PROVO, Utah and SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Twenty American universities, including Butler University, Sacramento State, and the University of South Alabama, are making on-campus changes to support students’ physical, mental, and financial health after implementing the Support Survey institution for student welfare (SWISS). SWISS is an assessment of education and school wellbeing services, powered by Qualtrics (Nasdaq: XM), the leader and creator of the experience management category.
Butler University in Indiana used the Qualtrics XM Platform™ to create SWISS to provide its leaders with actionable insights at the campus level on how to improve student well-being. Evaluation goes beyond the simple measurement of well-being. By asking students a series of research-based questions about their physical health, nutrition, financial situation, mental health and sense of belonging, it identifies the specific needs of all demographic groups and reveals gaps in essential services, from mental health care to affordable food offers. .
Globally mental health declined for students since the start of the pandemic, and almost one in three (30%) say they do not feel connected to other students. At the same time, students face rising costs of living. Now, as college administrators use the summer months to prepare for a new school year with more in-person activities, they are looking to meet students’ needs for support and connection, which have increased over the past few years. two years of the pandemic.
“Educational institutions need dynamic systems that can sense and respond to student needs,” said Omar Garriott, global head of education at Qualtrics. “This is especially true in this time of rapid change. The schools that rise to the top in the years to come will be those that not only listen to students, but truly understand and improve the experiences they have on campus with respect to their mental health, basic physical and financial needs. and their continued sense of belonging. .”
Rebuild a sense of belonging
Butler University first developed and administered SWISS on its own campus in 2020, when many students felt disconnected from their peers due to COVID restrictions. The results prompted Butler to implement several new programs to meet student needs and build campus-wide social connections.
The results revealed that sophomores in particular struggled more with COVID-related fatigue than others. Butler used the data to create residence life programming specifically for sophomores, including activities and social gatherings aimed at helping students find common interests and make meaningful connections.
“Our research assistants noticed immediate results when students started making new friends,” said Shannon Mulqueen, director of residence life at Butler. “It happened because we administered the SWISS survey and took action based on the results.”
Priority to mental health
To Sacramento State, wellness is one of the school’s six strategic initiatives, with mental health being a top priority. The school implemented SWISS in 2022, and it showed that 59% of students said mental health issues were a top stressor, just behind academics (75%). Students also reported a lack of emphasis on attending classes or workshops that would help build resilience and courage, self-compassion, mindfulness, empathy, and keeping an open mind. .
“If we’re trying to address mental health issues, there’s a lot of room for advancement there,” said Kate Smith, director of student welfare at Sacramento State. “The end goal is to use this data to really inform our decision-making as we define our strategic plan moving forward.”
Fight against food insecurity
The University of Southern Alabama adopted SWISS in 2022 to understand strengths and weaknesses related to student health. They discovered that a large number of students were struggling with food insecurity, although the school offers a pantry with free groceries for students in need. A third of students (33%) said they didn’t always have enough money to pay for food.
“It was pretty eye-opening,” said Brian Allred, director of on-campus recreation and wellness at the University of South Alabama. His department is launching a wellness website this summer that will highlight food resources. “Food insecurity wasn’t even on my radar before the survey, so it’s impacted where we’re going.”
“You can have a big impact when you have actionable feedback to work with, rather than vague goals to increase student well-being by X%,” said Bridget Yuhas, SWISS creator and director of assessment and student affairs strategy at Butler. “We are pleased to see so many universities recognizing the power of listening, understanding and acting on experiential data, because we all win when students thrive.”
About Qualtrics XM for Education
With more than 20 years of experience in education, Qualtrics now serves K-12 and higher education institutions around the world, including 99 of the top 100 business schools and more of the half of America’s Top 50 School Districts, helping them understand and improve the experiences they deliver. Qualtrics solutions are purpose-built to help education leaders understand experiences across departments, take the right steps to attract and retain students and staff, and increase engagement and success. Qualtrics XM for Education reveals unique insights into student and faculty journeys and empowers school leaders to fill experience gaps, resulting in increased enrollment, retention and graduation.
To learn more about XM for Education, please visit qualtrics.com/education
Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the Experience Management (XM) category, is changing the way organizations manage and improve the four fundamental experiences of business: customer, employee, product and brand. More than 16,750 organizations around the world use Qualtrics to listen, understand and act on experiential data (X-data™) – the beliefs, emotions and intentions that tell you why things happen and what happens. have to do about it. The Qualtrics XM Platform™ is an action system that helps companies attract customers who stay longer and buy more, engage employees who create a positive culture, develop breakthrough products people love, and build a brand that excites them. To learn more, please visit qualtrics.com.