered that their school contributed “much” or “very much” to their life, work, analytical, learning and communication skills more often than did their peers from Canadian universities and from universities of the same size. “Redeemer has been a positive environment for growing in my faith and asking hard questions, working through them with friends and mentors,” a student commented. “The students, professors and staff are all friendly, welcoming and genuinely care about your well-being. The residence setup — townhouses — is great. Living in community with seven dorm-mates is a great way to get to know other people and their experiences and to learn how to work as a team despite our differences.”
There is room for Redeemer to continue to increase internship and co-op opportunities and to continue to invest in career mentoring with its newly launched Centre for Experiential Learning and Careers. While a greater number of Redeemer students have talked about their career path with their professors and volunteered in their chosen field — 61 per cent and 46 per cent, respectively — than have the students of peer institutions, the number of second- and third-year Redeemer students who have attended an employment fair and worked in their field, at 17 and 20 per cent, lags behind that of other Canadian schools.
The 2017 Canadian University Consortium survey highlights the excellence of education and student experience at Redeemer and underscores the investments for the future that the university is making with its 2020 Strategic Plan. The plan prioritizes the renewal of Redeemer’s academic program — a focus that includes increasing the number of experiential learning opportunities available across the curriculum. Redeemer is committed to tripling the programs with co-op by 2020 and to providing work-integrated learning opportunities across its programs.
“We are grateful each year for the feedback of our students. This year, we noted the impact that our 2020 strategic plan initiatives have already made on our students’ educational experience,” reflects Dr. Kyle Spyksma, acting vice-president, academic. “We also look forward to the ways the Centre for Experiential and Careers will continue to strengthen our preparation for students as they connect their sense of calling with a career. Each year, the Canadian University Consortium survey results reflect the dedication and care that is so intrinsic to Redeemer as we prepare this next generation of leaders academically, personally and spiritually for life after graduation.”