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U. to solicit feedback for deans, support staff

Initiative launched in response to concerns about effectiveness of student support services

The University plans to implement a questionnaire as soon as next month that will let students provide feedback on their meetings with deans and staff members, said Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services and interim dean of the College.

Health Services has offered a similar feedback form since fall 2012, and Psychological Services followed suit by launching a similar form March 20.

The survey will contain questions aimed at assessing the effectiveness of deans and staff members, such as “Did you get the information that you were seeking?,” “Did you feel listened to during the appointment?” and “Any concern that you have or anything else that you want to report?” Klawunn said.

The deputy dean of the College and the senior associate dean of student life will review the collected responses with hopes of improving services, she said, adding that certain noteworthy responses may require closer examination.

Administrators began planning the questionnaire in direct response to a question raised by Alvina Pillai ’14 at President Christina Paxson’s State of Brown address in March, Klawunn said.

“I asked about whether or not there already was, or whether or not there would be, some sort of formal way of collecting students’ feedback to assess the efficacy of deans, support staff,” Psych Services staff and others, Pillai told The Herald.

Pillai said she was inspired to ask the question by recent conversations about the issue of mental health on campus, and by her interactions with deans and staff members. “In those conversations, people have brought up really awful interactions with some of the deans and some providers of Psych Services,” she said, adding that she “also had a less-than-stellar interaction with one dean.”

Health Services offers students a feedback survey online, said Jennifer Hodshon, assistant director of Health Services. The form aims to gather feedback for Health Services staff members to do everything they can to meet students’ needs, she said.

Health Services’ form is anonymous and asks students not to include specific medical information to maintain confidentiality, said Deborah Nagle, senior application support specialist.

Psych Services also recently launched a pilot paper form for students to provide input after their appointments with providers.

“We want students to be able to provide specific feedback and comments, so it is more of a narrative form where there will be space for students to write in feedback and then also questions about how we might improve our services,” said Sherri Nelson, director of Psych Services.

Nelson stressed the importance of confidentiality. “We feel that would certainly impair our credibility with students if we were to breach confidentiality,” she said.

If the form were made available online, Psych Services would ensure that confidentiality would be maintained, as well as anonymity if students desired it, she added.

As the office moves forward with the form, Nelson said she would partner with her staff to review the feedback and “use the information we got to inform our annual review of policy and procedure,” adding that some cases will necessitate individual follow-ups.


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