Category Archives: Surveys

Student Survey Launch

I must be a nerd when I get excited by the launch of a survey!

This morning, if all went as planned, all law students received an email with a link to a new survey about their experiences as law students at Pepperdine.  As the dean of students, I am particularly interested in knowing where we are meeting the expectations of students and where there is room for improvement.

Our students participated in the national Law School Survey of Student Engagement in 2006 and 2013, but this is the first opportunity the law school has taken to develop our own instrument (in conjunction with Pepperdine’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness) so that we can ask our own specific questions.  Last year, I did a test run of a survey with our third-year students, but this year’s survey is extended to all of our students.

Once the survey concludes in late February and the results are compiled, we should receive fascinating insight into the makeup of our student body and their opinions on all aspects of the law school.  What I find even more exciting is our ongoing use of this survey instrument so that we can track responses from year to year (i.e., if 1Ls’ opinions change as they become 2Ls, and then 3Ls).

Okay, as I re-read my post, I really must be a nerd.  🙂

Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE)

How does a school know if it’s doing a good job preparing students? Should we really trust US News and World report to define schools against one another?

This past spring semester, students at Pepperdine Law participated in the  Law School Survey of Student Engagement.  The survey, taken by over 28,000 law students from almost 100 different law schools in the US and Canada helps law school administrations capture essential information to help create more “learner-centered law schools”.

While news magazines may rank, student-to-teacher ratio, LSAT scores,  library holdings and employment rates. This kind of information doesn’t really tell us much about what is most important to student learning.  “Law Schools want to know whether an institution’s programs and practices are having the desired effect on students’ activities, experiences, and outcomes.” says LSSSE Director, Carol Silver

LSSSE attempts to capture this information with detailed and directed questions about how students spend their time, what they feel they’ve gained from their classes, their assessment of the quality of interactions with faculty and friends, and information about important activities.  All of this information is then complied into separate analytic reports to help school administrators identify data around four general themes. 1) Think Like a Lawyer 2) Student-faculty interaction 3) student advising 4) law school environment.

Our 2013 LSSSE results were received this past week and I’m so excited to begin digging through the data to learn more about the job Pepperdine Law is doing in preparing our students (in our student’s eyes).  The findings should be available later this summer but I’ll be sure to post an executive summary at some point in July.