Bok Urges Students To Return Surveys

President Bok and administrators met with students yesterday to work out the collection of a survey of undergraduates that will help shape the College's agenda over the next five years.

At the meeting, Bok, several College deans and house masters urged 24 leaders of house committees and the Undergraduate Council to encourage their classmates to fill out the comprehensive study of undergraduate life.

The survey will be distributed to upperclassmen this weekend and house committee members and council members will collect the survey booklets on April 14, 18 and 19.

At the meeting, Bok said the 18-page questionnaire on College life was part of his efforts to develop a "more systematic approach to educational change and reform." And Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III said afterwards that the survey "will build a nice agenda for us to work on the next five years."

Administrators involved with the study have called the project "Bok's baby," and the President will chair a public forum on its results later this spring. Bok personally offered $500 to the house returning the highest percentage of surveys. The money will go to the winning house committee.


The Office of Instructional Research and Evaluation (OIRE)--which is handling the study--is also offering $100 to every house which returns 75 percent or more of the questionnaires.

All upperclassmen living on campus and DudleyHouse affiliates, 4957 in total, will receivecopies of the survey. Freshmen and the 113non-resident house affiliates will not be polled,said OIRE director Dean K. Whitla.

The survey aims "to cover most of the importantissues in undergraduate life," Bok said. Questionsrange widely from personal student concerns tosocial, academic and institutional evaluations.They include academic advising, race relations,sexual harassment, the quality of house life,community service and drug and alcohol abuse.

"I think [the administration] might feel alittle detached right now and need to find whatthe students feel," said Kirkland House committeechair Sean E. Rockett '89, who attended themeeting.

Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57 said thesurvey dealt with many "ongoing" undergraduateissues, such as requests for a student center andmore student-faculty contact. "We hope we mightget some very useful information for the longrange to do a number of things," Jewett said.

"University Hall will look very carefully" atthe results, Bok said. Epps said that while theCollege was not ready to make any proposals forimmediate change, survey results will help"establish priorities" on many areas ofundergraduate life under public debate.

"This is not just an idle exercise," Bok said.Many universities have little idea how well theyperform, Bok said. "Higher education is very muchon the information-poor and ignorant side of thespectrum," he said.

The survey could help bring about change, Boksaid, because it formalizes evaluation of theCollege and provides empirical proof for studentcomplaints. Furthermore, if the results pointclearly to specific problems, they could promptthe faculty and administration to act.

The methods of collecting the survey will varyfrom house to house and College officials saidtheir goal is a 75 percent response rate to thequestionnaires. Whitla said that in the past,similar surveys have garnered 68-75 percentresponse rates