An analysis of MSW student satisfaction: A comparison of field instruction and faculty influence
While many MSW programs routinely conduct assessments of their students' satisfaction, few studies have evaluated how field instruction and other aspects of the academic program relate to satisfaction with the MSW program and the graduate school experience. The aim of this study was to determine how various components of graduate social work education are associated with MSW students' satisfaction, and determine which factor (if any) had the strongest influence on satisfaction outcomes. This study is a secondary data analysis of the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany MSW Exit Survey (N=356). Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to evaluate (1) the fit between the conceptual model and the data, (2) the indicators as reasonable measures, and (3) the impact of satisfaction with faculty, field instruction, faculty availability, course variety, advisement services, and career counseling on students' satisfaction with their MSW program and their overall education. Nested model comparisons were used to assess if field instruction or faculty had a stronger influence on student satisfaction. Satisfaction with faculty, field, course variety, advisement services, and career counseling were found to be statistically significant predictors of student satisfaction with the MSW program. Satisfaction with faculty, field, course variety and career counseling were statistically significant predictors of student satisfaction with their overall educational experience. Students' satisfaction with faculty was the strongest predictor of satisfaction with the MSW program and satisfaction with overall education. The data suggests that social work programs interested in effectively using student satisfaction survey data a take a more critical look at their programs and consider their students' perspective. Development of satisfaction surveys more specific to graduate social work programs is recommended. MSW students should be informed that their survey responses lead to program enhancement and faculty should be involved in the process.
0745: Higher education