Future commencement plans begin to take shape at Georgia Southern University

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McClain Baxley

Administration at Georgia Southern University has begun to form focus groups and committees to analyze 2019 spring commencement surveys and better the commencement process moving forward.

At the spring 2019 GS commencement ceremonies, graduates, attendees and workers were asked to fill out an online survey to give their thoughts on the ceremonies.

The survey brought in 1,765 responses.

One of the most noteworthy conclusions when looking through the responses was that the majority of them leaned negative.

Dr. Scot Lingrell, Vice President of Enrollment Management said that was expected.

“I think the responses really captured what we already knew coming out of the ceremony what were going to be the main themes of continuous improvement,” Lingrell said. “I wasn’t surprised, but I was happy that we got a lot of responses and that people felt like they could share their thoughts with us. We’re going to take those concerns and get better.”

The survey consisted of 10 questions that helped the committee get a full picture of who was answering the survey. The questions were basic like what ceremony did you attend, what was your role in commencement and rating the quality of various aspects of the ceremonies.

But the question Lingrell and his team spent the most time in analyzing was Question 7: Your insights are valuable. Provide feedback about your experience, including ways to improve future commencement ceremonies. Provide as much detail as possible.

“The nature of surveys many times is to get that kind of feedback so you many times get negative feedback because that’s the type of information you need to be able to improve, do better and fix problems that were seen,” Lingrell said. “The survey was the first step in this, sort of getting a broad response of feedback from people that attended.”

With the responses tallied, the task now is to talk with different groups and get a more specific consensus. Lingrell has formed five focus groups, a student group, a faculty group, an alumni group, a group of faculty that helped work commencement and a group that was involved in the planning of the ceremonies, that will meet over the next few weeks.

From there, the fall 2019 commencement committee can finalize the December ceremonies and move on to the spring 2020 ceremonies.

“We’re having a bit of scheduling issues getting feedback from students and faculty, but I’m hoping to have that wrapped up by the first week of July,” Lingrell said. ”Then by the end of July, I want to have a full understanding as to what information we have and the challenges that are facing us and then the graduation task force will meet, go over that information and then make recommendations to the president about how to make the changes for December graduation and May graduation.”

The new membership for the commencement taskforce has not yet been determined. 

Sarah Smith and Nathan Woodruff contributed to this article.

McClain Baxley, The George-Anne Editor-In-Chief, gaeditor@georgiasouthern.edu