Wednesday, June 2, 2010

K Students Lack Knowledge of Their Own Education

Although Kalamazoo College students are generally known as being among the brightest collegiate minds in the state, there is one pop quiz that most at “K” would fail. Ask the average student to name the parts of the K Plan, and you are likely to receive only a blank stare or wry grin in reply.

Our findings show that only 8% of Kalamazoo students can name all four parts of the K Plan, which includes the liberal arts curriculum, internships/externships, study abroad, and the Senior Individualized Project. Astonishingly, approximately one-third of the student body does not know any parts of the K Plan. Thus, it seems the plan is not consciously utilized to guide the educational experience of students at the college as much as is advertised throughout the admissions process.

Interestingly, our research seems to indicate that it would benefit the school and its students to increase awareness regarding the K Plan. Beginning with those that knew only one part of the K Plan, the average satisfaction steadily rose for each group that could name an additional part. Those that could name all four parts rated their satisfaction with the K Plan at an average of 7.63 out of 10. In contrast, those that could name only one part rated it at 6.31 out of 10. The group that could not name any parts proved to be a bit of an anomaly (or evidence that, to an extent, ignorance is bliss) with the second highest satisfaction rating for the K plan at 7 out of 10.

A logical place to begin remedying this unawareness is in the offices of academic advisors. One might expect advisors to use the K Plan as a tool to help students understand and design their overall education at K. However, 71% of students reported that they did not talk to their advisors at all about the K Plan this year.

Regardless of what Kalamazoo College decides to do, it looks as though the addition of some institutional education would be a helpful addition to the curriculum.

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