East Central College Campus

Several hundred registered voters in the East Central College district will receive phone calls over the next two weeks asking their opinion on college-related issues.

Dr. Jon Bauer, president of ECC, encourages those contacted to participate in the survey which is designed to gauge public opinion on a variety of matters relevant to ECC.

“As a community college, it is important that we understand and respond to the expectations of our constituents. This survey is one tool that enables us to do that,” noted Bauer. “The findings will point out areas of strength and concern, and we will use those results as we plan for the future.”

The Warren Poll, a St. Louis-based polling firm, was contracted by the college to conduct a community opinion survey.

The college conducted similar surveys periodically throughout the last two decades, most recently in 2006 and 2009.

The 2009 survey was conducted in the greater Warrenton area to gauge the need for support at the college’s satellite operation in that location. The survey consisted of 35 questions and 549 residents responded.

In 2006, 560 individuals were interviewed for a 44-question survey.

This year’s survey is structured similarly to earlier surveys. It consists of 49 questions and takes about 15 minutes to complete, according to college personnel. Topics covered in the survey will include enrollment, tuition, program offerings and overall satisfaction with the college.

Those receiving calls will be randomly selected from a phone data base of registered voters in the district. Interviews will be conducted with approximately 600 adults and will conclude by mid-January.

“We hope that those who are contacted will be candid and open,” Bauer said. “We are doing this because we value the opinion of our constituents with regard to the job we are doing. We want to make sure that as an institution we are doing what the public expects of us.”

More than 600 total calls will likely be placed, college staff added.

The goal of the survey is to solicit as close to 600 responses as possible, so the polling firm will continue to place calls until an adequate number of responses is collected.

Some questions have up to four choices such as “very important,” “important,” “unimportant” and “very unimportant” or “excellent,” “good,” “fair,” and “poor.” A “don’t know,” “no opinion,” or similar option is not offered in those response categories.

Others questions will prompt respondents to agree or disagree. An example agree/disagree statement would be the following: “Our area benefits from adding educational opportunities and programs at ECC.”

The survey also features some yes or no questions and concludes with four demographic questions.

The demographic questions touch on the respondent’s age range and highest level of education, among other things.

Bauer said the results of the community survey will be combined with the responses of surveys conducted among students and staff to make future plans for the college.

An analysis of the survey will be presented to the college board of trustees as soon as it become available. It will most likely be prepared in March or April.