Students Evaluate their Law School Experience in 2011 LSSSE Survey
The results of the 2011 Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) offer significant evidence that the implementation of a variety of programs and services designed to enhance students' law school experience at Southwestern are having a positive impact. This year's responses indicate that students are more satisfied with their experience at Southwestern then in the past, and in several categories, more so than their counterparts at other schools as well. This was particularly the case with questions regarding the quality of academic support and advising, and relationships with faculty, staff and fellow students.
"Southwestern is a very unique law school," Dean Garth said. "And these results show that our students understand that a defining feature is the extraordinary effort our staff and faculty make to students' well-being and effective learning." Dean Garth chairs the National Advisory Board that oversees LSSSE.
The LSSSE survey instrument is designed to collect information about student behaviors and law school environments throughout the country to help law faculty and administrators at individual schools focus attention and resources in ways that will enhance student learning and success. Each spring, students at law schools participating in LSSSE are encouraged to respond to the survey regarding how they spend their time, what they have gained from their classes, their assessment of the quality of interactions with faculty and friends, and other aspects of their legal education. Each law school then receives a report featuring comparisons between responses of their students and those from the other schools, as well as improvement from year to year on specific issues. This was Southwestern's sixth year participating in the LSSSE program, with 72% of the student body responding to the survey.
Highlights from the 2011 LSSSE report:
LSSSE results indicate that Southwestern students are very satisfied with the law school's efforts to help them succeed academically. Over the past years, the law school has seen a steady increase in student satisfaction with academic advising and planning. The data for 2011 showed the Southwestern students are more satisfied with the way Southwestern is providing support to help them succeed academically than at peer schools, leading by a particularly large margin among 2L respondents. The data also showed students are satisfied with academic advising, especially Southwestern 1L and 3L students who reported higher satisfaction levels in that area than at peer institutions.
One of the most positive sets of data indicates that Southwestern students form strong bonds with their colleagues, faculty and staff, and responses reflect a higher level of supportive relationships than other LSSSE participants. Southwestern's survey scores have continued to increase from year to year on how students perceive their relationships with administrative staff, which has a strong correlation with the increase in positive responses to whether students would choose to go to Southwestern again and how they rate their overall law school experience. Library assistance scores also continue to be very positive, again, an area in which Southwestern students are more satisfied compared to other schools.
Southwestern earned high marks when students in all years were asked if they would attend the same law school again, and more of Southwestern's 2Ls and 3Ls answered "yes" to this question than LSSSE participants at other law schools.