NSU Focus Group for branding NSU

Norfolk State University held the first of a series of focus groups on May 8th,2014 involving various staff populations represented at the college, including: Faculty, Staff, and Classified Employees.
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May 9, 2014 - PRLog -- Norfolk State University held a focus group discussion with various staff representing the different population of campus community on May 8th, 2014 The focus group was conducted as part of the College’s involvement in New Brand.  Participants provided information in two ways: written responses and group discussion.

The discussion was designed to gather information from the staff in regard to the following outcomes:

1.          To understand what motivates students to pursue higher education

2.          To understand how students perceive the college’s effectiveness in meeting their needs

3.          To understand what impact responsibilities outside of school  have on a student’s potential for academic success

4.          Safety, the perception and effectiveness of security

5.          To understand the importance of various college services in helping students reach their academic goals

6.          To understand students’ academic experience at the college and what helps or hinders their success

7.          To understand the role of relationships in student persistence and success

8.          To understand what the college does well to help students succeed and what the college needs to improve to help students succeed

Participant Demographics

·          Six women and three men

·          3 were 25-44 years old  6 were 45-60 years old

·          All identified themselves as black non-Hispanic

·          2 of the 9 are employed at NSU less than 1 year

·          3 of the 9 were called to help the University

·          1 of the 9 represented essential personnel

Outcome 1: To understand what motivates students to pursue higher education

Why are the students in college?

·          To transfer to a four-year college or university

·          To focus on academics

·          To pursue a specific career

·          To learn new job-related skills for promotion

·          To broaden their social circle and gain opportunities for networking

·          They were encouraged by parents or friends

·          They were encouraged by high school teachers or counselors

What are staff members doing to change students’ perceptions of the college?

All participants spoke on experiences with students and taking a position on investing in the students from a  genuine stand point.

Positive Features of the College

The one overwhelmingly positive attribute mentioned by participants is the beautiful campus.

Even the Proctors mentioned the real estate of NSU and all of the development.

Other positives include:

·          low tuition – in comparison to other institutions

·          strong academics  - STEM Technology

·          amenities –

·          accommodating programs –

·          availability of activities

Negative Features of the College

·          The one resounding complaint across all groups of students is registration. They strongly object to the inconvenience, long lines, confusion, and red tape. Comments included: “Registration is a waste of time. People working registration can’t find the information… “Registration is extremely frustrating. There is too much red tape and going from room to room unnecessarily.”

·          Several participants commented that there is not enough useful information about college available: they did not get as much information about college as they would have liked in high school; orientation was focused on a tour and not what the college has to offer; students have to ask questions rather than be told information.

What was a positive note was no mention on security or the issues of the police initiatives

Recommended Changes

It is clear from the responses and discussions that staff feels students and potential students are committed to getting an education. They want a more customer-friendly, service-oriented environment; they want to get rid of the obstacles and have their needs met. Participants point to other colleges that do a better job in this area. They offer several ideas about changes that they believe would make it easier for them to learn about the college and make it more manageable and pleasant to attend the college. Recommended changes fall into three major categories: customer service, communications, and class offerings.

Customer Service:

·          Improve and streamline registration process utilize technology. Offer online and telephone registration. Offer credit card payment of tuition on line with apps and over the phone.

·          Upgrade customer service in general: provide knowledgeable, pleasant staff who can make decisions. Not just on Gates but for all departments to buy in to the new adjustments.


·          Make more information on programs and services available to students, potential students, and high school counselors, in a format (and in languages) they can understand.

·          Provide more outreach and detailed information about programs to high school counselors.

·          Have college counselors at each of the area high schools.

·          Advertise more. I mentioned indoor advertisement utilizing static images in common areas to replace information board concept.

·          Make information more readily available on the Internet. With updates quarterly and HTML codes checked and beta tested for different browsers to enhance internet experience.

Class Offerings:

·          Offer broader selection of classes and more full-time professors to evening and weekend students.

These things will help with the brand or the NEW brand of NSU

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