Measuring student satisfaction with their studies in an International and European Studies Department G.V.Diamantis 1, V . K . B e n o s 2 University of Piraeus, 80 Karaoli & Dimitriou Street, 18534 Piraeus, Greece
The satisfaction the students receive from their studies is of great importance. This paper considers ways through which the measurement of service quality could determine the status of a University department in International and European Studies (IES). Student satisfaction is reliant on factors such as the curriculum, the range of the academic subjects taught, the academic staff training, the teaching materials, the social and intellectual experiences furnished by the institution. This research shows that the IES department enjoys a high rate of student satisfaction in comparison to the rest of the academic departments in the University and suggests some improvements and adjustments especially regarding the total number of contact hours per semester as well as the teaching methods used.
Keywords: Education, Quality Management, Satisfaction Measurement
The concept of quality is an important feature in life, in the sense that we are all clients and consumers of goods and services and desire to obtain the best possible "bargain" for the money and time we invest in obtaining them. This has led to quality management approaches, designed to produce products and services of good quality and to guarantee this quality for the consumer. It has also stimulated the development of methods of assessment and evaluation of the promised quality. Language learning and education in general have also been affected. Education authorities are increasingly applying quality assurance and quality control techniques in the management of schools-universities and teaching programmes. Inspection systems are also being developed to promote methods by which high quality can be ensured. Elliott and Shin (2002) state that higher education is
1Department of International and European Studies, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 2 Department of Statistics and Insurance Science
Operational Research. An International Journal / Vol.7, No.1 / January - April 2007
increasingly recognising the fact that it is a service industry and as such is placing greater emphasis on meeting the expectations and needs of students. Institutional evaluation represents one of the most modern and interesting issues of higher education systems. The need for such an assessment has been primarily prompted by the innovative nature and the restricted number of similar academic departments world-wide. The study by Politis and Siskos (2004) highlights the strengths and weaknesses that the department has recognised for itself and the effectiveness of the department's strategic approach to quality management. The available evidence demonstrates both the department's capacity for critical selfevaluation and its willingness to act upon that self-evaluation. An analysis of the results sheds further light on the ways in which provision of quality service in universities can be affected by the perceptions the students have of the academic staff and their studies. Elliott and Shin (2002) have shown that student satisfaction has a positive impact on student motivation, student retention and recruiting efforts. On the other hand Pickering (2004) and Stuart (2004) are arguing that there is a tendency to think that the most important thing is the feedback from the students, from the learners but that it is equally important to get feedback from the academic staff. Students' satisfaction is of vital importance for every higher education institution because it (1) promotes its internal restructuring; (2) enhances its image; (3) focuses on student expectation and needs; (4) provides data which will assist the students performance in the labour...