Wednesday November 21, 2007

Number One

The University of Dayton, known for its welcoming atmosphere, ranks first in the world in an international student satisfaction survey.

The University of Dayton ranks number one in international student satisfaction compared with other universities both in the United States and overseas, according to the International Student Barometer, the largest survey of international student satisfaction in the world.

The ranking places UD ahead of more than 55 international universities and colleges that use the ISB as an indicator of student satisfaction in three areas: learning services, living services and support services. The ISB drew on feedback from more than 150,000 students during the last two years.

"We are proud to see our commitment to create an inclusive, welcoming atmosphere is succeeding and is recognized by our international students, said Daniel J. Curran, president of the University of Dayton. "We are especially honored by this distinction because it is based on the experiences of our most important and critical reviewers — our international students."

"As a Catholic, Marianist university, the spirit of hospitality and inclusivity is central to who we are and our philosophy of living and learning in community," he said. "Welcoming diversity is fundamentally interwoven into our identity."

A survey conducted during the 2007 winter semester asked students to reflect on their university experience. It focused on the importance of elements of the educational experience, degrees of satisfaction and student attitudes.

The University of Dayton scored above 95 percent in satisfaction with support services offered by the University, worship facilities and faculty communication skills.

Other areas where UD students were especially satisfied included learning support and learning spaces, technology and the Internet, safety, visa advice, the residential services office and student clubs and organizations.

"Since I've been here, I've become more independent, more competent," said Qinwen "Yvonne" Zhou, an MBA student at the University from Shanghai, China. "We do a lot of presentations, and that has helped me build up my confidence. I talk to my friends here a lot, so that improves my English."

Zhou said she has received several calls from students in China who are considering studying at UD. "I told them it is a good experience. I recommend them to come," she said.

Students noted the University could improve access to transportation. In response, UD's Center for International Programs has established a shopping shuttle service to local food markets such as Meijer, Kroger, Jungle Jim's and the local Arab and Asian markets, UD International Communications Coordinator Tricia Penno said. Shuttle services run twice a week.

As part of the survey, students offered comments on their educational experience at UD, classifying the University as having a "friendly atmosphere, (which) is very important for the international students."

Thirty percent of UD's international student population responded to the survey. Respondents included undergraduate and graduate students, students in the Intensive English Program and exchange students. About two-thirds of the respondents were graduate students, and more than half study in the School of Engineering.

Approximately 300 international students and visiting scholars attend UD, accounting for 3 percent of the overall student population, Penno said. The most highly represented countries are India, China, Saudi Arabia and Germany. A third of the undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in the School of Engineering; the remaining students are in the College of Arts and Sciences, Intensive English Program, the School of Business Administration and the School of Education and Allied Professions.

The International Student Barometer is a product of i-graduate, an independent education benchmarking and research service and found online at www.i-graduate.org. For more information about UD's international student program, visit international.udayton.edu.