Poll explores how students feel about Oakland University

Shelby Tankersley, Editor-in-Chief

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Every semester, Journalism 2000 students venture out of the classroom and poll other Oakland University students on a current issue. Past topics include presidential elections and government controversies. With Oakland having a relatively new president, Special Lecturer John Stoll decided to have his students explore how OU students feel about their university.

183 students of a variety of class standings and majors were asked about why they came to Oakland, whether or not they would recommend Oakland to other students and what they would like their university to change among other things.

“The class voted on whether they wanted to do the project on something in the news or something on Oakland University,” Stoll said. “With some input from the class, I came up with some questions that were somewhat timely and spoke to where the university is at right now given that there’s a new president and that it’s becoming more known in the community.”

Regarding whether or not Oakland was students’ first choice, 56.28 percent said it was. Along with that, 87.43 percent said they plan to graduate from Oakland and 66.12 percent said they would refer too Oakland as a top school in the state.

“I was surprised by the amount of goodwill that the university has from the student body, not that it’s not warranted, but what I’ve seen happen in my time teaching at Oakland University is that it’s gone from being a second or third option on peoples’ list to people saying, ‘This is where I want to attend,'” Stoll said.

A write-in section allowed participants to give suggestions on what they would like Oakland to improve on. Top answers included improved parking, lower or locked-in tuition, improved academic advising and more networking or social events.

“Oakland was not my first choice, I wanted to go to Michigan State University but it was too expensive,” participant Brie Shines said. “In order to improve my experience, I would like the university to work on promoting involvement on campus. Also get professors who are more invested in their students.”

Professors needing to be more invested in their students was a common thread of complaint. Some students said they felt unheard in class feedback, have professors that aren’t good at teaching or struggle in Oakland’s infamous Math Department.

Stoll said he found it shocking that academic advising was among students’ top complaints.

“This got my students to understand that they’re going into this with a bias,” he said. “We all thought that people would complain about tuition more than anything else, and that wasn’t the case. There was a variety of things that people were concerned about and people didn’t automatically say, ‘Well tuition is too expensive.’ The complaint on advising really popped out because it just goes to say that people will surprise you.”

Other surprises were that 61.75 percent of participants also didn’t know who the University President, Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, was and that students want more involvement while also saying that the commuter-centrist environment makes friendships hard to form.

“I think trying to transition from being such a commuter heavy school is important,” particpant Julian Evans-Means said. “Engaging students with the campus is important. So just continue to build on the momentum.”