Survey Says

Kathy Dean Experience, Spring 2020

A new survey of University of Mobile freshmen found over 97% would recommend UM to their friends, while over half said their favorite thing about the Christ-centered university is the people.

“My favorite thing about UM so far has been how welcoming and encouraging everyone is. From my fellow peers to all the faculty, everyone has made this place feel like a second home,” wrote a student on the anonymous survey. “I feel noticed,” wrote another.

Over 90% of the university’s 2019 freshman class – 239 of 265 – responded to the survey conducted in September 2019. Students were asked to rank the importance of various factors that influenced their decision to attend UM. Open-ended questions asked why they chose the university and what they liked most about their college experience so far.

Lesa Moore ’07, vice president for marketing and public relations, said the survey confirms aspects of the University of Mobile that make it unique are the same attributes valued by students.

“The people of UM – faculty, staff and students – make us who we are as an institution. Research says that Gen Z students value uniqueness and authenticity, and this survey shows they are finding that at the University of Mobile,” Moore said.

She added that Pew Research says Generation Z, those born in the mid-1990s to early 2000s, is on track to be the best-educated generation ever.

The university conducted the survey to learn how incoming freshmen found out about UM, what was important to them, and how their college experience has been.

Over half of respondents said they originally heard about UM from friends or family, a finding that Moore said reflected the university’s reputation.

Among the findings:

  • Over 96% said they were satisfied, very satisfied or extremely satisfied with theirexperience.
  • The top five factors influencing their college decision are scholarships/financial aid, career opportunities after college, academic programs, faculty and Christianenvironment.
  • Favorite things about UM so far are the people (51%), atmosphere, small campus/classes, the Alabama School of the Arts/performing ensembles, and Christianfocus.
  • The most important reasons they chose UM are Christian environment/spiritual growth, scholarships/financial aid, a sense that God led them to UM, athletics andacademics.
  • Nearly half ranked the 4-day academic week as very important, along with pracademics hands-on experiential learning.
About the Author
Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean

Kathy is an award-winning media relations director and former journalist whose expertise has enabled the University of Mobile to gain national and regional attention. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Auburn University and worked as a journalist for 12 years, including 10 years at the Mobile Press-Register, earning regional and national awards for coverage of education, deadline reporting and feature writing. She joined the University of Mobile staff in 1993, earning awards for writing and public relations including the Baptist Communicators Association grand prize for feature writing in 2015 and 2012. She is a charter member of Providence United Methodist Church, serves on the board of the John Will Scholarship Foundation, and is a member of the Public Relations Council of Alabama, Baptist Communicators Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. Kathy lives in Daphne with her husband, Chuck, who earned his M.B.A. from the University of Mobile. They have two children and two grandchildren.